Some words about a nice trip to Dubrovnik, Mostar and Kotor.
With the fine organisation of "OnlyCroatia.com", I had the great opportunity to live one travel in Dubrovnik's millennial history.
Surrounded by about 2 km of unique medieval ramparts, preserved in their original form, protected by the "UNESCO World Heritage" status, the "Old City" of Dubrovnik is a real "museum city", where history is alive everywhere.
Completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1667, the former Cathedral and other catholic churches had to be build again. Devastated by the war between 1991 and 1995, now, everything is well repaired and everyone can walk carefully down the streets, visiting museums, palaces, forts and churches, taking photographies of monuments, eating in a little traditionnal restaurant, looking at the sea and the Sint-John's Fort (1346, house now of the "Maritime Museum" and the "Aquarium") or doing some shopping in the "Placa" (main street, starting from the "Onofrio's Fountain", created by Onofrio della Cava, forom Naples, in 1438, and having 16 stone-carved maskerons ou of wich runs the water).
Going out of this historical heritage, we find a nice modern city, with his great sea harbour and so many splendid hotels, with nice buffets (including fresh fish and seafood), swimming pools and, for some of them, private beaches.
By a nice sunny day, like so often overthere, I choose one excursion taking us within the country. So, in a modern coach, with one friendly english speaking guide, we reach Bosnia and Herzegovina, renowned for its many beautiful and famous landmarks, such the glorious Kravice's waterfalls, where we follow a short walking route, crossing a heavily forested area, untill the foot of the falls.
Having so worked up our appetite, we enjoy a good lunch, with some local trout of "cevapcici" and wine, on a terrace, at the origin of the river Buna, in Blagaj, where we visit the house (16th. century) of the Dervish.
Most heavily bombed of any Bosnian city (1993), we discover Mostar and his beautiful historical Ottoman-style bridge "Stari Most", wich was build again (2004, 11 years after its destruction) as it was before the war, with the "UNESCO's funds, using the original stones' pieces recovered by the river Neretva.
Known to its ethnic diversity, Mostar offers us the opportunity to visit the Koski Mehmed Pasa's Mosque and/of its Cathedral; without to forget its "Stara čaršija Kujundžilik" , typical street of old shops full of all souvenirs you can dream of. On the way back to the coach, I bought a bottle of a local plum brandy, called "šljivovica" (slivovitz), in a little supermarked, its price being really cheaper as in Croatia.
On the way back, 30 km south of Mostar, we have a last stop in Počitelj, loacted on the left bank of the river Neretva. Center of governance of the Dubrava župa's county, during the middle ages, built by Bosnia's King Stjepan Tvrtko 1st (1383), Počitelj was part of the Ottoman Empire between 1471 and 1878. Now, also protected by the "UNESCO World Heritage", only some surviving stone-built parts of this fortivied complex are left on the hill.
After enjoying a day to rest in my hotel, swimming in the pool and in the sea, I choose a second excursion, to Montenegro. This time, we follow the beautifull Adriatic, untill the "Boka Kotorska" (Kotor's Bay), a winding bay of the Adriatic Sea, one authentic fjord wich is about 28 km long from the open sea to the harbour of the city of Kotor.
Before to reach this city we stop in the little town of Perast, where we take a little boat to reach the only one artificially islet (3300 m2) of the Adriatic, built by the native people of the area upon a rock with some heaping up of stones (middle of the 15t. century), called "Gospa od Škrpjela" ("Our Lady of the Rocks"), after that two Venetian sailors from Perast founded a picture of the Virgin Mary, in 1452 origin of one annual pilgrimage.
There, we visit its interesting chapel and little museum, learning about the story of this local holly icon protecting about shipwrecks. Not far, we see another islet, a natural one, called "Sveti Đorđe" ("St.-Georges"), also with a chapel.
Both of these islets are so beautifull to be seen, in front of the Dinaric Alps, by the terrace of the Monastery built on the St.-Elias Hill. As soon we arrive there, Dom Srecko, leading this place, offers us a local aperitif, before a great lunch, one of the best souvenir of my trip. What's a wonderfull view from this Monastery's terrace!
Back in our coach, crossing the bay with a ferryboat, we go to Kotor to visit the part of the city surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period, before to be back on the Adriatic's bank, to discover the "Stari Grad" ("Old Town") of Budva inside its old venetian walls, bieing damaged by one earthquake in 1979, but now perfected restored.
Leaving these bot old towns of Kotor and Budva, also protected by the "UNESCO World Heritage", I am glad to be back in my relaxing hotel before to spend a last day for some more visits of the "Pearl of the Adriatic"!