For those who missed the photos here are some of our week in Croatia. It’s our first proper family holiday for years and quite possibly one of the last times we’ll be together before we all move on next year.
Croatia was gripped by a heatwave during our stay and we found ourselves making the trip to Mostar, officially the hottest city in Europe, on a day when it was 42 deg. Having been completely destroyed by the Yugoslav war in the early 1990s, with the lasting effects still evident in people’s minds, it’s remarkable to think that these 15th and 16th century streets, cobbles polished by the soles of visitors over the centuries, were completely restored from rubble with the help of UNESCO. Thus Dubrovnik and Mostar are optical illusions: life has been restored but under the surface the conflict mindset rages on.
What is there not to like about the Dalmatian coastline with steep cliffs on one side of the road and the sparkling Adriatic Sea on the other? Having gone there in 1980 on a coach trip with my parents, I remember the Cold War cat and mouse game between US and Russian warships in and out of Mediterranean ports. Given the world situation at the moment, it’s not too far beyond our comprehension.
I found the day trip to Mostar sobering. Bosnia is not in the EU and, with an unemployment rate of 46%, apparently, it is unlikely to be able to join in the near future. We were warned that border crossings between EU and non-EU states can take hours. I remember being held up in long queues during coach tours of Eastern Europe years ago. This is perhaps a taste of things to come for us, post-Brexit.
The beautiful old bridge at Mostar has been restored but there’s little money left, it would seem. Serbian Cyrillic is routinely scribbled out on roadsigns and, though pretty, the lack of EU orderliness, which I like, is apparent. I came across several stalls selling obviously counterfeit designer-branded goods such as sunglasses. Outside the EU, there is no protection against intellectual copyright infringement or for the consumer where governments have other priorities.
I liked Croatia and enjoyed it as much as I wouild any Mediterranean holiday, though I must say that I slightly prefer places with a familiar language such as Italy or France. We found it expensive though, suffering as we are from the GBP’s depreciation against the Euro.
I was a tad disappointed by some of the food choices, but this often happens on holiday, where a decent rapport qualité/prix is often hard to achieve. A couple of the hotel restaurants were good, if expensive, and the best meal in Dubrovnik itself was at the curiously-named Taj Mahal Bosnian restaurant, where I had the most divine chicken marinated in orange and lemon.
I hope you like my gallery. I’ve had a lot of trouble with the galleries I put on this blog. The layouts never seem to work properly and no-one can tell me why. Maybe one day the problem will fix itself.