Heading through the thunderstorm that caught us on the border (in high season expect long queues) we managed to get a clear window for taking some photographs. Our bus driver the road through Stolac and Neum in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Thanks do this we had a chance of admiring the Adriatic Sea through the windows. Quick tip - when travelling from Dubrovnik and down the coast line to Montenegro and Albania by bus the best views will be when you sit on the right. I know how this may sound but on the left you'll have mostly rocks and it's really worth it if you fancy picturesque vistas. Having stopped in the central bus station in Dubrovnik we were to explore what ended up being an exclusive trip.
Mostar has a unique atmosphere. War reminiscence mix with European vibe. Is it due to the tourists pouring the main streets in high season or due to the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition that was happening on the day that we arrived? Anyway, it does not really matter. Narrow streets and buildings tucked here and there make this over 560 years old city a gem. Most will know Mostar by it's famous bridge (Stari Most) which has been destroyed during civil war in 1993 and painstakingly rebuilt thanks to UNESCO funds and opened again in 2004. We were yet to discover a bit more during our short stay that this city has to offer.
I always liked car chases. Whether James Bond like, Die Hard or others. I never thought that I will feel like in one of them on my way to Sarajevo. The route from Belgrade to Bosnia & Hercegovina's capital pumped my adrenaline to a new level. All thanks to our minivan driver who was in a hurry going through the never-ending twists and turns of Bosnian hill roads.
A thousand a day, four million in few years. The only safe heaven giving just a glimpse of chance of getting to the European Union thought to be the ultimate goal. First came those from the higher and middle class. Now the poorest and most desperate will arrive - having nothing more to loose. This scenario is happening when you watch the news. Often it seems to be so far away that you don't see the true dimension or scale of it all. Syrian (and not only) people are fleeing their country to escape mass murder from the government and ISIS - often on religious background.
We've took off in Warsaw and landed safely with Air Serbia with some complimentary snack on board of their Airbus A320. Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport has welcomed us with heat similar as in Poland's capital (37-40 C) - that was darn hot.
Balkan Experience 2015 is starting in a few days and I am thrilled, counting the hours, to get on track and start exploring. First we fly Air Serbia to Belgrade and then go South-West to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and then South-East to Montenegro, Albania. From Albania we go back to Belgrade via train from Podgorica. On the way we'll be using various transportation - autostop included. A backpacking journey lasting fourteen days through countries that encompass half of all Balkan nations. Crossing religions, beliefs, different versions of history and influences. We hope to meet new friends, explore cultures and taste some good cuisine.
Read more on our plans here. You can keep track of how are we doing by searching for #balkans2015 hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. See you in a fortnight!