Apr 10 2005

Adventures in the former Yugoslavia

by in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Central & Southern Europe, Croatia, Montenegro

“If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik.” – George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright but, more importantly, co-founder of the London School of Economics

I’ve found my heaven, and it is the Dalmation Coast. You can have Hawaii, California, the Caribbean Islands, whatever, just give me a flat in the Old City of Dubrovnik, Croatia and I’ll be happy.

Day 1
We left London on April 5, and nearly missed our plane due to wandering aimlessly in the Gatwick Boots. We flew into Dubrovnik Airport, a cute little airport that reminded me of the Palm Springs Airport before it became all high and mighty and gave itself an international designation (Note to the PS Airport authorities: You’re not fooling anyone).

We caught a taxi to our hotel, and the driver was a really nice guy. We asked him if there were a lot of American tourists coming to Dubrovnik, and he said that before the war (pre-1991) there were quite a few Americans visiting the city, but now not so much. After we dropped our bags off at our hotel (perhaps hotel is an incorrect way to describe where we stayed, as it was really more like a room in a house that had been turned into a “hotel”) we headed off to the Old City of Dubrovnik, an area of shops, restaurants, churches, and homes that are enclosed by walls built between the 13th and 16th centuries.

Dubrovnik

We had some delicious pizza and then wandered around the city for awhile…it was eerily empty, as tourist season hasn’t quite started, but will in a few weeks. We followed a sign that said “Cold drinks with a beautiful view” and ended up on a terrace that was built on the outside of the city walls, directly facing the ocean. The place was closing (it was probably 10pm or so) but we just stood there for awhile, looking around. What was crazy was that it was absolutely pitch black…no lights at all…you couldn’t even tell where the ocean began, which was strange for me as I’m always used to seeing the lights reflecting off beachfront condos, ships out at sea, lights from the pier, etc but here there was nothing.

Day 2 : Three countries in one day!

former_yu_trip.gif
Dubrovnik, Croatia -> Trebinje, Bosnia-Hercegovina -> Herceg Novi, Montenegro -> Dubrovnik, Croatia

The next day is when the real adventure occurs. Before leaving London, Crystal and I had noticed how close Dubrovnik was to Bosnia-Hercegovina and Montenegro and wouldn’t it just be shame if we didn’t cross the border for a quick run through those countries?

So, that morning we parted ways with Taline, who preferred the comfort and safety of Dubrovnik’s cafes, and headed off to the bus station to find a bus to Trebinje, the nearest town across the Bosnia-Hercegovina border. After waiting for a very long time, we boarded a small bus that was filled with Trebinje locals bringing back fish, fruit, and vegetables they had purchased in the Dubrovnik markets. You can imagine how wonderful the bus smelled. After driving for about 20 minutes, we went through the Croatian checkpoint and headed towards the Bosnia-Hercegovina checkpoint, about 100 meters up the road. The bus driver collected my and Crystal passports (and some other guy, who I think was a Russian) and handed them over to the Bosnian border guard. After a few minutes, the bus driver got on the bus and, pointing at Crystal and I, hurriedly exclaimed “Policaj! Policaj!” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what this phrase means, so we saunter off the bus and head towards the blue and yellow guard shack, where a gruff looking border guard is flipping through our passports.

“You are just going to Trebinje?” he says, in heavily accented English.

“Yes.”

“And then you are going back to Croatia?”

“Er…yes.” we replied, even though it wasn’t quite the exact truth. Yes, technically we were going back to Croatia that day, but we were just going the long way, through Montenegro. Details, details, right? He stamped our passports and we got back onto the bus, slightly embarrassed that our presence had caused a delay (from the looks of things, it doesn’t seem like many foreigners, much less two American girls, take the bus to Trebinje very often).

It is on the winding road to Trebinje that the scars of war become more apparent, with the burned out shells of houses and rusting cars lining the road. Trebinje was the city from which the Serbs shelled Dubrovnik, and, in 1993, expelled 5,000 Muslims and destroyed the city’s mosques.

After what seems like an extremely long ride for such a short distance (25km from Dubrovnik to Trebinje) we finally arrived at the bus station in the city center. We weren’t really sure what we were going to find in Trebinje, as it was a rather depressing city, and reminded me a lot of the outlying areas of St. Petersburg and Moscow. Our first task was to find a bus schedule so that we could plan accordingly. We found one, but it was from 2004, and hence not very useful. We approached the old man that was working at the bus station counter and tried to communicate with him, but our inability to speak Serbo-Croatian and his lack of English proved to be a rather large obstacle. He left his ticket booth and went to talk to our Dubrovnik-Trebinje bus driver. As we watched him talk to the bus driver, it was obvious that he was asking the bus driver why in the hell these two American girls were in Trebinje, and what was he supposed to do with us? The bus driver just shook his head, and the old man headed back to his counter, where he shoved a post-it note pad and pen under the glass partition and motioned for us to write down our destinations. Crystal wrote down “What time is the bus leaving for…?” and listed three cities in Montenegro (thanks to Lonely Planet’s language section in the back of the Croatian guide!). We gave the list to the guide, and he sighed and shook his head. He got out a bus schedule and wrote down the cities we could go to, but none of them were even close to where we wanted to go. Apparently, in order to get to cities in Montenegro, we would have had to take a bus to a larger city in Bosnia and grab a connection from there. At the end of the list, though, he wrote down “Hercig Novi – Taxi, 20 Evros.” Ah, so we could take a taxi across the border!
Wonderful. We thanked him and headed off to explore Trebinje (and I’m sure he was quite thankful to finally get rid of us).

I was a bit hungry, and had 10 Bosnian marks burning a hole in my pocket, so we went into a cafe to grab a bite to eat. The first one we went to didn’t serve food, so we went to another a cafe across the street. They didn’t serve food, either…great. This city is filled with cafes and NONE of them have food. I gave up and purchased some chips from a kiosk. We wandered around for about an hour. There was really nothing of interest there…except some badly misspelled graffiti:

Anti-NATO graffiti in Trebinje, Bosnia

Look mom, I’m in Bosnia-Hercegovina!:

We decide to leave Bosnia, and head off to Montenegro. We walk back to the bus station and find a lone taxi driver sitting in his car, waiting for a customer. We don’t have exactly 20 Euros on us, but have mainly dollars and a few Euros. After a few minutes of haggling and attempting to determine the dollar to Bosnian mark exchange rate, we hand him a hodgepodge of dollars and Euros, and ask “Is this OK?” He didn’t speak any English, which made the conversation quite interesting, but he must have understood our hand movements and fistful of cash we thrust at him, as he agreed to drive us to Herceg Novi.

We hopped in the taxi, and off we went to Montenegro on a road barely wide enough for two cars. Our driver was a really nice guy, and offered us gum (thanks), cigarettes (no thanks, I’m from California – we don’t smoke), and reading material (a gossip magazine, which we couldn’t really read, due to it being in Serbo-Croatian). The scenery proved to be more interesting than the love lives of Bosnian heart throbs, though, so I spent most of the time just looking out the window. Oddly enough, the outskirts of Trebinje were littered with hundreds of plastic bags. How in the hell did so many plastic bags just end up in the middle of nowhere? One of life’s mysteries, I suppose. Crystal and I attempted to use some Serbo-Croatian phrases from the Lonely Planet guidebook, but we must have butchered them, because our driver had no idea what we were talking about. There are many Serbo-Croatian words that are similar to Russian (and, in Trebinje all the signs were in Cyrillic) but for the most part we were unable to communicate with the locals except for numbers and directions. We finally learned that that our driver’s name was Mark, which was quite a breakthrough.

We arrived at the Bosnian checkpoint, a godforsaken location in the middle of nowhere. We waited for a few minutes, as usual. None of the guards spoke English, but I think Mark explained to the guards that he was taking these two crazy Americans to Herceg Novi. We were finally waved through, and then drove through the buffer area between the borders and arrived at a recently built modern border crossing station that, according to the sign next to the building, was funded by U.S. taxpayers. Again, we had to wait a few minutes. Border guards love to take their time…especially the ones way up there in the mountains…they have nothing better to do, it seems.

The drive to Herceg Novi was beautiful – snow capped mountains, valleys with small farms and stone houses, and eventually, the ocean. Mark asked, did we need a hotel room? No. An apartment? No. Did we want to go to the city center? Yes. He really must have thought we were nuts – two Americans in Trebinje, and now Herceg Novi, with absolutely no idea what we were doing there. He took us to the city center, pointed in one direction “more” (sea) and then in the other direction, said some word that I’m not entirely sure what it was…maybe a market, or something. We thanked him and headed towards the sea. While walking along the coast, we came across an old fortress that was built in the 14th century. We walked up some steps and stepped onto a grassy plateau that had once been the floor of a room in the fortress, but the walls had somehow tumbled into the ocean, exposing that area to the elements:

Herceg Novi Montenegro

And it was a good place for photos:

Herceg Novi Montenegro

And this dog kept following us EVERYWHERE:

We wandered around a bit more, but decided that it was getting rather late, so we headed back towards the city to exchange pounds for Montenegrin currency and then catch a taxi to Dubrovnik. We found a bank, but were surprised when the teller handed us Euros. “Is this for here?” Crystal asked the teller. “Yes”, she replied. We were a bit perplexed. Surely Serbia & Montenegro had not entered the EU? Well, we later found out that Montenegro had just taken it upon itself to adopt the Euro as it’s own currency.

Interesting…

We then headed to a nearby cafe to have a milkshake and enjoy the lovely view:

Herceg Novi Montenegro

We called Taline (“Hey Taline, yeah we’re in Montenegro right now…we’ll be back to Dubrovnik in an hour.”) Unfortunately, one hour turned into two hours, as Crystal and I were unable to locate a taxi in the city. We walked and walked and walked and found nothing. I finally spotted a major road and we wandered down there, and, after stopping into a gas station and hair salon to ask where the hell all the taxis were, eventually found one in front of a closed hotel. The driver explained to us in Russian (yeah, finally a language we can understand) that he could only take us to the border, and from there we would walk to the Croatian checkpoint and find a taxi over there. We didn’t have much choice, so we headed towards the border. At the border, we got out of the taxi, showed our passports to the Montenegro guards, and started walking the 100 meters towards the Croatian checkpoint.

While walking across no man’s land, I spotted some signs that looked like this:

landmine_sign.jpg

These signs are there to warn you of landmines in the area. Yeah, landmines. No need to worry, though, as we stuck to the paved road. I wanted to take a picture of the sign, but Crystal said the border guards probably wouldn’t like that, so I left the camera in my bag. I imagine it would have been a good picture, though – the two of us, walking through the middle of nowhere, surrounded by landmines, with the sun setting behind us.

We get to the Croatian checkpoint and there are two guys there, one is a uniformed guard and the other is in a suit with a police badge on his pocket.

“Dobra Dan.” (Good day) they say, with the BIGGEST grins on their faces.

“Dobra Dan.” we reply, and hand our passports to the uniformed guard. He runs into the guard house, and the guy in the suit just stands there staring at us amusedly. We’re pretty sure that two American girls crossing the border by foot is an event that doesn’t occur everyday, so we’re glad we could provide the police with some amusement. The other guard returns with our passports and we start to walk off when the guy in the suit says “Devojke, kak…?” (in Russian it means “Girls, how…?) but his voice trails off and he just shakes his head.

So, we are officially back in Croatia, and wouldn’t you know it, not a taxi in sight! Awesome! We walk for about 15 minutes, and then come across a roadside grill, where a woman comes out and asks if we need a taxi. Perfect, but the price is a bit higher than we expected. Oh well, Dubrovnik is 50km away, we’re hungry, and Taline is waiting for us to come back so we can grab some dinner. We finally arrive safely in Dubrovnik after the FASTEST TAXI RIDE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Success, three countries in one day!

Afterward we had some amazing seafood (and, thank God, I did not get sick this time and was able to eat shellfish, therefore confirming I didn’t develop some nasty reaction to those mussels in Belgium) and regaled Taline with our stories of Bosnia and Montenegro.

Day 3

On our third day in Croatia, we decided to take a ferry to one of the local islands. We really wanted to go to Mljet, which is supposedly the island where Calypso kept Odysseus prisoner for seven years, but unfortunately the ferry wasn’t going to Mljet that day (one of the downsides of going during the off-peak season). Instead, we went to the island of Lopud, population 220:

Lopud Island Croatia

On the boat ride there, we talked with some of the locals who were heading to the island to prepare a hotel for tourist season. This older gentleman showed us an English phrasebook he had, which included such helpful phrases as “I really enjoy Jack Lemmon’s films.” and “Do you like American architecture? I do not like American architecture.” It was written by a Brit…hilarious.

After the boat docked, we headed to the only cafe that was open, and asked the waiter what kind of mixed drinks they had, expecting him to rattle off a list with mai tais, pina coladas, and what not…

“We have white wine with coke and red wine with fanta.”

“Uhhhh….what? White wine with coke? Do you, uh, have anything else, like a pina colada?”

“No.”

“OK, give us some of those coke and wine things.”

They turned out to be rather decent. We asked him what else they had.

“We have a drink called Diesel. It is beer and coke.”

I opted for a Diesel. It was actually quite good.

We then wandered around the island for a while. I went to the beach and stuck my feet in the water. It felt so good. I miss the beach so much, and the smell of salt water, palm trees, and my surfboard. It felt good to be out of a city for once…London, Paris, Budapest, and Brussels are wonderful, but every once in awhile you need to get out of the concrete jungle for a few days.

After we hiked around the island for a bit, we headed back down to catch the boat to Dubrovnik. We ate at a pizzeria in the Old City and then went to – get this – an Irish pub. One of the locals had told us that it was where everyone congregates, since the city is pretty much dead after 8pm. Before we went in, I wondered aloud whether they would have Strongbow, and as soon as I stepped in I saw the Strongbow faucet and made up my mind right then and there that I had to move to Dubrovnik.

We ordered a pint and proceeded to take over the music selection by monopolizing the jukebox, which did not have any music post-1994. I opted for “Dancing Queen” by Abba, “Hotel California” by the Eagles, and of course, “Back in the USSR” by the Beatles. (Taline: “I CANNOT believe you just played Back in the USSR in the Former Yugoslavia.”) Two American college students walked in, one of them wearing a “W 2004″ cap, and I was ready to start a fight with the Bush supporter but was placated by a pint of Red Witch.
Afterwards we went back to the hotel and discovered that West Wing is on Croatian TV at 1:30am. Even better, though, is that they are episodes from the current season showing in the US! We don’t even get those in the UK! Yet another reason to move to Croatia…

Day 4

The day we leave. Quite sad. We have breakfast at a cafe and then walk on top of the city walls to take in the beautiful view:

Dubrovnik Croatia

Dubrovnik Croatia
The roofs of the Old City. Over 68% of the buildings were struck by Serb artillery shells in 1991-92.

To give you an idea, here is Dubrovnik in 1991:

dubrovnik_1991.jpg

I wanted to stay there for a few more days, but sadly, we had to leave Dubrovnik, and headed off to the airport to catch our plane back to London. The entire plan groaned when the captain announced that the temperature was a balmy 6 degrees Celsius (42F) with a chance of snow. Ridiculous. I had to change out of my flip flops and back into my sneakers as soon as I collected my bag at Gatwick.

Anyways, the rest of my photos are here. If you ever have the chance to visit Dubrovnik, I highly suggest going…you won’t regret it.

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38 Responses to Adventures in the former Yugoslavia

  1. From donal roche:

    Hi Lindsay..
    we are going to Dubrovnik in september for 6 days would you recommend dubrovnik, Herceg Novi, and where can i find info on some hotels to stay in …
    Hoping you can be of help
    Donal

    Posted on May 20, 2005 at 8:48 pm #
  2. From Julie Kocot:

    Many thanks for the memories after looking back to your photos. I was in Hergeg novi in 1979 and had a brilliant holiday. I was so upset when the war broke out as I didnt know what to expect whether all tourism was going to be lost.
    Some of your pictures of the harbour and the views ive had too.
    Ive been trying to go back to see what has changed but cannot remember what the hotel is called, it would be nice to go back. One day but thank you for your photos on your website.
    The People were so nice and friendly then hope they are still now.

    Posted on January 22, 2006 at 5:27 am #
  3. From Tim:

    Hi,
    I stumbled across your page while doing some research for my European trip in August. I’m planning on being in Dubrovnik for 3 days. Do you think it was worth the time/cost to go to Bosnia just for a few hours? I was thinking about grabbing a bus like you did, snap a few pics and grab some lunch and head back. Your discription sounds like it was pretty drab, but I still think it would be great to be able to experience Bosnia, even for a few hours. Your thoughts?
    thistimetomorrow@trustkill.net

    Posted on July 13, 2006 at 3:30 pm #
  4. From lisinka shosha:

    Thanks for posting the picture in Trebinje of the grafitti! I love it! I traveled to Trebinje in November 2005. I went with my husband to visit his family. When I first saw the graffitti I laughed at the mispelling. I also had a picture of it. Unfortunately, I lost that roll of film somewhere between Trebinje and Kiev, Ukraine. So I was glad to see someone else captured it.
    Thanks,
    Lisinka Shosha

    Posted on July 30, 2006 at 8:09 pm #
  5. From Trebinjka:

    Everyone knows how beautiful Trebinje is, but I guess shallow and blend Americans are blind to its beauty…Shame…….

    Posted on February 12, 2007 at 9:44 pm #
  6. From yacnie:

    hello tell me her mahlim_samka@hotmail.fr

    Posted on March 5, 2007 at 7:05 am #
  7. From yacnie:

    hi am yacnie boy a louk your blog -this cool me a love girl as you me a love go in world me a livfe in marocco you love tell me am her in msn mahlim_samka@hotmail.fr kiss babey

    Posted on March 5, 2007 at 7:08 am #
  8. From Al:

    This page was great — I came across it doing a google search for “dubrovnik trebinje bus.” Your story gave a lot of great info as well as a great story.

    Posted on July 23, 2007 at 11:45 pm #
  9. From Medito:

    Hi
    my name is Medi.
    I came across your website when i was doing a research.
    I think your pics are so simple because they don’t represent the reality.In other words all you pics are too kind.
    You ve been in poor cuntries but you did not take any pics of the bad situation of people living there.
    what about people, merchants, beggers, thieves……..
    I see just pics that can everyone see on TV.
    I hope that in you future, you ll come with something special.
    BYE BYE Medi the Moroccan

    Posted on October 1, 2007 at 6:15 am #
  10. From Anonymous:

    Wow! Great trip report! You shloud go to Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia, those are the most marvellous cities in the world. Everyone should visit those. And do you know they have discovered the world’s biggest pyramids in Visoko, about 30 minute ride from Sarajevo. It is amazing. Bosnia and Croatia are the most beautiful countries in the world.
    In Croatia there is a city called Loviste on the Peljesac Peninsula, it is a small town of about 100 inhabitants that is really calm and has outsandidly hot and clean water.
    I have never been to Montenegro but seems really beautiful.

    Posted on March 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm #
  11. From Nash Todd:

    Extremely shallow presentation/view of very beautiful but unfortunate country(s).
    The way you have traveled sounds so disorganized and I wonder you might be having the same problem with this web presentation.
    Dubrovnik, Trebinje and Herceg Novi are old historical places with thousands of years long tradition and history.
    What you have seen is post-war landscape of unfortunate people destroyed by the ignorant US government and shallow mind like yours… You only speak English? How typical for Americans.
    …Today, driving trough Dorchester, Boston suburb, plastic bag got cot by my car windshield wipers for the few seconds…coincidence?

    Posted on March 27, 2008 at 12:17 am #
  12. From Lindsay:

    Well, Nash Todd, if you had bothered to actually read the entry you would have noticed that we managed to communicate with several people through Russian. So yeah, you’re right, I only speak English (WTF?)
    And yes, it was completely disorganized travel, which IMO, is the best kind.
    Sorry you live in Massachusetts, but glad you seem to have taken up residency in the country you loathe so much!

    Posted on March 27, 2008 at 12:37 am #
  13. From bucke (from trebinje):

    lindsay, visit trebinje again plssss…if i see u on the street i ll kick ur ass ….u type abt trebinje like u know everything abt history here ..i am from sarajevo and now i living in trebinje i know situation here and i must tell u thta u talk abt wrong things here….in the war everyone is guilty and serbs just tried to protect themself.—

    Posted on August 9, 2008 at 5:58 am #
  14. From Lindsay:

    LoL, Bucke…I look forward to your Serbian hospitality!

    Posted on August 20, 2008 at 10:21 pm #
  15. From Armin:

    hey lindsey, i see you have visited one city in bosnia, thats really awesome! but i think you should have went to mostar or sarajevo, the hospitality is much greater then in a serb village called trebinje where for the most of the population is a war criminal, you should go to the bosnian-croat federation, it is very beautiful.. peace

    Posted on September 2, 2008 at 8:21 am #
  16. From Bosnian in Virginia:

    Hi Lindsay,
    I am Bosnian, who came to Arlington, VA some 2.5 years ago, and I was laughing out lout at the following part of your article:
    “This city is filled with cafes and NONE of them have food. I gave up and purchased some chips from a kiosk.”
    When my wife and I just arrived to Arlington, we had been looking desperately for a non-Starbucks cafe where we could sit outside in a nice “cafe garden” setting and drink espresso. But after several days and more than two dozens of cafes visited we had realized that in the States you can only eat in the cafes but you cannot have a coffee. Lol!

    Posted on December 14, 2008 at 2:56 am #
  17. From Alex:

    Perhaps the poor guy who wrote the greeting to Nato didn’t manage to finish the sentence as NATO’s satellites located him and vaporized him with a laser. :) Seriously though I think you present only one side of the conflict, which is not surprising given that you probably don’t know much about it and even those who know are probably wrong on some parts. A few questions one could ask: (1) Why did Serbs shell Dubrovnik, (2) Did Croats from Dubrovnik shell Serbs in Bosnia, (3) what happened to the Serbian native population of Dubrovnik?

    Posted on February 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm #
  18. From James West Midlands:

    First of all, your story doesn’t say anything about 10 of thousands of Serbs who lived in Dubrovnik. They were forced to leave and their properties were occupied by Croatian soldiers of fortune. You should also know that 40% of pre-1991 Dubrovnik population were Serbian. Most of them unfortunately live in Trebinja and Serbia as refugees.

    Posted on May 22, 2009 at 8:28 am #
  19. From jakob:

    Dear American girls,

    Did you have a free trip to Dubrovnik funded by Roman Catholic Church?
    You could visit also Medjugorje and enjoy with free style love by the local friars from Medjugorje. I am wondering why they did not offer you something more exciting in Dubrovnik.
    At the end on the performance Dubrovnk’s “playboys” tie the concrete blocks for the legs of the awardees and sent them to the beautiful Adriatic.
    I have read in the papers that some girl from Australia was missing.

    Posted on August 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm #
  20. From Peter:

    Hello Lindsay, Next time you visit Montenegro go to Kotor and Bay of Kotor. It is much nicer that Herzeg Novi. Kotor is a little Dubrovnic

    Posted on November 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm #
  21. From Peter:

    Hello Lindsay, Next time you visit Montenegro go to Kotor and Bay of Kotor. It is much nicer that Herzeg Novi. Kotor is a little Dubrovnic
    very nice website you have

    Posted on November 29, 2009 at 8:00 pm #
  22. From James:

    I agree with Peter, Kotor Bay has all the charm, architecture and history of Dubrovnik but with much less tourists making for a more relaxing atmosphere. That was my experience anyway, i flew into Dubrovnik and spent the day there which unfortunately coincided with the arrival of a cruise ship. The old town was completely full up and it was difficult to move around. I am sure it would be a wholly more enjoyable time without a cruise ship in town. I guess Kotor will end up that way too soon enough – it is destined to be the most visited tourist destination in Europe next year. Get there before it’s too late!

    Posted on December 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm #
  23. From Mia:

    sorry for all the comments regarding who bombed who and etc. we’re very sensitive about that matter…
    well, you’ve visited 3 states that reeeealy don’t like americans in 1 day, congrats :P just kiddin’ :)
    i like unorganised travels, but if you decide to come again some time, you should see some others, more representative parts of serbia, bosnia and croatia. all 3 are beautiful countries.
    a bus schedule….lol, very optimistic. and i can’t imagine how much money did you pay to those taxi drivers, they can get pretty nasty, even with local people, but american girls? it’s kind of funny xD
    and it’s “dobar dan”, not “dobra dan” :)
    hope you come again :)

    Posted on January 2, 2010 at 10:45 pm #
  24. From Denis:

    Lindsay,
    I am a Bosnian living in Australia for the past 10 years. good on you for showing interest in our part of the world and having enough courage to visit and see for yourself. don’t worry about mistakes you made in your article (about the history and who bombed whom)…we don’t even know ourselves what had happened and who is to blame. keep doing the great work and all the best for the future.

    Bosanceros from Australia

    ps. further above a guy by the name of Goran Filic made a comment as well. we grew up together in Vares, Bosnia and even though I haven’t seen him for a long time he is still one of my best friends and always will be.

    Posted on May 20, 2010 at 8:44 am #
  25. From Tom:

    Strongbow? Seriously? SMH.

    Posted on July 18, 2010 at 3:11 pm #
  26. From John:

    You can not say that Serbs are only guilty of everything that happened in Dubrovnik in other countries of ex Yu.Taj war, was caused by independence of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. For example, what would Britain do so, if Wales or Scotland declared independence? Certainly would lead discussions … As in Ireland … for example…

    Best,
    John
    South Africa

    Posted on July 29, 2010 at 6:18 pm #
  27. From John:

    Error … That war

    Posted on July 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm #
  28. From jasmina:

    I suggest you delete some of this posts….you’re only embarassing yourself….in CROATIA (which I come from) we speak CROATIAN, in Bosnia BOSNIAN, in Serbia SERBIAN…so, it has NOTHING TO DO with Russian(except some similarities in languages), we don’t speak Russian nor do we understand Russian language unless we have learned it in schools…there are so many things on this blog which are embarassing & wrong about Balkans that I cannot even start…please, oh please, inform yourself next time…

    peace & love

    ps:and no, we don’t consider all Americans stupid & full of prejudice (I’ve been working in tourism for many years & actually have some great friends in California…) but people like you are not helping by spreading wrong informations…I’m writing this while sipping pina colada in my glass…and boy oh boy, my English is not broken at all

    Posted on April 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm #
  29. From Lindsay:

    Again, Jasmina, you should probably reread the entry. I don’t say that Serbs and Croats speak Russian as their primary language, but that our taxi driver, an older man, spoke Russian, so we were able to communicate with him. In addition, the Slavic languages have many cognates, so we were able to understand a little of what was being spoken to us. So I’m not really sure what you are going off about.

    (And really, your English is not broken AT ALL? Sure, whatever you say)

    Posted on April 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm #
  30. From Nikolina:

    Shame on you my dear….We are the country that is not well-organised because of the politicians that are bad, bad and the worst!! However, in the war, we had (I’m from Trebinje so I’m talking about it) a veeery good man as a presidnet of the city. He helped two buses of croation and muslim mothers and their sons to safely pass trough Trebinje. No one was hurt. And today, when we are looking back at the history, we can see that everyone finds us(Serbs) guilty! We all know what WAR means. I lost my father in that bloody war but I never said that Serbs were only defenders and not attackers at all. In the war, you are only watching how to save your head, isn’t it??
    Trebinje is beautiful. We never tried to change our architecture because it’s a proof of the brave heros who gave their lives to save our nation…That’s our proud. The fact is that you couldn’t recognize that. And you couldn’t recognize that we have a lot of green places and gardens…Were in America you could find it? In Amazon-hah? Is there anything rest?
    I suppose you didn’t see anything of Trebinje. Yes, the truth is that our people isn’t very good with English or they don’t know it at all but that doesn’t make things worse.
    Oh…You couldn’t find what to eat? Well, yes…we don’t have plenty fast food restaurants as you do. Still we have restaurants where you could try our traditional plates, that’s much better than pizza or burger (not to say cheeseburger-we don’t have it:) )…
    At last…I’m not attacking you for being blind..Everyone sees the world trough his own eyes. But, those who still have a sense of how beautiful are history and nature, would never say the things you said about Trebinje…
    Greetings form the most beautiful small place on the Earth

    Posted on April 19, 2012 at 2:48 am #
  31. From Sonja:

    Hey Lindsay,
    Somehow I get the feeling you’re a bit too defensive about the comments. They’re just trying to defend whats their own and they are bringing out their opinion just the way you did with this blog. And the thing is, even today (year 2012 for God’s sake), we have narrow minded people here who are still fighting over who started the war who did this, who did that… Things which don’t really matter anymore, like that’s going to bring back the dead or help us find justice. But please, if we, who live here and have been trough all the hell don’t know the truth, what makes you feel competent to say anything on the matter? Oh and concerning the language, most of the older folks can speak Russian (because in Ex-Yu it was widely spoken) And us, the youth, speak English (maybe some of us worse then others but i think the majority could understand and would try to help out if they weren’t in a hurry). I am sorry if you felt “not so welcome” in Trebinje, its a real shame. Cheers!

    Posted on June 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm #
  32. From Ema:

    Hi Lindsay,

    I enjoyed reading your story and had a good laugh about some of the things you said as I know exactly what you mean. I was born in Trebinje and you are right it is a small sleepy town most of the year but I think the biggest problem is that YOU VISITED OUT OF SEASON :) Trebinje really comes alive during the summer months (actually between May – Sept.). This is when many people born in Trebinje and expelled during the war come back to spend the summer in their home town and often bring their friends from other countries with them. I am one of these, and my international friends can’t get enough of Trebinje! They keep coming back. We spend our days walking, hiking, fishing, swimming, enjoying the fresh organic food from the markets, sip long coffees at the many cafes in town (which is btw FULL of people during the summer months). We drive to Dubrovnik or another coastal town in Croatia and go for a swim during the day, and come back to enjoy the cafes and clubs of Trebinje during the lovely cool nights. So if you have a chance to do it again, or your friends to, tell them to visit during the summer and they will be sure to have a whole different experience. Greetings.

    Posted on July 25, 2012 at 1:19 am #
  33. From Ema:

    Furthermore, those living in any of these places in Bosnia or Montenegro should not feel offended or attacked if they don’t think Lindsey saw all the beautiful things their town has to offer. They should rather think, what can we do to make it easier for visitors to really see our town properly? Like signs, tourist info in English and bus timetables would be a good start. For now, tourists make sure you get a guide :)

    Posted on July 25, 2012 at 1:54 am #
  34. From Lindsay:

    Thanks, Ema :)

    Posted on August 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

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