From Bosnia

Sarajevo to Sremski Karlovci

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It was an early start catching the bus from Sarajevo at 6 am , with our packed breakfast from the hotel. The countryside out of Sarajevo was again spectacular with us climbing out of Sarajevo over the mountain range and finally down onto the flats near the Serbian border. There was a brief stop for coffe/breakfast at the top.After the border formalities , which didn’t take too long , there was a distinct change in the quality of the roads for the worse – explaining why the last 150km to Belgrade would take over 3 hours. The land in this area is dead flat and full of corn fields. They must use the corn to feed livestock because it was rare to ever see it on a menu anywhere in the Balkans . Finallly we arrived at Belgrade which is really just a typical big city – the train station however when we found it suffered from a distinct lack of trains! We bought tickets for the train to Sremski Karlovci which is on the line to Novi Sad . The platfroms have no signs indicating where the train is going on the platform and you will almost certainly not understand the Serbian announcement – as the locals have trouble getting it , but there is a screen in the ticket area which we were able to work out. There was a conductor on the platform whom we asked whether this train was to Novi Sad as did 90% of the locals that walked past him. The train was appalling and crowded , much worse than Melbourne. There were no announcements about where the train was stopping ( in Switzerland they announce it in about 6 languages) , at some of the stops you couldn’t make out the signs on the platform , at many of the stops there was no platform! Somehow between a combination of smart phone technology , asking locals who possibly might know , we got out at the correct place. There was another lone Australian travelling in our carriage , as we were about to get out I said ” Hey mate , this will make the trains back home look really good .” He said “I’m glad my stop is at the end of the line ” .When we got off onto the very narrow platfrom Lily’s aunt Anka was there to greet us and a friend drove us the short distance to her house in the town of Sremski Karlovci.

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Dubrovnik to Sarajevo

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A run was definitely order given my ankle seems to have recovered. I find it is further than I realised and is 5.7 km to the outer  edge of the old dock. After getting back to the hotel I make way to Cava beach .I snap a few shots from my phone of the surrounds. The little fish of many colours accompany me while I swim. In fact where the water depth drops off sharply to 5-6 metres they are still calmly there – I guess that means everything that eats them has been caught. As I am getting my gear back on my eye is caught by a couple covered only by a towel no doubt getting their rocks off on the rocks.( If you look closely at the image you may see them in the shadows – I didn’t when I took the shot ! ) Following a buffet breakfast at the hotel we get a bus down to the main bus depot . The lady opposite  us doesn’t realise Lil understands her swearing in Croatian about all the tourist’s bags! We purchase tickets to Sarajevo. The trip goes over 3 borders , from Croatia to Bosnia back to Croatia and finally into Bosnia . We get to see Neum and Ploce in the daylight this time . The trip goes through spectacular country following the Neretvar river . Along the way there are many buildings riddled with shell and bullet holes and I note about 10 identical gravestones dated 1994 as the bus slows down alongside a Mostar cemetery. There is a gradual change as we travel from large crosses to more and more  Mosques ,yet there are still ,in Sarajevo even ,very few women in head scarves . How do you tell the difference between a Bosnian Serb ,a Bosnian Croat and a Bosniak — you can’t and what are 3 main causes of war – religion , religion ,religion . Sarajevo ,despite Torvill and Dean , unfortunately is not spectacular; maybe it is in winter.