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Trip Report Trip Report -- Overland Bosnia via Dubrovnik, Montenegro and Albania to Macedonia

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Photos http://tinyurl.com/p4jcb

I have provided my itinerary, with some public transport information, but I have not listed all the sites I visited since those are better seen in the photos.

Friday, August 25: flew Czech Air from Newark to Prague

Saturday, August 26: I had been to Prague before, but since I had an 11 hour layover before my connecting flight to Sarajevo, I went into the city (took airport bus to metro, and then went one stop to castle, and from there walked to old town, and late in day took metro and bus back to airport). Flight to Sarajevo was two hours. I stayed at Guest House Halvat, recommended in Lonely Planet -- great location, excellent rooms, very nice people, and I recommend it, too.

Sunday, August 27: spent day in Sarajevo

Monday, August 28: caught the 6:25 am train to Mostar; incredibly scenic train journey, and arrive in Mostar around 9:00 am. Spent day in area around bridge. I stayed at Hotel Bristol (original hotel was built in 1904, but since destroyed and re-built, and I would not stay there again -- characterless and no hot water)

Tuesday, August 29: 7:00 am bus to Dubrovnik, arriving around 10:00. Took Tram 1A to Pile Gate, and walked to Hotel Stari Grad (excellent hotel). There are two hotels in the old town, Stari Grad and Pucic Palace, but I was told by friends that Pucic Palace is located on a very busy market square, while Stari Grad is located on a quiet street -- also, Pucic is around 3x cost of Stari Grad, and its not 3x as nice. Spent day in Dubrovnik, but its very, very crowded, and was only pleasant late at night and early morning. I spent most of mid-day, when the streets were mobbed, walking the walls or sitting at a bar on the Adriatic.

Wednesday, August 30: spent day in Dubrovnik

Thurday, August 31: took 10:00 a.m. bus to Kotor, Montenegro (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and arrived around 1:00, had lunch and spent a few of hours in the old city. Around 4:00, caught shared van to Budva, and stayed at Sveti Stefan (an island fishing village turned into a hotel)

Friday, September 1: took bus from Budva to Bar, then taxi to Montenegro/Albania border. Originally, I had expected to take the taxi across the border to Shkodra, but the line was long, so I got out of the taxi and walked across the border, figuring I'd find a taxi or hitch to Shkrodra. It took less than 5 minutes to walk across border, and there were several taxis (Euro 10 to Shkodra). I had the taxi leave me at a shared van to take me to Tirana (Euro 5). I arrived in Tirana mid-day, and spent day in Tirana.

Saturday, September 2: took 7:00 am van to Podgareci, but got out near Qafe Tana border with Macedonia (caught taxi, Euro 4, to border), and walked across border, and caught taxi (Euro 15) to Ohrid (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Spent day in Ohrid, then took taxi (Euro 11) to other border, walked across border and took taxi to Podgareci. Waited around 10 minutes for shared van to Elbaseni, then switched to shared van to Tirana, arriving back in Tirana around 6:00 (I had been told that it was not possible to visit Ohrid as a day trip from Tirana by public transport, but its very easy).

Sunday, September 3: took train (equivalent of $0.50) from Tirana to Durresi, a coastal town, and visited museum and Roman amphitheatre, and took bus ($1.00) back to Tirana, and spend rest of day wandering Tirana.

Monday, September 4: early morning flight from Tirana via Milan to Newark

It was a very interesting trip, and very easy to do by public transport. I know many use private cars and drivers in this area, but its unnecessary, but more than that, its a lot less fun (at least for me) to be sheltered in a private vehicle and chauffered from site to site. I would go back to all of these places, except I would only re-visit Dubrovnik in the off-season (way too many day trippers from large cruise ships overwhelm the small town).



Michael

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