We finally arrived in Sarajevo after airline delays and met up with our friends to start on a 13 day organised tour of Bosnia and Croatia. Our Amber Road tour is made up of 14 Australians and 4 Americans, an unusual statistic for an American based company.
The first two days were spent in Sarajevo in Bosnia, a city which was besieged for 1425 days days by the Serbian Army between 1992 and 1996. It was the longest siege in the history of modern warfare. The city had no electricity or services, there were acute food shortages and over 5000 civilians died. We visited the Tunnel of Hope which was built to allow the passage of food and other supplies into the besieged city. There are signs of the war damage throughout the city.
It was a very cold wet day for our tour so warm clothes and umbrellas were the order of the day.
We also had dinner one night at the home of a Bosnian family and they described their experiences during the war.
Sarajevo is also significant in world history because it was here that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip on the 28th June 1914 thus triggering World War One.
We also visited a brewery, had our laundry done and ate some of the chevapi which Sarajevo is well known for.
There were 18 of us in the tour and we then travelled to Dubrovnik though some beautiful Bosnian country side. Dubrovnik is in Croatia so after several border crossings we arrived at this beautiful medieval walled city on the sea. It will be well known to all you Game of Thrones fans out there.
We had a morning walking tour with a very passionate guide and after lunch Mr L and I walked on the walls from where there are great views of the city and the bay.
Back in the bus again after two nights in Dubrovnik to the seaside village of Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsula in southern Croatia. Our home for two nights was the Hotel Indijan right on the waterfront. En route to Orebic we visited a local oyster farm and climbed a part of the great Wall of Ston which was built initially to protect the precious salt pans.
In the 19th century Orebic was renowned for shipbuilding and boasted 90 large sailing ships of its own that plied the world’s oceans. We spent the morning in Korcula one of the best preserved medieval towns of the Mediterranean on the island of Korcula. It is also the birthplace of Marco Polo. That night we enjoyed a visit to a local winery for some good food and a taste of local wines.
What have I been wearing? After a cold start in Sarajevo the weather has been wonderful. Warm, clear and in the low 20sC so short sleeves and cropped pants have been the order of the day. Just as well I bought a pair of cropped jeans in Belgium!
Next stop Split and then the Plitvice Lakes.