Former Yugoslavia: the journey so far

I’m sitting in a cafè in the old Port of Dubrovnik, sipping my cappuccino. Now that I have a few minutes – it’s been a packed schedule – thought I’d update you on the journey so far.
The tour

Our tour guide is Osman, nicknamed Ocky, and he is very good. His English is excellent, although he uses some interesting turns of phrase that are just charming, for example, agriculturing, communistic, vineyarding, comfortable stop. I’m making notes and will post the full list at the end of the tour, because it is so delightful.

There are a lot of Aussies on the tour, which is wonderful. Although not so wonderful – but fascinating – are the “odd bods” that make up some of the group dynamics:

A South African lady (we thought she was from Egypt because she is has an Egyptian visa – so we call her the Egyptian) who “smokes” a nicotine cigarette and asks the nearest person to take a picture of her in every spot. She makes no attempt to engage anyone in conversation other than the photo request.

A “thalidomide baby” man and his wife, who are Irish. He constantly talks about or reminds people of his condition (he has no arms) and I am of the opinion that this is his complete identity. I know nothing about the wife, because he dominates any conversation.

An Alaskan woman who I am convinced has either Autism or Asperger’s. She seems to have limited social skills, and seems a bit OCD. She asks the guide the same questions all the time. She is always either eating, or complaining.

A German woman who is a self-declared man-hater, but who has proceeded to engage conversationally with practically every man on the tour. So not so much of a man-hater, it would seem.

A female engineer from America who is just plain rude. I gave up trying to talk to her on the first day because conversation was impossible. Asking her a question – called conversation starters – involved her retorting in one word answers. Now I just avoid her because she is so unpleasant, even though she seems to be making more of an effort (thawed?) now.

Postojna Cave

We visited this cave system on the way to Zadar. To enter and exit the cave, we had to take a 2.5km ride by train, and then it’s a 2km walk through the cave system. It was just stunning, and my pics won’t do it justice. Apparently they are expecting their 35,000,000 visitor this year since opening in the late 1800s.


We stopped here overnight, and it was a lovely city. It’s situated on the coast and is oozing Roman history, complete with a forum, piazza, old town and round church. It has a gorgeous boardwalk, which plays which plays the sounds of the sea. I am not kidding: there are a series of pipes built in the boardwalk, which pushes air through these pipes as the water ebbs and flows. It was beautiful.


Split was lovely, but busy. We toured Dicletian’s palace, which was hosting a flower exhibition (Euro Flowers) and spent some time wandering around the old town, with its restaurant area facing the sea, and adjacent market. The market was selling all manner of things from cheese, meat and fish to lavender, wine and souvenirs. Split reminded me of Nice, in France.

The last time I was in Dubrovnik (Holland America port stop) I was disappointed. This year, I like it much better. There are still a gazillion cruise ships (apparently for every passenger, the city receives €5), but the guided tour was much better. We went through the Director’s Palace, and was shown the Old Port (where I sitting now) and I’m off to a winery this afternoon.

The coast

The coastal drive has just been spectacularly stunning. At times it reminded me of Italy, Greece and Asia. Cliffs and mountains meet the sea, which is dotted with islands, big and small. It’s quieter now because summer has all but moved into autumn and the kids are back at school (the school year starts at the beginning of September) but you can see why this area is called the Croatian Riviera. Saying that it is beautiful just doesn’t do it justice.

Please share!


  • BookabyeBaby September 10, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    I was born in the former Yugoslavia, but I don’t think you’re headed near my old town this trip, which is in Serbia.

    I absolutely love your descriptions of people on the tour (as well as your descriptions of the places, of course) 🙂

    • dileeshus September 12, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      I did not know that! We went into Bosnia and Hercegovina, but not Serbia. Not sure why…!

  • I’m saying no to taking your photo | The Travelling Homebody October 16, 2013 at 12:01 AM

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