Published: September 21st 2011September 22nd 2011
Fri 16 Sept. Travel day. Return rental car without scratch from me from 18 days on RHS of road.
Coast road from Split to Dubrovink is spectacular coastal drive. You are on cliffside overlooking the Adriatic and it's islands most of the way. I did it in the local bus, so it was slow (took 5 hours) & wasn't able to get out and explore some of the more interesting coastal towns. Another curiosity si that you pass thru Bosnia-hertgovna on the way. Many centuries ago the country of Dubrovnik pledged affiliation to the Turks in agreement for their protection. Anyway that sliver of land now belongs to Bosnia-H for some reason. So Croatia in fact has a small incision of Bosnia in it.
Accom is up on the hill overlooking old town of Dubrovnik. Fantastic view of old town & Adriatic sea. Accom profile did not include the 270 steps, plus 90metres of 20 degree incline in any of it's description. (yes Eric T I did count the steps.)
Music for the night - & whole town provided by Gil Pop lougne on the water front. Yes, could hear it as clear as a bell till midnight.
Sat 17 Sept. Walked the walls of the old town, which provides circumference view of the old town as well as views across the water and thie surrounding cliffs. Then came upon Ana U Gradu playing her electric cello and providing city concert under the watchful gaze of St Blaise, the city's patron saint. Ana had the square pumping & you can make up your own mind if Blaise was rejoicing or having a little choke in his throat (he is the patron saint of sore throats you know), as she danced & gyrated around in her see through harem pants!
Sun 18 Sept. Day trip to Medugorje and Mostar in Bosnia-hertgovna. Three border crossings in, & same on return. Medugorje: St James is the parish church, and it has been rebuilt after the development of the site from the Marian apparitions to the children. The church is similar in style to Wavell Heights. There was certainly a crowd there(inside & outside), with mass happening on the hour. An English mass at midday. Of ccourse the obligatory sacred relic stores lining across the road. One thing is that there was a mix of regular souvenir, fruit and clothing shops as well. A reflection: the area is in no way aesthetically beautiful as Lourdes, nor does it have a free flowing water course. The surroundings are quite harsh, rocky - it is an area in which all has to really struggle to survive. It is definitely not pretty. And the fact that the apparitions began June 1981, and the message that the children said Mary gave then was one of peace, hence the statue is Our Lady of Peace. Then from 1991 to 1995 the whole place is being blown apart in civil war. It makes you understand why the locals continue to come for both solace & hope.
onto Mostar, the fifth largest city of Bosnia. Again words to describe the area would be hot, arid, rocky, bare hills - life as a battle or struggle yo survive. In the 1991-95 war this town was heavily bombed and near razed. Ther are numerous buildings that continue to be devastated & clearly wear bullit holes and evidence of the fighting. The old town has been completely rebuilt as it was pre-war. It is a little piece of Turkish bazare sitting in middle of Europe. Bosnia comprises 3 groupings: majority Muslim, Croat Catholics, and orthodox Serbians. The old town, though small is very different. The star attraction, and how the city was named is an ancient single arch stone bridge -"the Mostar" in local language. Built in 1566 by the Ottomans tt was was hailed as one of the greatest architectural achievementanon the time. It was the longest single arched bridge in the world, and is over 23metres above the river.
Monday 19 Sept Montenegro. Montenegro is a very small country of 450,000 people. The part that I saw is huge granite mountains rising up out of the Adriatic sea, with the small towns hugging the coastal fringe. It is the southernmost fjord in Europe, so that gives the concept of what it is like. It is a country of a small v rich monied Russian hoteliers & poor locals. The country runs on tourism. Snow ski-ing is a large industry. And in summer Russian tourists come to enjoy the beautiful waters. The average wage for the locals is low, and you can see evidence that they are struggling. This can be covered by the rich glitz that can be advertised in tourist highlights. Stopped at Kotor which has an interesting walled old town, with castle fort perched high above. It is on the water as well, so there was an array of expensive boats at its doorstep. Then onto a photo of St Stefan Island - presently owned and operated by Russians. Lunch at Budva. I had mussels in Montenegro! And then a quick explore of the small old town. Believe it or not you know Budva. Well you do if you have seen the last James Bond film Casino Royale. The opening car chase is a tunnel you go through before the town, and the "casino" is in fact the local Hotel Splendour. So there you go! The things you find out.
Tues 20 Sept. Wet morning. Found anotherbway home -307 steps! Went to Croaian Folklore performance for my cultural fix. Wednesday over to nearby island national park of Lokrum. Green & quiet in comparison with Dubrovnik. No beaches though. They sun bake on the rocks and swim off the same.
Doing Internet from Bikers Cafe which is near Accom. Baz Lane would love it! Thurs to island of Korcula for next couple of days. Zivjeli! GK