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Trip Report Trip Report to Croatia/some Montenegro and Bosnia-Herz.(3 weeks on our own)

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The following is exerpted from an exchange of e-mails asking us about our trip to Croatia (from a Fodor's participant):

Our trip was nearer to 3 weeks... and if you look at the map, Korkula, Hvar, Kotor... even Dubrovnik and all on the water... your idea of an apartment for 1 week in Dub is a good idea... you can use it as a hub to see a lot.

However, since there's so much to see both down south and north of Dub to end up there and fly home means that you'll have to double back... that's why we ended up flying home from Zegreb instead.

Good luck and let me know if we can answer any other questions.
joe


Greetings:
Yes, six of us went last Sept (3 couples; all retired); one of the best trips we've ever had... I had been there in the 80's for the Sarajevo Olympics on business but, it snowed all the time... I wanted to take my wife ... and, see it myself ( then, friends decided to join us).

We found all of our places to stay via the internet; we found a car and driver for 3 days in Dubrovnik thru Fodor's.

We flew to Dubrovnik from California (via Frankfurt ). Dub is the pearl of the Adriatic ... outstanding !

Since I'd been there and knew it was hard to park and considering the costs of bus tours (and hassles ) for the six of us, we instead rented a private driver and his car for 3 days thru a contact from Fodor's .

A great guy and guide ... Capt. Nikola (e-mail:info@lsadriatic.com)

Turned out to be a great decision for us... less expensive, and we toured on our schedule rather than a bus tours'.

We used Dub as a hub (after arriving and spending 2 initial days ourselves on foot to see Dub... we stayed at an Inn within a couple of blocks uphill from the main street) and then for 3 days we drove with Capt.Nikola to such places as:

Split, Mostar, Bosnia-Herz.(still bombing holes in buildings... poor area but, worth seeing), down to Montenegro, Kotor's Bay, Budva, Sevi Stefan, Ston (fantastic lunch) and places in between (just day-trips for the 3 days... i.e., still sleeping in Dubrovnik )... I'm geographically jumping around... so you need to see a map.

Then we got our own van and went to :
Korkula Island (birthplace of Marco Polo) BUT, couldn't take another ferry to Hvar because in Sept the summer ferry schedule is cut back ... so, check that out for any island-hopping with your car !

We then stayed in Trogir for a couple of days (terrific); Sibernik, the ancient city of Zadar .

Then thru Pag and 2 nites at the Hotel Jazeero in the Plitvika Lakes National Park (terrific ... but, they have two options for rooms... cheap and semi-expensive... the cheap rooms overlook the back parking lot; the front rooms are spacious and outstanding. Their boardwalk over emerald green pools and overlooking waterfalls was amazing ! A must-see if you can.

Then we drove thru other towns such as Sluni, Ogulin to the ancient village of Samobor where we slept on our last night (20km from the Zagreb airport from which we returned home. Easy drive to the airport; reasonable cab fare too... since we had 3 couples we did both).

What we DIDN'T see and wished we could have ( since we went inland to Plitvika Lakes Region and ended up in Zagreb) was going up north to Pula and the Lake Blud area in Slovenia ... supposed to be beautiful but, we couldn't do it all ; nor did we even further to Serbia.

Friend of ours are using our trip plan right now but, taking longer than our 3 weeks coming down from Italy ( from Venice) to Lake Blud, Pula,etc... I don't know if they're going inland to Plitvika Lakes but, eventually they're winding down to Dubrovnik and flying home from there as well.

Re renting our van: their language/ street signs,etc., are impossible for us so we rented a Garmin GPS stateside and took it with us; even though we couldn't understand the verbal info and seemed to lose the satellite at times, it worked most of the time and really helped us drive on our own.

But, as I said, a caveat is that they have scores of beautiful islands but, in the Fall, the ferry schedules are restricted so, be wary of that...

In sum, it's like Italy 20+ years ago re smaller crowds and easier to get around on our own ... but, simpler accomodations than Italy (clean though); the architecture is similar to Italy's with tile roofs and stucco since Italy ruled a lot of the area over the years.

We liked Inns and smaller, older places rather than Hiltons or Marriotts... which they have if you prefer ;

In sum, it's a beautiful country with terrific roads, friendly (and, extremely tall ) people who all seem to know English with great food and drinks at reasonable prices.
joe grippo
los altos hills

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