Bosnia and Croatia - November 2009


First stop stop Sarajevo. Border between East and West Roman Empires, the Ottomans, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, Winter Olympics, Siege. That's all you really need to know about Sarajevo. Some call it the Jerusalem of the West, where all religions meet. No wonder there've been a lot of wars in the area!

As always the taxi ride from the airport was a real white knuckle ride. Why are all taxi drivers in these countries mad. The route in passes through 'Sniper's Alley' the way he drove I think I still thought he had to avoid the bullets. Cutting across lanes and running the lights all accompanied by the sound of a beeping horn. Sarajevo itself is quite nice. River running through to middle, a Middle Eastern area with mosques and a bazaar, generally looks quite poor and run down buy not as much war damage as I expected.

Journey to Dubrovnik

I decided to bus it around the Western Balkans. So up early for the 7:15 bus to Dubrovnik. Advertised as a 7 hour journey, thankfully it was only 6 hours. The journey was fantastic crossing first green valleys and over hills then dropping down the other side following the Neretva River. The Western side is a lot more Mediterranean more barren, much parched, lots of fruit trees. We passed through Mostar and then down to the Croatian border.

From here we joined the coast and then followed the stunning coast-line for 90km down to Dubrovnik. The Dalmatian Coast road is amazing hugging the sea looking out over the hundreds of islands that run down Croatia. Blue sky, blue sky, beautiful.


Dubrovnik is tourist. An ancient port, a beautifully preserved (or is it rebuilt) walled city and a Cruise Boat in harbour so the tiny streets teaming with tourists. The boat / ship / bloody huge floating hotel was called the Costa Fortuna but judging by the people who came off it I'm assuming a place on the cruise didn't. But despite the number of people the Old City is gorgeous. It has been totally rebuilt and I guess is better than new. It City is built looking out to see, perfect City Walls, a main artery and many narrow streets leading off. Cobbled streets, Catholic Churches, fountains, restaurants and gift shops.

I didn't walk the City Walls (the must do in Dubrovnok) on Day 1 saving it for Day 2 hoping the cruise ship would've gone. But ... Day 2 was November 1st, All Saint's Day and the City in its wisdom had decided not to open the walls. Bloody religious idiots. But hey, I took a boat trip, climbed up for a view down on the City, had lunch sitting in the sun, this is starting to feel like a holiday.


Back on the bus for 4 hours back to Mostar. We passed through on the way down so basically it was the reverse trip. Not complaining I got to see the beautiful Adriatic again.

Mostar was on the front line in the Civil War, the front line ran right through the City. Muslim and Christian, Mosques and Churches ... and 'that' bridge. The Stari Most, the destruction of which on 9/11/93 symbolised so much and brought the Bosnian War to everyone's attention. Otherwise Mostar is nice, cobbled streets, lovely views and a total tourist trap. Every shop in the Old Town selling rugs, copper pots, fridge magnets and pens made from bullets.

I stayed in the National Monument Museum (Muslibegovic House). An old Ottoman Mansion which has been restored and is open as a Museum (although closed in Winter). After breakfast before I left the owner gave me a private tour. Beautifully carved rooms, manuscripts, national dress, crafts, Ottoman Period medals and medallions. A bit more than your average hotel.

Travels across the Balkans 2012.