Tag Archives: Yugoslavia

Slovenia, Yugoslavia and the Balkans

Yugoslavia had been created in 1918 after the First World War by the victorious western allies in the hope of bring some stability to the Balkans but this had been a hopelessly optimistic attempt to impose a solution on a disparate region of Europe who were never going to coexist easily as one single nation.

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Slovenia, Lake Bled and a Rowing Boat Adventure

Lake Bled

Leaving Ljubljana the local bus passed out of the city and into the countryside and passed through green meadows flanked by snow capped mountains, vivid green fields surrounding semi Alpine villages with traditional farmhouses and churches.  Finally, after about an hour and twenty minutes on the efficient little bus we pulled into Bled and disembarked into the tourist town and the sunshine.  We planned to walk around the lake but before we started we found a terrace bar for refreshments and debated the alternatives of clockwise or anti-clockwise (a bit like choosing a route around the M25) and we both agreed that anti-clockwise for some unknown reason seemed preferable.

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Mostar and the Stari Most Bridge

Stari Most Brodge

Finally the never-ending detour through the mountain passes came to an end and we reached the border crossing and passed into the sovereign state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  When I studied European history at University I was always intrigued by this mouthful of a name because it sounded different and intriguing.  And it was!

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Marco Polo

Korcula

It was a disappointing start to the day with a lot of low cloud about so we prepared our breakfast and sat on the balcony and scanned the horizon in all directions looking for signs of improvement.  There was some blue sky to the south and the west but the cloud simply wouldn’t shift from over the island of Korčula.

The problem appeared to be that over the water on the peninsular there was a thousand metre high peak that the incoming cloud just couldn’t seem to get past and the grey lump just seemed to keep on growing as it sucked in more and more passing cumulus to add to the problem.

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Dubrovnik, Pearl of the Adriatic

Dubrovnik mostly sky

We were relieved to find that despite a gloomy weather forecast on Croatian breakfast TV the sun was shining again because there was much more of Dubrovnik yet to see so after an excellent buffet breakfast at the hotel we caught the bus once again into the city.

The streets were busy this morning and the bus quickly filled up as it crawled through the early morning traffic competing with local people going to work and a procession of taxis ferrying people from the cruise ships in the harbour making their way like us to the old town.  Even though it was early it was already heaving and we had to negotiate crowds of people as we entered the city walls for the second time.

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Croatia, Dubrovnik and a High Level Walk

Dubrovnik from above

After we left Bosnia there was still fifty kilometres to go and the worrying thing was that we were leaving the clear blue skies behind and travelling south east directly towards nasty black rain clouds.  I complained about this (several times) and was chastised for negative thinking but it really didn’t look very promising at all and my mood was in freefall.  Despite the weather the scenery was good with tall pepper grey mountains covered in lush green trees to the left, scarlet poppies dancing by the roadside, velveteen blue sea to the right and a very good view over the emerald islands.

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Croatia, Split and a Croatian Beer Dilemma

Split peoples square

In the morning it had stopped raining but it was one of those days when it was only a matter of time before it started again and judging by the clouds accumulating over the island of Brač just a few kilometres away in the Adriatic Sea we probably wouldn’t have too long to wait.

It stayed fine long enough to have an excellent Pink Inn breakfast outside on the terrace and where Iveska explained that there had been a heat wave during the previous week but the forecast for the next few days wasn’t very thrilling and we cursed our luck for getting our timing wrong.

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