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Old 30th January 2012, 18:30   #46
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Great narration and superb photographs Mr.sinha. A very enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing!

Cheers!
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Old 30th January 2012, 19:27   #47
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Extremely well written and the captures are great.. thanks for sharing. Khub Bhalo...
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Old 31st January 2012, 10:46   #48
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..ah, a Solo trip. Feeling jealous! Never mind. I am off to Zagreb this morning on my Flight Simulator X. Took off from Vienna, and the season is summer. Plan to do some armchair traveling after landing..using Google Street View ;-).
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Old 31st January 2012, 13:05   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
If you get bored, please skip..
Au contraire Mr.Sinha !

IMHO, it was the most exciting point of the write-up.
I could clearly envision the whole incident in my mind, while reading.
* scary *

It was like I was watching a movie.

Thank you and please do continue.
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Old 31st January 2012, 15:54   #50
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Rated 5 stars! One of the best and scariest travelogs I've ever read!

The pictures are mind-blowing. Do keep posting, Mr. Sinha.

Your dare-devil adventure on that snow-filled road at night time was thrilling, moreso because I'd read last year that an old couple in Maryland had lost their way after a snow-storm, and froze to death a little distance away from their car.

Please avoid such risks at unknown places.
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Old 1st February 2012, 01:15   #51
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Thank you all for enjoying my travelogue and photos. It makes processing the next batch of photos and writeup all the more easier. I am working on the next installment and should post in a day or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsdbsd View Post
..ah, a Solo trip. Feeling jealous! Never mind. I am off to Zagreb this morning on my Flight Simulator X. Took off from Vienna, and the season is summer. Plan to do some armchair traveling after landing..using Google Street View ;-).
Nice. See if you can do a water landing on one of the Plitvicka lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by nimbleguru View Post
Au contraire Mr.Sinha !

IMHO, it was the most exciting point of the write-up.
I could clearly envision the whole incident in my mind, while reading.
* scary *

It was like I was watching a movie.

Thank you and please do continue.
Thank you. Thinking back, I wish I had taken some more photos at that place even though that was the last thing in my mind then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Rated 5 stars! One of the best and scariest travelogs I've ever read!

The pictures are mind-blowing. Do keep posting, Mr. Sinha.

Your dare-devil adventure on that snow-filled road at night time was thrilling, moreso because I'd read last year that an old couple in Maryland had lost their way after a snow-storm, and froze to death a little distance away from their car.

Please avoid such risks at unknown places.
You are right. In hindsight, it was not a clever thing to do. I would certainly not have travelled down that road if my family was there with me.

One more scary experience coming up on the last night of my trip, though that was not while driving. Hang on !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapsi View Post
Awesome TL. I could almost smell the fresh, crisp air through your pictures. This has once again got me itching to travel. And the best part is that you did it alone. Inspiring

One thing about traveling in foreign lands is that at times, the best places you visit are the the ones you reach when you take a wrong turn.

I might, just might, have thanked the GPS for the wonderful adventures considering that I love driving in the hills and that too at night.

Cheers!
"..the best places you visit are the the ones you reach when you take a wrong turn" - I think this is one of the best travel quotes I have heard in a while.

The GPS screwups turned what would have been some boring drives into very exciting ones surely, even though at the time and place, it felt quite annoying and tiresome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
Ah the difference the seasons make.


Well done Mr. Sinha. Great pictures and travelogue. Even though the skies are overcast and it appears to be gloomy weather, your camera and POV have brought in an ethereal beauty to the images. I'm enjoying it very much.
Thank you Sam. Your trip provided me the inspiration to visit this region in the first place.
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Old 6th February 2012, 14:50   #52
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Mr.Sinha, mind blowing landscapes! Your pics are wonderful and narration spot on Loved your thread. The getting-lost-in-the-woods was a scary experience.

Please do continue with your travelogue.
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Old 6th February 2012, 16:18   #53
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
"..the best places you visit are the the ones you reach when you take a wrong turn" - I think this is one of the best travel quotes I have heard in a while.
Thank you so much for your comment.

Well, I was just stating my experience but you have elevated it and given it the status of a quote

Thanks
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Old 6th February 2012, 16:36   #54
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Quote:
Originally Posted by khoj View Post
Apologies for this interjection but while that Swift is indeed the rebadged Esteem, the Bravo is just that a Bravo.




And that is too much info Looking forward to reading about the next three hours and then some

Hi All,

sorry to bump this thread, yes that's a swift(old model which was badged to Esteem Models), which is called as Swift in-deed and you see most of these vehicles are from Hungary and CE.

as i am working here for more than a year now.
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Old 16th February 2012, 02:05   #55
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Folks, I am sorry for this long hiatus in the travelogue. I am in the middle of a move now and things are a bit crazy at the moment. As soon as i get some breathing time, I will continue the rest of the trip report. I haven't forgotten. There are tons of pics to upload. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for your appreciation.
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Old 16th February 2012, 02:36   #56
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

please excuse my simplistic remarks,but that blew my mind away.

i got an instant re-charge by looking at them!
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Old 16th February 2012, 12:02   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
Folks, I am sorry for this long hiatus in the travelogue. I am in the middle of a move now and things are a bit crazy at the moment. As soon as i get some breathing time, I will continue the rest of the trip report. I haven't forgotten. There are tons of pics to upload. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for your appreciation.
No problem if you delay the posts, but don't forget we are waiting
I must admit that reading your travelogue makes me feel like I should start penning down my experiences as well, but I am too lazy to do that
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Old 16th February 2012, 12:36   #58
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Default Re: A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina

Once again awesome set of pics, the way you narated your drive in the dark it was as if I was there at that time driving the car, i got scared reading your narration.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 11:06   #59
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I apologize for the long gap in continuing with the travelogue. As I mentioned before, I am in the middle of a move, but I am trying to finish it in the next few days before I move.
I am trying to furiously type the text and format the photos. So here goes.


Day 5 (Dec 27, 2011):

I was woken up by the Chinese fellow at 5:30 am as I had promised to drop him at the bus stop. It was very cold outside. Bundled up and went to the car to find that my right front tire had a flat.

There was no time to change the tire as the fellow would again miss his bus. So after spending 10 minutes scraping the windshield and windows to get rid of the hard ice, drove the 2 kms slowly on the flat tire itself to the bus stop.

After dropping him, I inspected the tire to find out there was a nail embedded in it. So I had no option but to change to the spare one.

Let me tell you, it is NO FUN changing a tire at 6 am in the morning when the temperature is -5.5 degrees C. I had to work without my gloves. The whole process was slow, and by the end of 30 minutes, I feared my hands were frost-bitten perhaps. They were absolutely numb with no feeling, and all dirty and greasy.

Luckily there was s coffee shop open on the opposite side of the road by then. I quickly hopped over there, got into the rest room and ran hot water over my hands for a minute before I got back the circulation and could move my fingers.

After that I had some coffee, a leisurely breakfast, and filled up gas. I had a long drive ahead.

Today the plan was to drive to Split, a small city on the Adriatic (also called the Dalmatian) coast, go to the Split airport to return the car, and spend the rest of the day in Split. From now on, all travel would be done by public transport. After Split, my next stop would be in Bosnia, where I didn't want to take the car, mostly for insurance coverage reasons.

After a long drive mostly through the countryside, I reached Split airport around 2 pm. SiXT was bitching about the punctured tire, and wanted me to pay for repairing the flat or cost of new tire. After some argument, the guy at the counter asked for 50 Kuna in cash and said he'd take care of it. So, reluctantly I paid the umm.. convenience charge, settled the bill, and got into the airport bus which takes you to Split town center.

The bus stop at the center of town, right next to the harbor.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6313p.jpg

The Split railway station is right next to it.

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I started looking for the address where I had booked an apartment for the night. I knew it was close by but there were many small roads, lane and bylines and even though I had written directions, finding it was difficult. Something like this.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6320p.jpg

The lodging was called Nirvana Apartments. The room was decent. It was called the 'Orange Room', not surprisingly. The charge was 220 Kuna for the night.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6322p.jpg

This is the neighborhood (photo taken when I was returning back to room at night).

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6361p.jpg

After dumping my luggage and freshening up, went for a walk. It was getting close to evening. The temperature was a mild 6 degrees, and there were a lot of people on the streets and along the harbor promenade. There were a lot of shops and restaurants there.

Oh, BTW, the former tennis ace GORAN IVANISEVIC is a Split native.

The Diocletian Palace, built by Roman emperor Diocletian (yeah, as if he would name it something else!!!) was also in the neighborhood.

They say Split has the most beautiful women in the world concentrated in one place. Don't believe me? Google it.

It is attributed to a curious mix of Mediterranean, Italian, German and Balkan breeding. The end result is near perfect. Katrina types are dime-a-dozen there. Trust me, I can attest to it :-)

Some photos of Split in the evening.

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One side of the Diocletian palace where the lower floor has been turned into shops and businesses.

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Inside the Palace.

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That statue in the middle with the tilted head would be Diocletian, I presumed.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6349p.jpg

More photos along the harbor and the walking promenade.

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That concluded my short tour of Split.

Next stop: Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina.





Day 6 (Dec 28, 2011):


The day started early for me. I had tickets on the 6 AM bus to Mostar, a journey which takes about 3.5 hours. Mostar is a little bit into Bosnia after crossing the border.

I woke up at 4:30am and reached the bus stop. Had a quick croissant and coffee there. The bus was right on schedule.

Today was also my son's birthday, so using my international sim, I called India from the bus. The charge was a ridiculous $3.49/min, but I guess it was worth it.

The bus journey to Mostar is really beautiful. About half the way, the route travels along the Adriatic coast with great views of the ocean, going through small towns like Makarska, Podgora in Croatia. Then it crosses the Bosnian border at a place called Ploce, from where it starts the inland journey through the Balkan mountains.

Didn't take any photos - I was catching up on my sleep a little bit.

Getting into Bosnia was a breeze. There are two check posts, first on the Croatia side, the next about 100 feet away on the Bosnian side. We didn't have to get down from the bus. The bus driver collected all our passports and submitted them at both check posts, and returned them back to us after the formalities were done.

The first rest stop was a small town inside Bosnia called Medugorje.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6390p.jpg
A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6393p.jpg

Now a bit about the local terms. I noticed that both in Croatia and Bosnia, bus stops and small bus stations are either called AUTOBUSKA STANICA or AUTOBUSNO STAJALISTE. The 'C' in STANICA is pronounced as 's-k-a-w'.
If the 'C' has an accent mark on top, it is pronounced as 'c-h-a-w' (as in Bengali: chaw, chhaw, jaw..).
'J' is pronounced as 'y-a-w' (like in Duetsch).
The main bus station for a town or city is called AUTOBUSNI KOLODVOR.
The main train station is called ZELJEZNICKA STANICA (pronounced Zel-y-ez-ni-sk-a Stani-sk-a).

At least thats what I gathered. People living in Easter Europe, please correct me if I got it wrong.

Petrol is BENZIN. Bakery is called PEKARA.

As the bus travelled along into interior Bosnia, you could tell that Bosnia is indeed a poor and war-ravaged country. The signs of the decade long Bosnian conflict are abound. Saw quite a few mass graves with head-stones along the side of the highway.

We reached Mostar around 9:30 am. There are two bus stops in Mostar. One is right next to the main railway station, the other is about 15 minutes walk away through the center of the town.

I had arranged with the owner of the apartment where I was booked, to have me pick up from the bus station. Unfortunately, he was waiting at the main bus station.

After realizing the mistake, I took directions and started walking to the main bus station. I only had a rucksack (big one though) and a camera bag, so it was not too bad. In the middle, also exchanged some $ into Bosnian currency: BAM - Bosnian Convertible Mark. Even though they call it convertible, I don't think its convertible anywhere outside Bosnia.

I reached the main bus station and called the hotel, and the owner sent her son again to pick me up. I was impressed by their service and politeness. The apartment was only about 10 minutes walking distance from the bus and railway station.

It was called the Pansion Behar. 'Pansion' is what they call in the Bosniak language for these little apartments for rent, much like the 'Sobe' in Slovenia and Croatia.

The apartment was really good, with a single room, a kitchen with basic supplies, free soft drinks, some beer, a washer and dryer, and the bathroom.

The charge was Euro 30 for 1 night = 60 BAM.

Mostar, being located at the cross-roads of the current border among Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia bore the brunt of the war. There are a lot of old mosques in Mostar. Many building were in ruins after getting bombed. They are still trying to renovate and reconstruct the city. I could see many buildings pock-marked with large holes from shells and bullets. Even the mosques were not spared.

Ruins like these buildings are plenty.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6400p.jpg
A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6402p.jpg
A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6403p.jpg

See the bullet holes on the outside of the mosque. This is the Koski Mehmed Pasha mosque, built in 1617, now a historical site.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6406p.jpg

And on the outside of this building.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6407p.jpg


(To be continued)
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Old 23rd February 2012, 12:09   #60
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Day 6 (Dec 28, 2011) - continued:


After freshening up a bit, went out and started walking along the old city part of Mostar. Narrow cobblestone streets. The weather was beautiful and there were many people walking around.

Mostar was part of the Ottoman empire, and the building architectures reflect that.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6409p.jpg

This is the busy marketplace in old town, called the Kujundziluk. The Turkish embassy is also located here.

This is a small outdoor bazaar.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6412p.jpg
A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6415p.jpg

A church on the other side of the Neretva river which flows through Mostar.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6417p.jpg

Now, Mostar's most famous architectural landmark is a small stone bridge built across the Neretva river. It is called the STARI MOST. It was initially an wooden bridge, later rebuilt in stone in 1566, by Suleiman, supposedly a famous Ottoman emperor. During the war, the Croats completely bombed and destroyed the bridge. It was then rebuilt in 2004.

The Stari Most from a distance.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6419p.jpg

This is the Cejvan Cehaj mosque, built in 1552, the oldest mosque in Mostar.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6420p.jpg

More of the old city. The streets were lined with colorful shops selling rugs, carpets to hookahs, shawls and other ornate stuff.

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The person in the red jacket was selling pomegranate juice. He had a wooden leg - a casualty of the war. The young woman sitting in the background with a baby on her lap is a beggar who lost everything including her family during the war.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6442p.jpg

The Neretva river divides a church and a mosque - the basic story of the war.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6445p.jpg

View from the Stari Most bridge.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6450p.jpg

The bridge.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6453p.jpg

On the other end of the bridge - Turkish shops and restaurants.
I had a good lunch there with a traditional Bosnian dish called CEVAPCICI. It is pronounced 'se-vap-chi-chi'. Its like a large hollow parotha with oil or butter on the top, and stuffed inside with mini sausages, and chopped raw onions.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6455p.jpg
A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6457p.jpg

The bridge at night.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6468p.jpg

The marketplace and old town at night.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6469p.jpg
A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6473p.jpg

That concluded my short tour of Mostar. Next stop: Sarajevo. I have an early morning train to Sarajevo tomorrow.





Day 7 (Dec 29, 2011):

My train to Sarajevo was at 8 am, so after a quick shower, called the owner's son who insisted on dropping me back to the train station even though it was just a 10 minute walk. I thanked him after he dropped me off, purchased the tickets, and at a light breakfast. It was cold, but not very cold, maybe close to zero degrees.

The train arrived on time and I got into a coup like thing with glass doors. This is what the inside of a Bosnian train looks like.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6486p.jpg

I had a co-passenger, and old gentleman who spoke a few words of English, and who I gathered was going to visit his relative somewhere north. His son was working in Dubai. He was carrying apples from his orchard and offered me a few. I, in turn offered him a Ghirardelli chocolate bar.

After the TT left, he lighted up a cigarette. I pointed to the No Smoking sign (the whole compartment was N.S.) with a questioning glance, he merely shrugged with the all-too-familiar 'chalta hai' gesture. I let it be. They smoke everywhere in Bosnia, in restaurants, trains, railway stations, bars.

The train journey from Mostar to Sarajevo is supposedly one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, snaking through the heart of the Balkan mountains, going through tunnels, viaducts and bridges. But unfortunately, the weather was bad that day. It was very foggy and hazy. That region including Sarajevo had received a blanked of snowfall a day earlier. It was evident.

Some photos along the way.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6480p.jpg
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Finally reached Sarajevo at around 10:30 am. Its a small station with only about 4 or 5 tracks.

The temperature was around 3 degrees below zero. It was feeling cold.

The Sarajevo train station entrance. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the station. I had tried to take out my camera, but immediately heard a shout from an official "No photos".

The railway station was destroyed during the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian war. It was rebuilt later with money from Saudi Arabia.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6537p.jpg

A nice glass building just outside the train station.

A Solo trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina-imgp6547p.jpg

The whole city was dumped with snow, the sidewalks were caked with hardened snow and ice. Walking was difficult, you had to be very careful.


(To be continued)
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