November 14, 2011 - Posted by Erin in Travel, Travels in Europe

OK, so Dubrovnik wasn’t exactly what I expected. Sure it was spectacularly beautiful, but also a little heavy on tourists and light on good eats. No problem. The good news? The walled city happens to sit squished on the coast between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina (I propose a name change: Bosgovina. It has a nice ring, right?). This means that hitting up three countries in a few days, or even a day, is entirely possible. With two full free days on my recent trip, this had to happen.

Bosnia bound, we first stopped in the ancient Roman city of Narona. Along the banks of its slow-moving river, I discovered Croatian bliss while making best friends with some local kiddies and a tethered-up donkey. Loved the donkey. (I might be just a little farm-animal obsessed.)

The eerily quiet village could have been Anytown, Croatia, what with real live natives outnumbering tourists and all. More than just any old town, though, it’s home to the fairly fancy Narona Archeological Museum built on the remnants of an ancient city. History buffs and pueblo lovers (eh hemm, me) will appreciate the stop. And the neighborhood kiddos. And the pet-worthy livestock.

Then it was on to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Crossing the border we made a quick stop in the medieval town of Pocitelj. Wobbling and slipping my way up the polished stone city paths, I alternated between taking pictures and noshing on juicy pomegranate seeds bought from an old lady street vendor.

Atop the hill, we scaled a vacant tower from which we peeked out rocky windows to see the town mosque and nearby river. Bosnia, I decided right then and there, was pure awesome. There’s just something about sweet villages – no matter the country – that get me every time. All that was missing was a Bosnian grandpa. (Incidentally, I suppose I’m also grandpa obsessed. But can you blame me?)

On to Mostar we went – a town famous for its giant iconic arcing bridge that connects the two sides of town. Our guide declared it as the most photographed bridge in the world, but even he admitted this with some doubt. Regardless, it might very well be one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen (with the exception of a golden-gated version back in the US).

After visiting another mosque in the once Turkish province, my mind flitted away to my new favorite Euro-meets-Asian city: Istanbul. Then naturally to baklava, because who doesn’t think of baklava when they think of Turkey? Really, who?? I asked our guide about this critical connection, and sure enough, Turkish food thrives in Bosnia. In fact I even had a little Turkish Delight before we hit the road back to Dubrovnik (and don’t worry, baklava was had before the trip was over, but more on that later).

I also discovered one other thing in Mostar, and I think you’ve already guessed it: a Bosnian grandpa. Isn’t he just a doll?

Bonding with Croatian kiddies, popping pomegranate seeds, reminiscing over Turkish desserts, and getting my Bosnian grandpa fix (and by fix, I mean a picture, people) – all the makings for Balkan border-hopping perfection. Next up: Montenegro.

October 19, 2011 - Posted by Erin in Travel, Travels in Europe

Last week, Spain celebrated El Día de la Hispanidad, AKA Spain Day, AKA my birthday! To pay tribute to the Spanish holiday (OK, maybe my birthday), my mom came from the US and we headed to Croatia. Our one-stop trip to Dubrovnik turned into a three-country tour of the Balkans. Yeah. So while I play catch up, I wanted to give you all a little preview of the sweet, mom-funded holiday. More to come soon!

View of Dubrovnik from the city walls.

View of Dubrovnik from our hotel, Villa Dubrovnik.

Pretending to write, but instead distracted by the view. Can you blame me?

Narona, Croatia

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kotor, Montenegro

Crossing the bay in Montenegro