In August 2015 we set off for a two month trip to the Balkans. We had previously visited Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro in 2006 and Macedonia in 2009 but this trip wanted to visit Albania, Kosova and Serbia as well. Our daughter Ally had also expressed a wish to come out to join us and spend her birthday in Dubrovnik.
Drove through Germany visiting Tubingen and the Erwin Hymer Museum at Bad Waldsee before heading to Vaduz, the capitol of Liechtenstein.
Spent two nights at Alpencamp am Wank, Garmisch-Parkenkirchen, visited the Zugspitz, and continued onto St Gilgan and Wolfgangsee in Austria. We then headed through Italy and into Croatia.
Spent four nights at Camping Bor on the island of Krk, a lovely campsite with full facilities, close to the beach.
Parked overnight at Autokamp Skver, Senj, before heading to Nin. Historically important as a centre of a medieval Christian Bishopric,
Nin is located on an islet on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, surrounded by natural sandy beaches and linked with the mainland by two stone bridges built in the 16th century.
Visited the walled port of Zadar, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia, before driving to the airport to collect Ally. We parked overnight on the airport car park and then headed to Trogir.
Diocletian's Palace was built for the Roman Emperor at the turn of the fourth century AD. Today it forms about half of the old town of Split. Although it is described as a "palace" because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the term can be misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress. About half of it was for Diocletian's personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.
On our way to Dubrovnik we detoured to visit the fortress at Klis. Ally was keen to see it as it was used as a film location in the Game of Thrones. Also visited the walls at Ston, built to protect the precious salt pans that contributed to Dubrovnik's wealth, and the Arboretum at Treston.
Spent the next few days at Camping Solitude, Dubrovnik. Wandered the city, viewing the sights, walked the walls and took the ferry out to Lokrum Island.
According to legend, Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked in 1192 after returning home from the crusades and was cast ashore on the island. A Benedictine abbey and monastery was built in 1023, and in 1959 a Botanical Garden was founded which contains native and imported, tropical and subtropical plants, and other vegetation originating from Australia and South America. The island is also inhabited by families of peacocks brought over by Maximilian from the Canary Islands.
Drove along the coast road to Montenegro, absolutely magnificent scenery but few places to stop and take photos! Stayed overnight at Camping Loven, Tival. Next day, took a boat trip from Kotor on the "Boat Ankiea", visiting the Lady of the Rocks and Perast. Returned to Dubrovnik in time for Ally's birthday.
Drove inland to Bosnia to see the old town of Mostar with its famous bridge and Turkish quarter. Stayed overnight at Camp Mali, Wimbledon, Blagaj. Next day visited the Dervish House on the River Buna.
Camping Oaza was our base for Sarajevo.
Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have an electric tram network. It was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria that sparked World War I. In 1984, Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics.
During the Bosnian War, for 1,425 days, from April 1992 to February 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. An underground tunnel, the Tunnel of Hope, linking the city with Bosnian-held territory on the other side of the Sarajevo Airport was constructed, allowing food, war supplies, and humanitarian aid to come into the city, and allowing people to get out. When the siege ended, the concrete scars caused by mortar shells were filled with red resin, creating a floral pattern called the Sarajevo Rose.
Since our last visit to Sarajevo in 2009, the city has undergone massive reconstruction.
Returned to Croatia and headed to Krka National Park. Stayed two nights at Auto Camp Krka, Lozovac. A lovely campsite with friendly staff and a restaurant serving local food. Rather than driving through the national park we decided to take the minibus tour organised by the campsite. A sound choice, after the included lunch with local wine and liquors, driving would not have been a sensible option!
Our previous visit to Plitvice Lakes National park had been blessed with beautiful weather and the colours of the lakes were stunning. This time we had rain, it was cold and unpleasant and the views were not so good. Despite this, Plitvice is a magical place. Stayed two nights at Auto Camp Korona.
Spent the next two days exploring Split and Nin before heading to Zadar Airport for Ally's flight home.
The next few days were spent relaxing on the beach. We then embarked on a leisurely three and a half week return journey home, taking us through Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Italy and France.
Deviated en route to visit Monte Carlo. Motorhomes not welcome there and we were turned back by police! Took a photo from a vantage point and then tried again, this time successfully driving through the town, passing the harbour and catching quick glimpses of the cars and yachts belonging to the rich and famous.
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