dimanche 29 juin 2008

Goodbye Croatia

Our next-to-last day, we drove along the Korcula peninsula to the end, and the town of Vela Luka. The Lonely Planet guidebook pooh-poohed Vela Luka, but I thought it was awfully nice. I think I could easily kick around there for a few days, taking boats out to nearby islands for swimming. Unfortunately, we only had a couple of hours there, and this was the only picture I took of the place.
Here are some pictures we took along the Korcula peninsula, which is rocky and hilly and has vineyards and olive groves.
The peninsula is fairly long-- it took an hour or two to drive across, along curvy winding roads. Melinda had bought some lavender sachets in a local market, and amusingly, bees kept flying into the car every time we had the windows open. I think they could sniff them out!
People piled the rocks up along the hillsides to make "steps" that I guess are easier for planting.
We stopped to look at this tiny church, which was surrounded by an old graveyard.
We stayed our last night in Ston. This is a street in the downtown area. Back on the mainland, we drove along the coast south to the airport.
Here is our petite rental car.
Adieu beautiful Croatia!
We headed into Korcula town that evening and walked around. This is what the old town looks like.We stopped for a glass of Croatian wine at this cafe. More of Korcula town
As was true everywhere else, there were lots of cats. I had to snap this one's picture.

The water was an amazing blue.

We drove along the peninsula out to Orebic...

Where we caught the ferry to Korcula island.
It was only a 15 minute ferry ride.
Once arriving we checked in to one of the handful of hotels in Korcula town. The selection was small, and we ended up at a place with laughable, hideous early 80's decor. We called it the soviet hotel; I don't actually remember the real name. It had a pool where beefy eastern Europeans and their children were at leisure.
Here is the lobby of the soviet hotel.
The room was nice though. This is a view from our hotel room balcony.
We had a good laugh over the decor.
The next day we headed up the coast . Here is a shot from a highway rest stop.We drove out towards the Korcula peninsula, and stopped for lunch in the town of Ston. Here is a shot of the Ston harbor.

Here is where we had lunch.
I had a seafood risotto, while Melinda feasted on seafood salad.This was the view outside the resto.

vendredi 27 juin 2008


The building below was on the dividing line between the Croat and Bosnian parts of town.

One of the most famous sights of Mostar was the old bridge, where men dive off in order to prove to their wives what real men they are. These days, guys from the old bridge jumpers association hang out in their swim trunks and try to get donations from tourists for jumping. The bridge is visible in the picture below on the left.
The tour we took brought us to the old city mosque, which to my surprise, we could go into. The paintings on the walls represent local bounty, which in this case was grape vines.
The river was an amazing blue.
We also took a tour of a Turkish house. Turkey occupied Bosnia for hundreds of years. This is the courtyard of the Turkish house.
Here, Melinda got to dress up in the traditional Turkish wife's costume!
After the touring we stopped for lunch.
Kickin' it Bosnian style. Another round of pivo!
This was the view of the river from the restaurant-- fig trees in the foreground. Such a beautiful country!
Then it started to rain...

lundi 23 juin 2008


Due to poor public transportation options into Bosnia, we signed up for one of the tourist companies to drive us to Mostar. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive, although Croatia is not exactly covered in highways. It is all about the 2-lane windy roads up and down the hills.

As we turned in from the Adriatic and started driving through a valley towards the Bosnian border, we passed dozens of small farms and small villages. Then we had to stop for a few minutes at the Bosnian border. Immigration control into Bosnia was a relaxed affair. There was a halfhearted glance at passports; we didn't even get out of our seats, nor did they bother to stamp anything, and then we were on our way.

The difference between Croatia and Bosnia was quite noticeable. Apart from the foliage, Croatia didnt look all that different from France; it was nice. The houses are in good condition. But Bosnia was noticably poor, with every hosue in dire need of a fresh coat of paint, and people living in bombed-out, falling down buildings. It was sad.

The first place that we stopped was the town of Politelj, a pretty town on a hillside over a river, which had been the scene of ethnic cleansing in the 1993 war. It was fairly depressing to be there. We stepped off of the bus and there were crowds of women begging and trying to sell trinkets, books, and fruit.

The town was pretty overgrown. We couldnt make it up on the path to the top.

After a short stop we were on our way to Mostar.

vendredi 13 juin 2008

More Dubrovnik

After a few days we OD'd on the crowds in the old city and we took the bus to a different part of town that had been recommended to us at the tourist office as a nice spot; I believe it was the Lapad neighborhood. It turned out to be a pedestrian walkway that passed various restos and bars and went down to the waterfront; then the path continued along the water for quite a while past houses and then hotels.

Me, down by the water. It was a bit chilly, although not too cold for the German tourists.
I could see where all of the cruise ships hide.