IRELAND - wet and sunny. sunny and wet.

Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro

Dubrovnic stitch 1

Donald was asked to give a presentation in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  I know what you are thinking......who has a conference in Croatia?  He really did, and his presentation went very well!  We ooooed and ahhhhed as we drove along the coast and caught our first glimpse of the city. 

Dubrovnic view

Our Ameri-Brit friends Dave (D2) and Allison (A) had been talking about visiting these countries too, so they met us there!  We had a blast!


We started in the city of Dubrovnik, a cliff-side city on the Adriatic sea.  It is known as the pearl of the Adriatic and once you are there, it is obvious why it has this name.  Absolutely stunning!


We stayed in the center of the old town which is made up of beautiful white limestone and is completely surrounded by an ancient stone wall built during the 9th century. 


The streets are car-free and are made of a polished white stone. 


In the early morning and late afternoon the city was quiet and peaceful, but during the day the very large cuise ships would dock


and hundreds of people filled the streets.  We were there before the tourist season, we could not image it during the high season.


D2, A, and I played while poor D worked.  The three of us walked up one of the cliffs where the view was breath-taking. 


I was very sad that my poo-pie was not there to enjoy it with us.


But D2 and A quickly found a way to cheer me cream!  I had pre-screened five or so ice cream shops the night before so I knew exactly which one I wanted to go to.  


A success!  I was a happy again.  Donald who? 

Excellent ice cream.  Even our guide said it was THE best in the city.  Do I know my ice cream or what.


We went back the next day so D could also enjoy the view,



D2 and A did not know we have a check list that people need to pass before we are willing to travel with them.  Number one on the list is must like, no LOVE, ice cream.  They passed.  D2 with flying colors.  He went back one night for seconds.  As much as it hurt, I did not partake in a second cone.


We took a walking tour of the city which was very informative.  The woman who gave the tour lived there during the war of 1991/92 with her young daughter.  She really could not talk much about her personal experience as it was still very emotional for her.  Hard to imagine living through an ordeal like that. 

Saint Blaise, Patron Saint of the city, always shown holding the city in his hand.


Our guide told us to go to the main square at noon and see the pigeons.  Dubrovnik is one of the only cities in the world who actually feeds the pigeons on a daily basis.  We were a bit skeptical, how interesting could this be?  It turned out to be quite a site.  A few minutes before noon hundreds of pigeons circled the square waiting for the feed guy.  As soon as he dropped the food, they covered the square.


On the other side of the pigeons (red and white umbrellas) was a local market, where we bought figs, nectarines, apricots, and candied orange peels for snacking.


Late afternoon, we walked the entire ring of the castle wall,


which gives you magnificent views of the city, 

Roof panorama 2  


and the sea.



The city was beautifully restored and hard to even see the signs of destruction.  We toured an exhibit showing before and after photos and the damage was quite extensive.  Shells hit 68% of buildings in the old town.  The stone of the street and the walls were also badly damaged.  But the Croats worked hard to rebuilt their city.


The weather was perfect, so one morning I made myself a make-shift balcony at the apartment so I could have my coffee outdoors.


We found a really cool bar, Buza, (hole in the wall) on the side of the cliff. 



We liked it so much we went back the second night to enjoy the sunset.


For more pictures, click on the Croatia Bosnia Album on the first page of the blog.  Once you are in the album, click on the smaller image to enlarge.


Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina


We drove along the Dalmatian coast and every turn we took presented a magnificent view.   On one side were the mountains and on the other side blue ocean and green islands.  Except for the few miles of coast line that we drove through, Bosnia Herzegovina (will refer to is as just Bosnia) is completely landlocked.  In fact, within a 15 minute span, we drove from Croatia, through the small strip of Bosnia, back into Croatia and then again into Bosnia and headed inland.  And had to cross the border patrol for each one!



We stopped at a seaside village and had a delicious lunch.  The three of us had seafood pasta and were given bibs.  We had grilled calamari as an appetizer - we all agreed it was the best we'd ever eaten.


Allison did a great job mapping out a route along the Dalmatian Coast and had selected several stops for us along the way.  She even read to us from the guide book between stops.  I really should have tipped her for her service!


Here we are at the ancient Radimlja necropolis in Bosnia, where there were 122 medieval tombstones carved in the 13th-15th century.



Our next stop was the town of Pocitelj where the most striking site was the Sa hat-Kula, a silo shaped fort that towers from the top of the hill above town.   It is a UNESCO world heritage site.  We walked to the top and explored the fort. 


It provided spectacular views of the town.


Bosnia has a heavy Turkish and Islamic influence throughout the country; 44% of the country's population is Muslim so we saw many minarets and heard the call for prayer often during our visit (they call five times a day).



By early evening we made it to our destination, Mostar Bosnia.  Many of you will recognize this famous bridge, the national symbol of Bosnia that was heavily destroyed during the Yugoslav civil war of 1993.  It was rebuilt in 2004.


As we were admiring it's beauty, we noticed a few young men looking as if they were going to jump off.  Allison had seen a postcard with a daredevil jumping so we got very excited in hopes we could see one jump.  Sure enough, they would walk along the bridge edge collecting coins from the tourist in order to make the jump.  Once they collected enough (around $40) off they would go into the cold waters 60 feet below. 


Look closely above and you can see the jumper mid-air.  Below is a close-up of the jumper.  It was quite exciting to watch.


Mostar had all the beauty you could image yet still scared heavily with guns wounds and abandoned and burned buildings.











It was interesting to see buildings side by side, one repaired, one damaged.  Slowing they are working to repair their city.


We stayed in a cool historic museum hotel called the Muslibegovic house.  It was built in the 18 century and was untouched by the war. 


The photo below is the shared hallway that lead to our rooms.  Our rooms were in the same building as the museum. 


Because of this, we were required to take off our shoes before entering the hotel.


We had a very relaxing two days in Mostar.  We ate a lot of traditional Bosnian food, mainly grilled meats and fresh grilled fish and checked out the local scene.

Monk 2

My ice cream posse!



The city was particular photogenic in the evenings.



Goodnight Mostar!

Our last night we crossed back into Croatia and stayed in the seaside village of Mali Ston, know for it's great seafood.  And we did enjoy a terrific seafood dinner that night.  Our hotel rooms had stunning views of the water.


and lots of snails!


On the way to the airport we had a little extra time and decided to "make a run for the border!" 


The Montenegro border that is.  We were sooooo close, we all wanted that extra stamp in our passports.


Quick, snap a photo, turn around and cross back into Croatia.  Technically we should have at least eaten lunch there  :   )

What a FUN trip with great company.  We are already planning our next rendezvous for the fall!




The comments to this entry are closed.