A Travellerspoint blog

Bosnia and Montenegro

Sarajevo, Mostar, Herceg Novi, Kotor and Ulcinj

sunny 36 °C

Hi there

havene had time to upload the pics for these 2 countries yet so they will come in the next week or so i guess!

Well i set off for Sarajevo first of all. I have to admit i had no real idea what was i gonna see or do while here and first impressions werent all that great as the bus station was in a giant industrial estate. However i made my way to the hostel and the guy kinda explained to me that the side of the city that the bus station is on is basically just residential and industrial so i had no real reason to go there (i say he kinda explained it cos he didnt speak any english, just italian and serbo-croat and i dont speak either of them). So i went out that night in the rough direction which i was pointed and discovered a city which was remarkably busy around 3 or 4 streets and then really quiet everywhere else. I obviously couldnt see many sights this first night so just spent most of my time getting my bareing etc. The next day i headed off proper to see all the sights, i was amazed at how much of a pretty city i had encountered, surrounded on all sides by hills, narrow streets with hundreds of shops selling anything and everything and hundreds of beautiful mosques. Apparently there about 108 mosques in Sarajevo which i had no idea about but i looked round the 2 biggest, Emperors Mosque and Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque, both of them are stunning though i thought the Bey mosque was a lot more grand than the Emperors mosque which was a bit unexpected! I spent the rest of the day looking round all the old town and then going around all the museums, actually there were only 2 and one of them was the worst museum i have ever been in, in my life!!

The next day i moved onto Mostar which is a very interesting place. Its very interesting to look at the parrellels between the two sides of the city. The christian side has been largely rebuilt because it was the more prosperous side of town, but driving through the muslim side of town it looks in places like the war just ended last week. There is still collapsed houses all over the place and shells of houses seem to be about every 4th house. There was some really weird rebuilding bits though, at one point there was a huge new glass DHL building which looked all posh and new and its next door neighbour was the shell of an apartment block, with one side collapsed and u could see all the way through the entire block!

Anyway after really enjoying my short stay in Bosnia i celebrated my birthday by taking a 9 hour busride to Herceg Novi in Montenegro (not the recommended way to celebrate your birthday). I arrived in Herceg Novi without a room so just had to grab a granny at the bus station, this was the first time in my trip i had had to do this so was very curious what sorta room etc i would be given. Basically though for 10 euros (6 quid) a night u just get the spare room in their house (providing the house is in the centre, its a lot cheaper if u go further out but then u have 2 drag ur bag miles!) it was quite nice and Herceg Novi itself was a pretty little walled town but nothing special. But it was a nice stop over for a night. The next stop was the town of Kotor. I met an english guy on the bus called Dave and we agreed to share a room to cut down on costs. We unforunatly picked a really crap ant infested room though! The town of kotor was very beautiful though, it was a walled town in a deep gorge looking out across a bay. Another mistake we made though however was to go to the fortress at about 1pm in 38 degree heat. It seemed like a good idea at the time but what we didnt really realise at the time was that the fortress was at the top of one of the mountains!! we both lost about a stone just on the walk up i think! After relaxing in a cafe and generally trying to return ourselves to the land of the living we wandered round the old town for a few hours before heading out for some Tea. Our tea was really nice, goulash incase u were wondering, but was occasionally broken up by city wide powercuts! Went out for a few beers afterwards which was a good laugh. We split up the next day and i kicked onto Ulcinj and again needed a room on arrival (there are no hostels in Montenegro). After some hardcore bargaining in the bus station i managed to get an entire apartment for 9 euros!! the only catch being it was up a huge hill on the outskirts of town, even so i couldnt turn that down it was just 2 cheap! Ulcinj is a very strange place though, its primarily where all bosnians, serbs and montenegrans go on holiday as it has a 10 mile long beach! but that seems to dominate the town and its all a bit 2 much hotel condos for me too take it serious!

Anyway im off to Albania today, im actually really nervous about going here and to Macedonia because they both write mainly in Cryllic (macedonia writes only in it, no latin text anywhere!) so im thinking it will be very very difficult to navigate my way around! only time will tell though eh, if u never hear from me again im wandering round Tirana cluelessly for the rest of eternity!

Posted by coldposts 11:43 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

Sibenik and Brac

Sibenik, Privic, Supetar

39 °C

This will most likely only be a short entry cos its really really hot here and therefore i cant really be bothered to write loads!

First off got some pics for u: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=12641&l=75caf&id=514972396

I have been here ages. I have spent virtually 4 days on Privic and then been in Supetar for about 2 weeks so im not gonna go into minute detail as to what i have done everyday!

Basically the island of Privic is a tiny tiny island with about 100 houses on. Its a place that all the locals come on holiday 2 when they wanna get away from all the general tourist crap. It has no roads, no hotels and all the stuff for the shop (veges, fruit etc) come on a boat every morning! It was a really great island that i loved because it was so seculded but also very very beautiful and the beach was very nice! Only one problem with the island and that was that upon arriving i found that me, Dajna and her cousin Anne-Marie had to finish off a litre of some evil spirit stuff, which we proceeded to do. I spent most of the next day on the beach with a hangover and fell asleep around midday to wake up with an amayingly burnt back!

I have been in Supetar for a while aswell. The main part of my visit was my dad coming over, which was really good even though we didnt do a whole lot. One day we hired bikes and went cycling around the islands which was fun....until we went up a huge hill, very steep with no real road. It nearly killed me....and im pretty sure it did dad also but he just never let on!

anyway im gonna have 2 go now and retreat back 2 the sea and go for a flounder!

hope your all well

john

Posted by coldposts 05:16 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Austria

Veinna, Innsbruck and Salzburg

sunny 27 °C

After surviving the hangover train journey to Vienna i arrived feeling pretty damn awful but after tracking down my hostel and having a shower i felt a whole lot better! I took a tram to the town centre and began my sightseeing in earnest as i only had 2 days to see everything! Luckily a lot of the main sights in Vienna are in close proximity (well 10mins walk) so i didnt do 2 bad as i snapped away for an hour or so before going back and looking at all of these places proper. I took in a few museums and gardens before booking a ticket to go and see the opera (standing ticket....5 euros!!) that night. I went to see a show who's name i cant now remember and of which i understodd about one percent as it was all in german (not surprisingly) but i thought it was good to go just for the experience and everything! Day two i just wandered around the main shopping centre for an hour and then got on a 5 hour train to Innsbruck where i would be stopping for 3 nights.

Arriving in Innsbruck i was amazed at how exactly like Slovenia it was, backing onto the alps, green, very very beautiful and then i noticed the difference.......it was about 10 times more expensive than Slovenia! Even so i would highly recommend it to everyone as its a very very beautiful little town with a beautiful glacier river running through the middle. My only problem was that there were no hostels there (or at least no available ones) so i had to book a cheap hotel, which though cheap was a lot more expensive than a hostel! anyway the first night i just walked rounnd the town got my bareings etc and saw the local sites of the town. basically though i never took my eyes off the hills a lot cos they were so pretty. Day two i went to a place called CrystalWorld which is a museum kinda thing run by the Swarksi (or something like that) jewellry company and everything in their is made of crystal, it was really really amazing, i loved it in there! i saw the world made out of crystal, a giant jellyfish, trees, people, the worlds biggest jewellery stone and loads of other wonderful things. I then went to the shop and looked at loads of things i couldnt afford :) Day three i went to look round the winter olympic venues they have up there which were good fun but i didnt go on anything, basically cos i cant ski! Though u could go on a bobsled ride but it was 40 euros and i couldnt afford it.

I then had a quick train journey to Salzburg, where i had exactly 17 hours to waste before a connection to Sibenik. Salzburg is famous for two things 1) Sound of Music 2) birthplace of Mozart and wow didnt they promote it! all i saw walking round the town was adverts about those 2 things (neither of which really interest me by the way!). I ignored all this as much as i can before heading to the castle, which was really wonderful even though they dont give it any promo! After finishing up at the castle i basically had nothing to do so went and read an entire book in the train station while waiting for my last night train in a while. This night train was gonna b different cos once again i had braved not booking a couchette (too expensive in austria), but luck was on my side as the train was deserted so i had a whole block of 6 chairs to sprawl myself accross which resulted in my first good nights sleep on any night train!

sorry if this is a bit of a crap update, i couldnt b bothered writing a lot!

take care

Posted by coldposts 04:12 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Czech Republic

Prague

overcast 27 °C

So i fled Krakow after not really liking it on a night train pointing in the direction of Prague. I had a good night train experience again this time as i booked a couchette so i arrived in Prague at 7am feeling only slightly tired. Found the hostel really easy, it said it was in Prague 2 which makes u think 'oh shit miles out of town' but it was 5minutes walk along a main road to Wencesless Square (yeah thats probably spelt wrong). Upon showering and changing i went for a wander and was amazed to discover how well i had remembered my geography in Prague! I could remember where just about all the main streets went, how to get to all the places and even where a lot of the good eating places were! So after showing Mel (who i was now travelling with) the main sites and sounds (which took basically an entire day) we went out for something to eat in Prague 5, which is on the other side of the river and about 10 minutes out of the centre, the prices drop hugely for food! While we sat eating we just sat and watched an immense downfall just come from nowhere, soak everyone to the skin in about 2 seconds, keep it up for 15mins and then dissappear as if it never happened!

Day two we woke up early and at 9:30am were in possibly the weirdest place i have ever visited first thing in the morning.....the sex machine museum! It is a really hilarious place showing everything u could possibly imagine (and things i never had done previously.....voyeuristic chamber pot anyone?) from gimp suits, saedo-masicistic machines from the 15th century to 1920's porn films starring the best friend of the king of spain! I would heavily recommend it to everyone cos its very fun, though maybe just not so early in the morning! i have some great pics....but alas they wont be making it onto the upload!

In the afternoon we went up Perin Tower which gives u great views of the city in all directions (u can see right into Slavia Prague's ground....its not very good). Once again i was terrified walking to the top, once i was up there i was fine but it was walking up this staircase on the outside of the tower, with only wire mess between you and a fall of about 100 metres. Once i was at the top and snapping away i noticed Mel had gone white, which was funny and unexpected as she had been taking the piss all morning about me crying when we got to the top. After that we went round the castle and then back to the hostel to meet Mel's mate before descending on some horrific drinking binge with mel, her mate and about 15 other people from the hostel. by the time we left everyone was pretty hammered (about from that perverted Singaporian lad!) and our group consisted of us three, 5 heavily hammered irish lads......3 of whom got lost from us within about 100 metres!, 3 scottish lasses, 2 london girls, a singaporian lad, a couple of yanks and some others who i cant remember. We headed off to a nightclub which was 5 floors, queued for about a decade to get in, bought the most expensive alcohol in Prague (basically UK prices) and went to discover what type of music infested these 5 floors....and the answer......basically the same type of music on every single god-damn floor....shitty wanky dance music! most people loved it but me and one of the scottish lasses liked our rock so we basically just sat around and chatted and laughed at people the whole night. I left at around 3am (alone!) as i had a early morning train to catch to Vienna. I heard a group come in at about 5am and when i was leaving at 7am one group were still out!! Anyway i got the underground to the train station not exactly feeling 2 pretty and departed for Vienna, mostly concentrating on not being sick......which i wasnt....yay!!

So why do u ask did i not stay in Prague longer? basically because i have been there before, seen all the sights and really enjoyed it, but Prague in late January is really really really busy and just gets a bit uncomfortable being crowded all the time and i didnt really need to be there as its all stuff i have seen before! if i was gonna recommend to someone i would say either go in May or September but never between those months!

pics of my very brief visit can be found at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=11427&l=c3956&id=514972396

Posted by coldposts 06:06 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Poland

Krakow, Auschwitz-Berkenau

overcast 25 °C

First off the pics of Budapest are up and can be found at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10956&l=945d9&id=514972396

I arrived in Krakow at 6am after travelling on another night train, it went much better this time, i booked a couchette and slept for about 75% of the way after watching out of the window for the other 25%. Anyway upon arriving in Krakow i couldnt check into my hostel till 2pm but they let me store my bags and have a shower before i headed out to explore which was nice of them. So after changing etc i headed out into....RAIN! the first day of my entire day i didnt have hot sunshine!! Now wandering around any city in the rain isnt the greatest experience, but wandering round a new city with no idea where u r going and nobody speaking english is a new experience for me and not one im looking to repeat soon! I have to admit i found Krakow a bit over-rated (maybe it was the cold and rain...i dunno) but all the guides had told me it was such a beautiful place but, i just didnt get it! For one thing Krakow (and Poland in general) is a hugely hugely religious place and anyone who knows me well will know that is something that just doesnt sit well with me! For one thing all the walks u could go on were all church walks or synagogue walks, they had names like Pope John-Paul II walk (he was born in Krakow so fair enough i guess) and i just didnt really enjoy them. Plus all the churches are red brick, with narrow windows, very tall and narrow and in my opinion looked just like....well....mental asylums!! Anyway moving away from the religious side of things, Krakow has a very nice castle....from the outside. i have no idea what its like inside as there r only so many tickets available per day and they had sold out by the time i got there (10:30am). So the first day was a bit of a disaster in fairness!

The second day i was there i went to Auschwitz and Berkenau camps. They are obviously very sad places but very very interesting to goto. One thing i learnt was that, before i went if someone mentioned auschwitz i thought of wood huts, metal fences, gas chambers etc etc just like everyone else. What surprised me is this is actually the camp called Berkenau where all of these things exist and some still remain now, it was really horrifying to see all this but the tour i was on was done with real dignity and approached it all with class and from the right angle. Auschwitz camp is actually an old polish cavalry camp which was captured and used by the germans and once this started to overflow berkenau was built in temporary means. i would advise anyone in this area to go and see auschwitz even if history doesnt interest u.

One thing i should mention about Krakow was the hostel i stayed in. It was superb, it was called Seven Heaven and was 10 euros a night and served breakfast, had a huge common room, loads of showers and was just so good that i would say if anyone was on a budget trip to poland and wanted a hostel this comes with a huge recommendation!

in summary though i didnt enjoy poland i wouldnt say dont visit, some parts are very beautiful and auschwitz is very interesting.

pics for krakow can be found at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10958&l=2d65a&id=514972396

Posted by coldposts 11:53 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

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