Monday, August 21, 2006

A kick in the Balkans

I'm back!

Yes, after an epic (well not quite) two-week journey spanning four countries on the western part of south-eastern Europe’s Balkan peninsula it’s back to the old routine. We began the Balkan odyssey in Trieste, north-eastern Italy, a former haunt of the writer James Joyce – I have pics of the statue to prove it! After one night in rain-soaked Trieste we crossed the border into Slovenia for a brief sojourn in the capital Ljubljana, where it was also raining. Good weather for museums and art galleries I suppose. And the old town with its Viennese style décor was worth a visit. From here we took a train through Slovenia’s Alpine scenery of forest, mountain and lake to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia with its pleasant old town on top of a hill with a network of narrow streets and rather good beer. This was followed by a 10-hour train journey through the green rolling hills of northern Bosnia Hercegovina to Sarajevo, a city that has made a remarkable comeback from the ills that befell it just over a decade ago. After a night in the battle-scarred town of Mostar with its famous bridge, it was back into Croatia to sample the delights of Dubrovnik, Split and the Dalmatian coast. So after a fortnight of paddling in the azure waters of the Adriatic, hiking in the Croatian hills, roughing it in less-than-luxurious hostels, negotiating with traders over the price of engraved pen-holders made from bullet cartridges and used mortar shells, being photographed outside bombed out buildings and drinking the odd glass or two of Ožujsko it’s back to normal.

But what a trip it was.


Cybez said...

Welcome Back!

Lorainne said...

Glad you got back safely!!! And I am sure it will not be your last adventure!!!

Antonio from Italy said...

Hi Ciaran,
welcome back!

Caroline said...

So where's all the pics? I never did get to see much of Yugoslavia (as it was called any time I travelled through it). The Magic Bus didn't make many unecessary stops, just refuelling and breakdowns. My most vivid memory of Yugoslavia is one of pushing a 52 seater coach in the snow. Aww go on, show us your photos Ciaran.

Northern Sole said...

Caroline, I intend to put some pics on the site as soon as I get a chance to download them. I'm still catching up with a backlog of 2 weeks work and trying to find a tenant for the spare room in my house, so please be patient! BTW if you know of anyone who's looking for accomodation in London, I'm yer man - and the rent is reasonable!
We were lucky we didn't get any snow on the trip (but plenty of rain though)and thankfully no coaches broke down when we were travelling on them.

Caroline said...

No pressure Ciaran. Just be nice to see a few more when you have the time.

Good luck with finding a tenant. I'm sure there are a lot of people looking for a room at a reasonable rent. Not always so easy to find someone you'd be happy to share with.

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