When you get to Southern Hungary, the EuroVelo route splits. I don’t know why it splits, but you can go West through Croatia or East and into Serbia.

I chose to go West through Croatia, not just because I like Croatia (and it’s one more country to visit by bike) but also because the path runs right through one of the most tragic parts of the former Yugoslavia outside of Bosnia and in particular the border town of Vukovar.

Vukovar was (until the war in Eastern Ukraine) the only town in Europe to have been completely destroyed since WWII and it was a picture of this town on the front cover of Misha Glenny’s book on the death of Yugoslavia.

Visiting a town that as the setting for such horrors is not everyone’s idea of a good holiday, and it’s not mine either (not if ‘good’ only means ‘happy’ or ‘fun’ anyway), but I know from experience the value of visiting such places and learning what happened from those that were there. Only by visiting places can you really grasp both the scale of what happened and also many small details that no article or documentary can convey, however horrible they are.

So, I still hope to enjoy Croatia and I’m sure that this region would hate to be defined only by the tragedies of its recent history, however it will also be an educational and perhaps somber few days too …as is so often the case in Central and Eastern Europe.