A Travellerspoint blog

Through Albania to Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

A quicker journey than expected!

Thursday 10th June

Woke up early to the sound of building works, so we left the campsite by 8.30am and headed for the Albanian border at the town of Muriquan. The road there was a small windy country road and near the border we had to pass through a seemingly very old tunnel, luckily high enough for us.


At the border we were expecting to pay a €10 fee, we had heard was payable entering and exiting Albania. When we arrived at the border post though we didn’t have to pay any fee, in fact we were actually filmed and interviewed by the Albanian tourist board! We set off for the Coastal town of Durres and found the Albanian roads ok, also for a while the traffic too was good. The first town we came to in Albania, we came into what seemed an area of poverty and took a wrong turn. This resulted in some people coming up to beg, as well as two small children grabbing hold and hanging off either window as we drove slowly trying to get them off. We then had to pass over an old seemingly rickety wooden bridge across the river!


It then became pretty much like driving in Morocco, with people overtaking everywhere and instead of two lane roads people really used them as three! Also at one point they were rebuilding a large stretch of dual carriageway and cars were travelling both directions on either side!


Albania wasn’t really anything special, it was pretty built up all along the roads and there seemed a lot of industrial areas. It very much had a feel similar to Morocco, but without the outstanding countryside.


We arrived in Durres by midday, this was supposed to be our halfway point and where we would have stayed the night. But the coastal town was very developed, full of high rises and as it was still early we made the decision there and then to continue our journey and complete Albania in one day. So we cut Eastwards into the country, this was when we finally hit the bad roads people had mentioned. The road was full of potholes and we began to wonder whether we would get to lake Ohrid, as our journey time was slowed down avoiding the holes. This though didn’t last long and we were soon back on a speedy road, having to overtake horse drawn carts while brand new 4x4’s overtook us.


We started heading into the hills, although again all along the road was built up. We reached the town of Elbasan which was a horrible industrial town, surrounded by factories disused and used.


Before we knew it we were heading up into the mountains towards the border with Macedonia.


All along this stretch we saw the remains of all the old concrete bunkers put up to guard Albania during the Hoha regime. Although at the time the people of Albania were told these were for Albania protection against the surrounding countries, they were actually pointed inward not outward, so to keep control of the country.


We passed through customs again not paying the 10 we were expecting, but only 2! We weren’t complaining though. We then entered the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, as they have to call themselves due to Greece seeming to have the rights to the name Macedonia! We drove down from the mountains onto the view of lake Ohrid. This is one of the oldest lakes in the world and is 20 miles long by 10 wide, it was a stunning view. The town of Ohrid was not anything to write home about, just modern and concrete, although there is an old town.


We set about asking around for a campsite and were informed all were closed bar one, so we set off to find it. When we arrived at the campsite near the town of Struga, we found it didn’t look very open but they let us in. Apparently the season doesn’t really begin till July, so all facilities there were closed. I was a little concerned about the signs on the office window, as they had some no handgun posters up! Still we didn’t fancy driving around today to find anything else, so we got ourselves a spot near the lake. We met two Dutch couples that had come especially to this campsite, as they had been told by the Macedonia Minister of tourism at a Holiday fare in Holland how wonderful the campsite was, they were very disappointed! Also the top of the campsite, with their so-called private beach, seemed to have people constantly wondering through. That night we didn’t get the best sleep, as there was constant noise.

Posted by marklorna 04:19 Archived in Albania Comments (1)

Through Monenegro

Not quite the place we had hoped!

Tuesday 8th June

Today the sun again was beating down, so we slowly arose and packed up. Today it was time for a new country, Montenegro. We had heard it was a beautiful country, so we headed off to the border. As we came through the Croatian post and headed across no-mans land to the Montenegro side, we passed a wondering single lone dairy cow! It would of made a great picture, but as we were at the border I thought it probably a bad idea to start taking photos! No official seemed to bother with the cow though, as it circled between the cars in front of the border crossing. At the border we were sold what was called ecology tax, that was 10 euros, but we were told it was mandatory! The border official then commended us for having the insurance green card for his country and stamped our passports, already this seemed a strange country.

We then drove off and into Montenegro, without really a clue where we were going. We headed off towards Kotor, around the fjord we had heard was beautiful.


Driving there though we found Montenegro very developed, in terms of a lot of housing and more seemed to be going up. This we would find throughout the country. The drive around the fjord was nice, but we passed through Kotor without really feeling the need to stop. We carried on to Budva and found more developments and a beach filled with sun loungers. So we continued on, becoming more disappointed with Montenegro. We then decided to head inland away from the sea to lake Skadarsko that borders Albania. This was a better drive, up into the mountains and through lovely countryside and views. We reached the lake and pulled over ready to go in search of somewhere to stay for the night. At that point an older guy pulled up, handing over a leaflet for his nearby restaurant. Saying we could also camp there if we needed somewhere to stay. We ended up heading towards his hotel, which we had to drive past to get to the village of Virpazar and the other side of the lake. But as we got to his hotel, well small restaurant, he was waving us over and told us to follow him down a track opposite and to somewhere we could park for free! I’m sure although free, he wanted us to eat in the restaurant. Anyway the track led past some foul bins and up to a strange bit overlooking the road and some marshland near the lake. We stopped down there a few minutes deciding on whether to stay, we weren’t too impressed with the position. But what really made us leave was the fact that the man had parked over on the road and seemed to be watching us. We decided we’d had enough and wanted to head back to the coast, as driving up the mountains we had seen what looked like a group of motorhomes by a big beach. First though we would have to get away from where we were and as soon as we started off down the track, the man moved from the road down to the track entrance. We had to make our excuses and drive off, this country seems weird. Heading back to the coast through the lovely mountains we passed a few tortoises trying to cross the road!

Turning up at the beach near the town of Petrovack, we found it was a campsite that the motorhomes were on and not what we had hoped was a free parking spot. I say campsite, but well it seemed a bit of land next to the beach that may have used to have been a campsite!


It had very run down buildings with no amenities. It looked like they may be doing the whole place up, but very very slowly. It was a great spot for a great campsite, but at present it was a place for us to stay after a long days driving. We found a spot on the far side of the so-called campsite, past a big group of Dutch motorhomer's staying there. But after a while when we were just about to start cooking we got a strange warning from a passing Dutch camper. He informed us that we would be best to park down the other end of the campsite. As where we were now parked, at night became a spot of activity for local men! I must admit at the time I laughed, as what he was saying and the whole situation seemed bizarre. After a while longer I decided to go and ask some other campers whether this end of the Campsite/car Park became a hive of activity at night. I was told yes, there were many coming and goings of men at night down this end, oor eerr missus! Well I didn’t really fancy trying to get some sleep with loads of people around us, so we decided to move to another spot. Later that night, we did indeed hear many cars and men walking past us down to the other end of the campsite.

Wednesday 9th June

Woke up early and the strange campsite manager, who couldn’t speak any English (but then again we couldn’t speak his language!), informed us we needed to move to another spot as the chief was coming. Well this is what he seemed to be saying, also he had already unplugged our electric cable! All the Dutch campers were now gone and apart from a couple of caravans the whole site was free, so why we needed to move was beyond us. Also we were going to have breakfast and head straight off anyway, but as the good citizens we are we moved to a different spot first. As soon as we had finished some toast we were off and away from this strange campsite.

We both were unsure how much of this country we could take, but decided to give it another go today. We headed off to the old town of Bar, Stari Bar, but had some fun when we got to Bar finding the old town. It was signposted, then not signposted, so we ended up driving around till we finally located it and somewhere to park. The old town was basically ruins, with some of the buildings being restored and a plan of it being a creative hub for the area. The town had been badly destroyed in earthquakes and it had also just been neglected. It was on a hill overlooking the sea and was an old walled town, like so many around here and Croatia, but as said it was basically the ruins of an old town with no–one living there.


After the tourist craziness of Dubrovnik, it was actually really nice to wonder alone around this old town.




After we had baked in the sun around the ruins we headed into the new town. To do some food shopping and Lorna also needed to head off by herself to shop, apparently for my birthday gift! I took the opportunity to relax outside in the sun at a bar watching the world go by, while sipping on a cold beer. I could only take this for a short time though, as the bar was playing Rick Astley’s greatest hits! So far we have noticed that Eastern Europe seem to love there eighties music, they have so much catching up to do music wise!

We had read that further down the coast near Ulcinj, there were lovely sandy beaches. We decided to head that way to find somewhere nice to stop. On entering the town we where latched onto by a man on a scooter offering us somewhere to stay by the sea! So off we went following him down some roads and then dusty tracks, till we eventually came to some small beach restaurant with a few motorhomes parked there. Again it was somewhere else that was in the process of being renovated! On the route here we had noticed this area was just one huge long sandy beach with little beach side restaurants/motels side by side, the whole stretch down. It wasn’t really what we were expecting and there was no point driving around finding somewhere else, as they were all pretty much exactly the same.


We decided we would stay here tonight and tomorrow morning head out of this country and into Albania.

Posted by marklorna 04:10 Archived in Montenegro Comments (0)

From Peljesac, peninsular to Dubrovnik, Croatia

The beautiful Peljesac and the howling dogs…

Saturday 5th June

Woke up to a lovely sunny and hot day, with thoughts of finding a lovely cheap beach campsite to relax on. While we making toast these plans took a turn for the worse, as the gas ran out! We didn’t have a spare full bottle as the other one we hadn’t been able to get refilled. Instead of heading back up the coast to Metkovic where we knew we could get this bottle refilled, we instead had the plan to head further up the peninsula (which is almost like an island in itself but has it’s end connected to the mainland!) to the larger town of Orebic to see if we could get it refilled there. I know already sounds like a daft plan, doesn’t it?

Well off we went along the road through the middle of Peljesac, which was beautiful, through vineyards and hills and up into mountains with glimpses of the sparkling sea. I can see why maybe people head to the Croatian islands, we had already seen that the further south we went the more beautiful Croatia was, but here it was stunning. Well anyway after a long and slow journey, due to being stuck on the narrow roads behind a lorry, we were at the garage we had been told might be able to refill the gas bottle. The bloke said he could fill it if we had the adaptor?… well of course we didn’t! Doh. So we asked if we could just buy a Croatian gas bottle, he said no, he only exchanged bottles and pointed us back halfway down the island where we could maybe buy one. So off we headed, happy in the fact that the weather was gorgeous and so was this bit of Croatia and we were sat driving around! At the other garage the friendly bloke told us, yes we could buy a Croatian gas bottle, but we wouldn’t want to, as they worked out to be about £50! At this point with time and fuel wasted we set off back down the peninsular, back onto the main island and headed north up the coast back to Metkovic. In the back of our minds hoping, as it was now Saturday afternoon and this place was part of the actual gas company works, they weren’t closed. We arrived though and successfully had our one gas bottle refilled, for a good cheap price. So then headed back down south and back to the peninsular to find a nice campsite. We had too drive back through the small part of Bosnia on the coast on the way up and were now, about one hour later, driving back down through it. Not surprisingly at the checkpoint we were asked a few questions about where we were going and then waved on.

Back on the beautiful peninsula we headed back up and to a campsite on the edge of a small town called Trpanj. We pulled up to a lovely bay with hills in the background and a semi wild and wonderfully spaced out campsite right on the edge of the bay. We settled down on a great spot overlooking the bay and set up camp.


No sooner as we had set up, when the older group of people, who I think had been enjoying the odd drink in the sun, called us over to join them for a drink. We duly accepted and started drinking local Croatian Rajki and chatting with the group from Germany and Austria. Lorna didn’t really like the taste of this homebrew brandy, but I found if you knock it back in one it wasn’t too bad, just warming! Well by the time we left to go and make some food as it had gone dark, they had poured me a fair few and I was probably a little tipsy! They had also told us in broken English about these wild mini wolves that live in the hills behind, we would hear in the night and not to leave our shoes outside or they might be gone! Well later that night we heard many strange childlike howling coming from the hills behind. Later we discovered that they were packs of Jackals that lived wild in the hills, but the howling they made although strange was captivating to listen to.

Monday 6th June

The sun was out and the weather hot, so we relaxed by the motorhome overlooking the bay. In the afternoon we managed to even get the kayaks out to have an adventure around the bay.


It was a great location and a great little campsite, but as it was a campsite and as such costing us money to stay we knew we would have to leave tomorrow.

Monday 7th June

Today we decided to leave our little lovely campsite right on the bay and head to Dubrovnik. The sun was out again and it was very hot, so we very slowly got ourselves packed up and left around midday. It was a shame to be leaving such a nice spot, but as nice as it was everyday was costing us. We drove back off the peninsula of Peljesac and headed back down Croatia’s coastal road, overlooking the sea and the many islands. The south of the country, from below Split, is very beautiful and the sea always looks so inviting.

We got to the old walled sea town of Dubrovnik and went in search of a campsite further south of the town. The one claiming to be in Dubrovnik was very expensive, yet about 6 kilometres down the road we knew there were cheaper options and we could always get public transport in. Driving past the town from the high road, we had a great view of the walled town on the sea and in the sun. After a few tries and a pretty unsuccessful stop at a supermarket, we found a small well-priced campsite called Kate. Run by a nice guy who is ecologically minded, meaning he does recycling among other things!

The sun was still blazing down, so we relaxed about and slowly got ready to head into Dubrovnik. We were told it was better later in the day and at night, as the cruise ships had all gone by then. We eventually got ourselves going and hopped on the bus into town. The bus doesn’t go straight to the old town mind and we got off a bit to far down , so had to find our way back to the old town. The rest of the town is built on the hill surrounding the old walled area and until we got down to the old towns level, we couldn’t actually see it! While wondering around we met a local lady who was walking home with her shopping. She spoke a small bit of English, apparently from her elementary school days, and informed us of the way.

We soon arrived at the walls of the old city and passed in through the Pile gate, to be greeted by a long wide marbled street running through the centre ending at a clock tower on the other side.


No sooner had we walked in mind we had people touting us to come and eat at their restaurant. The old town is full of small and street side restaurants and everywhere we walked we had people asking us to come and sit and eat, it makes walking around the old streets annoying! Still the old town is beautiful to amble around, through the narrow side streets into squares and over to the small port. I think though we were becoming rather too blasé about places. As we have now seen so many wonderful and beautiful old towns on our journey, I don’t think they have the same awe about them that knocks you back. Don’t get me wrong we still think they are beautiful and it’s a pleasure walking around them especially Dubrovnik.


Maybe it’s because they are not really living towns, they are just tourist shells, full of tourist shops selling the same stuff. There are no little surprises of places, or maybe we were just tired and hungry so not appreciating it fully. On that note we went and found somewhere to eat and have a beer. After we had a pleasant walk around the city and harbour at night, something we wanted to do in a few cities and towns but hardly have.


Posted by marklorna 04:04 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

From Croatia’s coast through Bosnia & Herzegovina and back.

A thought provoking and friendly journey through Bosnia via Mostar, Sarajevo and Jajce.

Monday 31st May

Today we were heading into Bosnia & Herzegovina, a country we wanted to have a look around. We wouldn’t be going off any beaten track walking mind, as this country still has many un-cleared landmines. In fact we would in the next few days see many landmine clearing land rovers roaming around. Before entering though we stopped at a gas station near the border, as we had been told that they could refill our gas bottles. No such luck, the Repsol bottle that was empty they couldn’t do. But he would be able to do the other one, only problem was it wasn’t empty as yet! We entered Bosnia & Herzegovina via the border point near Metkovic and were slightly disappointed not to get our passports stamped!

Our first point of call was going to be Mostar to see the famous bridge, that has been rebuilt since it’s destruction in the war. We headed north and past many old war damaged houses and bullet-ridden homes, something we would continue to see through out this country. But life seemed to still go on, after such recent terrible times they have been through. This country is and always has been a mixed ethnic and religious place stooped in history. The country though, since the war and the Dayton agreement has been split into different area’s depending on their ethnic background, i.e. Bosnian Serb (North and West) or Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim (rest of the country).

As we came closer to Mostar the rain started, there were no campsites in Mostar itself so we headed down the road to the village of Blagaj and to a campsite called Camp Wimbledon, complete with tennis courts! After the rain ceased we took a walk down into the village and to the site of a Dervish Monastery. This was an old building perched under a cliff, where the Buna river gushes out of a cave.


It is still a retreat for Dervishes, so when we went upstairs our shoes had to be taken off and Lorna had to cover her hair with a scarf. It was a beautiful situation for a place of contemplation, also the countryside around and what we had seen so far was lovely and green. On the walk back to the campsite the rain came heavily down, so the rest of the day was spent inside.

Tuesday 1st June

With the weather a bit more settled, today we left the campsite and drove into Mostar to find some parking. Arriving we found that parking was a big problem, but after a drive around we did find a car park right next too the old town. Parking up we then found the price was very high per hour, but with not really any other options we stayed and headed into the old town. Due to our concern with the price per hour, our Mostar trip was pretty rushed but still well worthwhile. Entering the old town and walking through the cobbled streets of the old Ottoman quarter, was like entering another time and world.


We then came onto and crossed the famous Stari Most (Old bridge), although of course this like the old town has been rebuilt since the war.



We wandered the other side down small cobbled streets lined with cafes and stalls selling copper items, as the area is famous for copper smithing.

Coming out of the cobbled streets onto a main street, was where the realities of the war hit. Most of the shops and houses bore the scars of warfare, including a concrete block of a theatre strewn with bullet holes. In front of this place was a large telling graveyard, full of headstones that shared the same date of death for the years between 1992 and 1995.


We decided to head to the museum to learn more, a strange place run by a strange but friendly character who took us in and sat us down in front of a large screen. We watched a short film showing how Mostar used to be, with young lads competing in diving off the bridge and into the 5 metre deep waters below. The film then turned to the war and the destruction of the city and the bridge. It showed people still carrying on their daily lives amongst the rubble of the old town. It was a very poignant short film and certainly made you slightly aware of what they had gone through. The film finished with the rebuilding and grand opening of the new bridge, through a fan fare of fireworks. After a short look around the rest of the museum we thanked the curator and left.



After a further walk around Mostar and up the former front line of the town we paid our high parking fee and got back on the road.


We continued north through lovely countryside to Sarajevo, our next destination. Outside of the main city we found a campsite called Oaza in the Ilidza district, near the tramline to the city centre. On arriving it was raining again and as it was later in the day we decided to leave the city visit till tomorrow.

Wednesday 2nd June

Walked off down to the tram station, bought our tickets and hoped on the rattley old tram. Before long we are coming into Sarajevo, a city maybe going to be remembered for that long siege. The tramline we were on actually headed down what was known as sniper alley. Past the famous yellow Holiday Inn, where the foreign journalists stayed during the war. There are new buildings next to large burnt out shells of buildings and as we have seen so much before already, many many bullet holes. This road was where the Serb artillery up in the surrounding hills fired at will down on anything that moved.


We got off the tram at Bascarsija, the old Turkish quarter containing cobbled streets filled with lovely Turkish buildings and the bazaar.



This is a wonderful place to wonder around and through out most of the day we kept heading back here. Today though the rain kept coming down, so it was not the most fun for sightseeing! But still we wondered all around the city centre taking in the beautiful old buildings next to bullet-ridden places. After a small bite to eat and a drink we decided our legs had had enough walking around and besides which we just keep getting wet. We hoped back on the tram and headed back to the campsite.

Thursday 3rd June

This morning we left the campsite and headed for the Sarajevo tunnel museum eager, after yesterday’s city visit and with only a slight confused knowledge we had of the whole situation, to learn more about the history of the siege and what people went through. We seemed to have certainly come to the right place, as this was the tunnel that saved Sarajevo. The bullet-ridden house that houses the one entrance to the tunnel is on the one side of Sarajevo airfield, the city centre being on the other.


We entered the museum and went round to the back, where there was a group watching a film about the tunnel. The film shows the building of the tunnel while artillery fire goes on overhead and then people transporting food and soldiers to and fro. It then goes on to show the day to day lives of people in the city being bombarded, people dodge gunfire to pass the street and over to another buildings. Also a shot is taken of someone driving very fast down sniper alley to get to another part of the city, extremely scary stuff. The whole film is very very thought provoking and makes you realise how bad it must have been to live through the daily and hourly bombardment. The tunnel that saved the city was only 880 yards in length and the average width and height no more than four and a half feet, reaching below the airport and into the city. A small rail line was constructed to enable the better movement of supplies, before eventually telephone cables and an oil pipeline was fed through. The whole tunnel was built by hand, but to understand the great significance of it we need to know why.


Luckily for us at the end of the film a big Dutch group of tourists who were there got, in English, a spoken history by a Bosnian and we were told we could stay to listen. So I will try and briefly sum up what was said and hopefully not get too much incorrect.

With the death of Tito, Yugoslavia began to fall apart with most countries in turn wanting to break away and be independent. At the time Slobodan Milosevic, leader of Serbia, controlled the Yugoslavian army and this army was mostly made up of Serbs. For years in Yugoslavia and Bosnia in particular, people had lived happily side-by-side and were a mix of different religions and Ethnic groups, without anyone having any problem with each other. Mr Milosevic, when Yugoslavia was on the decline, started stirring up ethnic hatred and decided he wanted to expand the size of Serbia and basically make up a Serb only nation. As he was in control of the former Yugoslavian army he started attacking Bosnia & Hertz, who had no army of their own. He concentrated his efforts in 1991/2 to Sarajevo, thinking if he could take the capital city he would in turn take the country. They surrounded the city and bombarded it day and night. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb Commander is reported to have said “Shoot at slow intervals until I order you to stop. Shell them until they can’t sleep, don’t stop until they are on the edge of madness”. They cut off all electricity, gas and water supplies to the city as well as the phone lines! Many people fled the city, but many people stayed not wanting to give up their city and thus give up their country. The UN managed to broker a deal to keep open the airport for humanitarian aid purposes, although no Bosnians were allowed in. Also what the UN sent was apparently out of date small food supplies and to rub salt into the wounds vaccinations for Malaria that they didn’t have in Sarajevo! Many people were killed trying to cross the airfield at night to bring in supplies, until they came up with the idea of a tunnel under the airport. This would link the city with the Bosnian free side on the other side. The small Bosnian army had secured the other side, so safe passage could me made into the Bosnian hills and country to bring in supplies and arms. The siege continued in this way for four years with the deaths of many innocent civilians and the people of the city surviving on very little and under continuous gunfire. Eventually NATO and the west decided to act and within a month had bombed Serb artillery points around the city, ending the siege and the war. Leaving Bosnian’s and many people to think why did the west and NATO not take action before then? And how many lives could have been saved?


After the talk, we took a walk down into the remaining tunnel and viewed the rest of the museum. Now enlightened to the story of Sarajevo and after seeing the city yesterday, it was amazing how everything has been built back up and that it seems such a lively and friendly city. When we left we thanked the curator and spoke with him briefly, he told us that the Bosnians have a saying that “Anything is possible”.


We headed out of Sarajevo, with many thoughts passing through our minds and out into the countryside towards the town of Jajce.


We stopped on the way in the town of Travnik and had a look around the old ruined Stari bar (old town).



We then continued on to Jajce and a campsite on the outskirts, by the lakes called Plivsco. We pulled up in the campsite onto the grass and as it had been raining a while, proceeded to get well and truly stuck! After much wheel spinning in the mud, we managed to gain the help of some lads playing tennis as well as the guy on reception. We got Hymer out of the mud through sheer brute strength. Then decided we would just park up for the night on the concrete track! Later that evening I ended up watching the Bosnian v Germany game with the lad from reception, while he kept giving me wine and local rajki. The night ended up with me getting my guitar and both of us playing, that is until the night watch man came on duty and he headed home.


Friday 4th June

Took a walk around the lakes




and found some very odd little huts! I have no idea what they were used for?


We then headed off through the Bosnian beautiful and green countryside, back towards Croatia.


We were aiming for the peninsula above Dubrovnik called Peljesac. We ended up making a few wrong turns when we were back in Croatia, but eventually made it back to the coastal road. It was heading south near the peninsula that we then had to cross back into Bosnia, as they have a very small part of the coastline, well one town really called Neum! It was strange no sooner had we passed the checkpoint in we were passing it going back out. By the time we reached the peninsular it was getting dark, so we headed for the first campsite on the coast near the town of Ston.

Posted by marklorna 03:44 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Tagged automotive Comments (0)

South Slovenia to Split, Croatia, via the Plitvicka lakes

It’s all about the water!

Monday 24th May

Woke up in our field and with the bikes, set off to find this hill of blooming flowers. She had given us directions and told us it was 6km down the road, but it felt like double that as we were constantly biking uphill. Still it meant it would be downhill all the way back! We eventually found the path and took a walk up onto the hillside in the sun, to see the flowers and the surrounding hills.




Back at the motorhome, we decided it was time to say goodbye to the small but beautiful country of Slovenia and head into Croatia. During the journey we had planned to post some postcards, but before we knew it we were at the Croatian border! We were leaving the EU for the first time since Morocco, so got our passports stamped again. Straight after the border we found a Croatian post office. Where I explained about our Slovenian postcards and stamps, to be told just to drop them in the post-box! So I hope the people we sent them to did get them?

Croatia at first was not too different from Slovenia apart from more houses and faster drivers. We came down to the coast and the large industrial city of Rijeka, so we headed quickly past and down onto the coastal road. The road was very narrow with houses either side and we wondered whether we had actually taken the right road, but before long it came out on the coast. Croatia seems very built up, not like Spain with many high-rise apartments etc, just lots and lots of houses.

Armed with a campsite map from a tourist office we passed, we headed off to find one to stay at. We stopped at a few along the way, that were actually open, till we found one we actually liked the look and the price of. I think it was called Ujca, just past the town of Senj. It was a lovely small site with it’s own private bay and pebble beach. The only problem was to get into it we needed to go through a tunnel, under the road. With the measurements of the tunnel, retrieved from the campsite owners, it would in theory be possible. So we began and just managed slowly to squeeze ourselves through, with the kayaks a couple of times scrapping the top! We then set about the task of deciding on a spot to park up in. This is always more difficult than it seems, especially at the end of a long day with people watching you! Still we finally decided on one and settled for the night.


Tuesday 25th May

Woke up overlooking a small bay and a very calm sea, on a gloriously sunny day. Life is so hard on the road! The sea was in fact so calm it looked like a lake, this is no doubt due to the surrounding islands though. As the sun was out and the campsite was relatively cheap, we decided on staying another night and enjoying the day. The campsite was basic but charming and seemed to have most of the family living there. They were still also doing some maintenance work before the season really kicked off, so a cement mixer was on the go for most of the day. I decided to head off on my bike to the nearest village to get some supplies, the ride was lovely along the cliffs overlooking the sea.


In the afternoon we got the kayaks out on the sea to investigate the coast, it was great. We also met Greta from Austria, who has travelled all around the world and visited many inspiring places. After a bbq that evening, we headed over to chat with Greta and Gunter. We had a great chat with them over a good few glasses of Austrian red wine. I think Greta’s solo travelling adventures really inspired Lorna.

Wednesday 26th May

Woke up with major hangovers! After exchanging contact details with Greta, we said our goodbyes. Hopefully if we visit Vienna we can meet back up with them both. Before attempting the tunnel again, we decided it would be better to go through with out the kayaks on the roof! So with the tunnel done and the kayaks back on the roof, we hit the road again.

Today we were heading inland towards the Bosnian border and the world heritage site of the Plitvicka lakes. At this point, TomTom decided to give up the ghost again and wouldn’t charge, so back too the maps. We continued on through the countryside and hills, occasionally passing some bullet ridden old homes. We were in an area that would of suffered during the war, in fact there were a lot of abandoned homes and a lot of very new ones.

We reached the lakes and then had the choice of three campsites in the area. After a look around them all, we opted for a fairly large one in the woods and then the problem came of finding a space! Most of the site was uneven and a lot of people were already staying, this made finding a suitable spot hard. Eventually we did though and settled down for what left of the day.

Thursday 27th May

Up early, to get off this expensive campsite and down to see the lakes. Now campers can sometimes be a strange breed! A lot of the time a majority don’t seem to have any patience or are suddenly overcome by the need to be the first one in, to find a spot or the first one out, no matter what cost! We experienced this today first hand. As we were leaving we needed to empty our toilet, so drove around to the designated area and joined a short queue. When we got there and I went to empty our toilet, the motorhome and caravan behind us decided they couldn’t wait and came to empty theirs, as I was doing mine. They didn’t seem to care! I on the other hand did and thought it was a bit rude. I don’t particularly want to be right next to others emptying their toilets, it just seems wrong. Anyway, while I’m moaning I also want to point out another thing that bugs us. People should really be more careful when they come to swill out their toilets. Hoses do not need to be stuck down into the toilet nozzle, you can pour water into it from above. It doesn’t seem very hygienic really and other people will use the same hose to put into their clean water tanks! I don’t know call me prudent, but people seem to have a blatant disregard for others.
Anyway after that, we had fun at the campground exit! As this seemed to be every camper for themselves, in a rush to leave. No one seemed to want to wait, people were driving around each other in a hurry to get out and almost running Lorna down in the process! There is no need for it, what is the obsession? Will waiting a couple of minutes really set your whole day askew? Patience seems a virtue held by few.

Still we got out unscathed and headed for the lakes. We had been told they were very special and we hoped they would be. As with the entrance fee and the ridicules parking prices, it would not be cheap. With the sun out though we were not in the slightest bit disappointed.


It was a huge park filled with turquoise blue lakes and pools, connected by many many waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, truly stunning. There was a lovely wooden footpath all the way round, in some places going right over the falls.



You could stand on the wooden platform and see the water gushing through the slats, to down below.


There were clear pools and waterfalls galore.







By the end though we were waterfall-ed out, but it was an amazing place to visit.

After we headed back to the coast, towards Zadar and ended up in a convoy of 3 other motorhomes. We were again driving through areas affected from the war, as there were ruined buildings and many roadside graves. We also passed by an area that still had land mine signs up, a stark reminder of the recent war and the scars it has left. Landmines are such a terrible weapon of war, they harm so many innocent victims and take years and years to clear areas. Also I believe these types of weapons are still being manufactured by arms companies, seems people will never learn.

Anyway at Zadar we rejoined the coastal road, heading south in search of a campsite for the night. There are many many options for camping along the coast in Croatia, with campgrounds and what are known as mini camps. Now the mini camps, or what they are often signed as auto camps, are small and are literally in someone’s back garden! They do range in size and price, from tiny areas crammed with caravans to slightly larger area’s crammed with caravans! Some though do have more room and we managed to find a nice relatively cheap one, with space right on the sea front. On another note, Croatia isn’t really what we were expecting it to be somehow. The coastal waters are lovely and clear, but so far it has reminded me of Spain.

Friday 28th May

Left the small mini camp and headed further south on the coastal road, stopping in Split for a look around. We found some parking by the football stadium and walked into the city centre, through some concrete block housing.


Down at the sea front we found the walled town and stepped in to take a look. This is the old city, when you walk in you are confronted by a mix of Roman ruins and old Croatian buildings living happily side-by-side. It is a lovely but strange mix, with Roman pillars next to churches and shops.


After a good wonder around we headed back to the motorhome and continued our drive south, in search of another campsite. This is our only problem in Croatia, as you can’t free camp we have the continual cost of campgrounds! We ended up finding a lovely terraced campsite overlooking the sea, called Camp Serena and parked up for the rest of the day and night.

Saturday 29th May


Spent the day at the campsite relaxing by the sea and taking the kayaks out around the coast.


Sunday 30th May

Carried on further down the coast, the more south we seem to get from Split the nicer the Croatian coast is becoming. We stopped near Gradac at a large but basic campsite, right on the coast and it was also a good price. After a chat about Spurs (football team!) with the owner, they love Spurs in Croatia as we have a lot of Croatian players, we settled ourselves away from the other campers and practically had a small pebble beach to ourselves.



Posted by marklorna 03:32 Archived in Croatia Tagged automotive Comments (0)

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