When Explore Worldwide published its latest catalog including a new journey into the Balkans, ex-Marine (husband, Steve) and I jumped at it. This would be a whirlwind trip. In and out of four countries in 12 days. Visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, mountains, fortified towns, and boat rides along the dazzling coast; a lot to see and do.
Travels With Sheila did visit Dubrovnik in 1975 when the “Balkans” was called “Yugoslavia.” The country of Yugoslavia was then made up of six Socialist Republics and two Socialist Autonomous Provinces. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Serbia, Vojvodina and Kosovo. I have memories of dour personnel and terrible food but that was long, long ago in a country, far, far away. The 2011 definition of Balkans includes the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. Other countries sometimes lumped in with the “Balkans” are: Moldova, Romania, and Turkey. Wow. After this trip, Macedonia and Moldova would be the only remaining countries unseen. That is pretty amazing if I do say so myself.
Showed the itinerary to the Steve who gave an enthusiastic thumbs up. The highlights of the tour would be: Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Kotor, and Mostar. Almost every Balkan tour travelers look at usually include the same stops but this was a new trip for Explore Worldwide who had never disappointed us. Booked a May departure, bought the latest Lonely Planet Western Balkans, and then began planning. I belong to this school of thought when traveling, “Well, we’re going so far, and spending so much on air fare, why not add….”? And that’s exactly what I did.
It wasn’t easy deciding what should be added. There’s a lot to see and do in the Balkans but I finally settled on a few extra days in the beginning and at the end. The group would actually meet in Cavtat, 17 kilometers/9 miles down the coast from Dubrovnik. How about a few days there to relax and to mosey around Cavtat and Dubrovnik? And after rushing through four countries in 12 days, how about a few days in gorgeous Split on the Croatian Coast? Split, partially set within the ruined confines of Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, is loaded with hotels, restaurants, and bars scattered inside the atmospheric old walls. Sounded good to me! Sounded good to Steve!
Let’s plan a May Balkan exploration…