Driving the Dalmatian

Day 15: 03/04/19
Location: Omisalj (AM), Starigrad (PM), Croatia,
Miles driven: 106
Natalie is fixed! Chris is brilliant. On the road we go again!

A gorgeous view as we sat and ate our lunch. The photo not showing the derelict holiday bungalows behind us.
The crystal clear Adriatic sea.

Day 17: 05/04/19
Location: Split, Croatia
Miles driven: 9
Not being able to find a campsite near to Split meant that we had spent the previous night in an AirBnB. It wasn’t exactly breaking the bank, at £11.42 a night, it was cheaper than all of the campsites we had so far stayed in. We drove into Split, walked around the city, soaked up the sights and explored the narrow alleyways of Diocletian’s Palace. We meandered up to the viewing points stopping mid way to have a reading break (aka to catch our breath back). During the afternoon, we took up the advice of our AirBnB host and walked to the beach, and then around further to what he had called the “most beautiful” beach. The word beautiful had to be taken with not just a pinch of salt, but a whole bucket full. Unlike the clear, bluer than blue sea we had spent much of our time in Croatia driving past, here rubbish and bubbling scum surfaced the murky waters. With it came a smell that was quite the opposite of beautiful. Nonetheless, we found an (odour free) spot in the sun, and read our books as the sun started to set.

Lunch sat on the marina wall, Split.
The sign said it was 314 steps to the top of the viewing point in Split – we both counted otherwise.

Day 18: 06/04/19
Location: Split (AM), Komin (PM), Croatia
Miles Driven: 80
Our sixth and final day in Croatia. We left Split and drove to a wild camping spot which was right at the end of a narrow peninsula in the River Neretva Delta. It was very picturesque, and we had a lovely lunch sat on the rocks watching the fishermen. Around the corner, about a mile or so away was a beach that (we had read) was popular with the locals, so we walked over to it for the afternoon. As with every other tourist destination we had visited in Croatia, it was a disappointment. We came to a small ‘beach’ (equal parts sand, grass, and rubbish) with a run down beach bar that may or may not be opening up for the summer season. Throughout our journey down the Croatian coastline, the brilliant blue sea and the small harbour towns built into the mountains had so much potential to be beautiful. However, random construction sites never finished, rubbish strewn everywhere except the bins, and derelict hotels/restaurants ruined its beauty. We kept questioning whether it was just because we had arrived at the wrong season, however with Easter not that many weeks away it was hard to conceive how these places would be converted into stunning tourist destinations in such little time. We had read, and been told, that this country would be beautiful, but we spent much of our time thinking how much more beautiful it would be if a bit more thought and care was put into it all. Unfortunately, Croatia had not quite lived up to the expectations that we had set for it.

Looking out from the end of the peninsula, Komin.
Wild camping spot, Komin.

Sun setting, we walked back to Natalie and made dinner. When wild camping, especially when in a country where we are not supposed to be doing it, we really try to be out of sight from others. During the day lots of people were coming and going to the end of the peninsula – probably to see the view we thought. As it got darker, the cars continued to drive past us, park up at the end, and then leave about 20 minutes later. Pitch black, they could no longer be looking at the view. Fishermen doing a bit of night fishing? Possibly. But after a while we wondered if the activities that these people were getting up to were not so innocent.

Day 19: 07/04/19
Location: Komin, Croatia (AM), Autocamp Blagaj, Bosnia & Herzegovina (PM)
Miles Driven: 38
Another day, another country ticked off our list. We had arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereafter BiH). Now out of the EU, the border crossing was still speedy, only slowed down by the fact that we needed to purchase car insurance before properly entering the country. Within minutes BiH was out-shining Croatia. It seemed to have a rustic (rather than abandoned) charm, and for the first time since leaving England, a driver who had right of way, let us go in front of them. If that wasn’t enough, several drivers gave a wave of thanks when I gave way to them. Madness. We arrived at our campsite to huge smiles and a wonderful welcome. After setting up the tent and the awning, we went to the bar for the included ‘welcome drink’. Enjoying the luxury of something that wasn’t water, we were only half way through when another round was brought over to us, along with a slice of cake, all “on the house”. Something told me we might quite enjoy this country.

Another glass? Oh go on then.

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