Friday, August 11, 2006

A weekend in Sarajevo and then to Experience the Wild Beauty of Montenegro!

Since we seem to travel almost every weekend when together here, Arno and I decided to stick around in Sarajevo for the weekend. After taking in some of the nightlife, we travelled with others to a town just an hour from the city to go...rafting! The story of how we actually got to Konjic, the town where we were meeting up with one of my colleagues and his friends, is an interesting one. Me, Arno, Parish, his girlfriend Mira, Kanako, and one of Mira's friends were at dinner the previous night. We had to meet my Bosnian colleague, Ahmed, the next morning at 9 and still had not decided the means by which we were going to get there--bus, train, taxi?! Well, this topic came up with one of our waiters at the restaurant and he offered us to use his car! After agreeing on a price, we met him the next morning (he was a little late, but hey, at least we got the car in the end) and headed to Konjic. Can you imagine this happening in the U.S. or some other place? Someone just offering and entrusting you, a bunch of randoms, with his car? I was shocked really.

>Heading to Konjic, Parish is driving and Mira is in the passenger seat.

The rafting was good fun...some of the people wanted more rapids but we did have some pretty big ones. Overall, it was relaxing and something different to do. A thunderstorm in the middle of the trip was obviously a high point ;) Another high point was grilling fish for lunch...the ent
ire fish, scales and all just without the guts. I've never eaten an entire fish with my fingers in such a barbaric manner, but I did it and it was tasty! After our trip, there was a huge feast of a meal waiting for us. Just what we needed after being so cold and tired from rafting in the rain. Here are some more rafting took about 50 minutes to get to the starting point so there are lots of photos of the scenery. Also, sorry, but no good action shots because it was too wet and risky to take photos during the rafting!
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The following weekend, 4-8 August, Arno and I drove to Montenegro (which is really called Crne Gora, like Greece is actually named Hellas, etc.) The country's marketing slogan for tourism is "Come and experience Montenegro's Wild Beauty". Well that is exactly what we did--we first went to the mountains in the north to Durmitor National Park and a town within the par
k called Zabljak. The mountain range here is very, very high with some snow still sitting on them in places. The area's beauty is really breathtaking. A highlight of the trip to Zabljak was driving on gravel roads which on the map appeared as a normal route. In my experience, gravel roads are NOT even shown on maps, but here this road was--we expected an average country paved road, but got gravel instead...small things like this keep you smiling. :o)

With no place to stay in the town
's main hotel, we stayed in a room in a family's house--something which you can do almost anywhere here. We just enjoyed a walk in the national park and an interesting meal with a faithful follower of Law of Time. I leave researching that to you...but if you do, do the research I am a yellow, resonant warrior...hahaha....
We had enough of the quiet, serene wilderness after one evening and night, so we travelled the next morning to the coast. It was just that morning that our trip took a turn for the I've come to find out since, I had contracted some kind of stomach infection which gave me an extremely sharp pain in the left side of my stomach.

After almost fainting, having a high fever, and being in constant pain, and looking on the coast for a hotel for SIX HOURS, we rested and went to the doctor the next morning. Of all the things to do on the beautiful, wild coast of Montenegro, visiting a doctor and getting pumped with medicine through an IV is not what I imagined we'd be doing. A second day came, still pain, and another IV...we were really enjoying ourselves! Arno was at my beckon call every second and took wonderful care of me.

The pain has gradually subsided and I am doing well today. We saw a lot of Montenegro, but unfortunately didn't have the best trip we could've had. After getting a speeding ticket and essentially bribing the cops by paying the fine on the spot so we wouldn´t have to go to court, we made it back to good ole Sarajevo.

For photos of Montenegro (mostly the mountains because I was too sick to stay outside that much while on the coast), visit this site! Enjoy!

Just one more week here in Sarajevo!!!!!

Croatia again: Zagreb, Podstrana, and Split

For my 25th birthday, Arno returned to visit me in the Balkans meeting in Zagreb, Croatia. We stayed only a night and part of an afternoon in Zagreb before heading to the beautiful coast yet again. This time we were more north than before staying in a small town called Podstrana which is just south of the main city, Split.

The very nice family run hotel in which we stayed is located directly on the beach which remains relatively uncrowded throughout the day. We had a wonderfully large balcony with just a gorgeous view over the sea. We relaxed all weekend, played frisbee, and on an inflatable raft.

Zagreb does seem like a great city--it is the biggest in Croatia af
ter all, but we (especially myself) wanted to get some sun time.

In travelling back to Sarajevo, we weren't able to take the afternoon bus from Split because it was full so we had several hours in the city before departing that night. Split isn't as beautiful as Dubrovnik but the 'roughness' adds to its ch
arm. Diocletian, a Roman emperor, built a palace here. Compared to other Roman sites I have visited, this is probably one of the biggest I've seen (next to the Colosseum in Rome).

Please enjoy the rest of my Zagreb-Podstrana-Split photos by clicking here!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A few notes...

I will be posting photos from my trips to the Croatian coast with Arno, as well as from our upcoming trip to Montenegro within the next week and a half so stay tuned!

To support one of my favorite pastimes, I've started a new blog of revieweing restaurants at and plan to add reviews from almost wherever I dine in the world. Right now I just have reviews for some Sarajevo restaurants but I will add some from DC and in the Netherlands within the next month or so.

In other news, I leave Sarajevo on 18 August and after a weekend on the coast, again, I will head back to the Netherlands. My classes start on 5 September and last until mid-December. I have to start thinking about my thesis too which is a bit stressful, but I'm definitely looking forward to finishing it and most likely earlier than the deadline! More on that later when I've decided what I'll be writing on...

I am also going to try and return here for a weekend to observe the elections to be held in October. It will be the last elections before the Office of the High Representative (OHR), the organization basically managing the country, closes and leaves Bosnia-Herzegovina to try and govern itself...should be interesting.

O.k., I hope all of you are doing well wherever you may be! My best to you, take care :o)