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Potential trip - Balkans

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OK, putting this out there to garner the expertise of the Fodorite community....

Last year my sister and I went to Argentina and Chile and had a wonderful time, thanks in no small part to the wonderful "folks" (I just gave away my age, didn't I??) here on the Fodor's forum. My sister is angling for another trip this year, however I have to juggle my entire family's needs. So, if I can come up with an interesting enough, and reasonably priced enough, trip then who knows..perhaps another trip with my sis is in the cards.

We live in Canada and like to go to places that have a different character (we've been to Havana and Sicily as well) than what we see here in North America and experiencing things that are slightly off the regular tourist track. We like meeting people, exploring local regions, understanding recent history, experiencing different cultures, enjoying local food/drink, lovely scenery, etc. We generally like to experience a couple of places, staying for at least a few days, often in an apartment, rather than moving daily. If we did a trip it would likely be for about 11 or 12 days, excluding travel from Canada, and would preferably take place in April or May and would likely revolve around using public transportation, rather than using a rental car. (We would consider renting a car for a few days, though, if situation was right.)

My first idea was a trip to Albania, as I had just read a recent article on that interesting country. It's definitely off the tourist track, and I suspect we would hire a driver to drive us to a couple of places. However, I subsequently stumbled across a reference to Sarajevo and my heart was turned. A few years ago I read the Cellist of Sarajevo. I loved that story and my heart was forever broken for the people of that city.

So, my thoughts are that we could organize a trip around the following region ...Sarajevo, Mostar and the Dalmation coast. I could see us staying in Sarajevo for a few nights, take the train to Mostar and have an overnight stay there, and then continue to the Croatian coast. I love the idea of Korcula, but the bus routes from Mostar seem more aligned to either Dubrovnik and Split. On the surface, I have a gut feeling that we would be more interested in Split, as Dubrovnik seems even more touristy than Split.

I would appreciate ideas, particularly in light of the fact that we would have to arrange flights into and out of the region. A major city in the region (Zagreb? Belgrade? Budapest? Llubjana?) might make an interesting entry or exit point, but I wouldn't want to spend too much of our precious travel time traveling back and/or forth too much.

Also, if we end up going to the Dalmation coast, particularly in the northern half, the weather in late April/early May looks a bit rainy. Has anyone been in the mid-north Dalmation coast region at that time of year?

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!!

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