Parked with a million dollar vista high above the Adriatic, a Polish crew pulled up as we were having a spot of tea, and with the exuberance of a football team descended on Pumper with enthusiasm fit for the world cup final… Driving a real classic, an impressive group of guys and gals, part of a rally from Poland to Greece, to raise funds for orphaned kids… Just the kind of thing that makes your day!! A great exchange of stories and pictures… Name the make and year of the microbus. First right answer in our ‘comments’ wins the ‘Dreamer’ a mention in our next blog!
Our time in Croatia is nearing an end but continues to delight at every turn of the coastal road. A diversion into ‘Bosnia And Herzegovina’ to experience one of the many pummeled cities that were part of a horrific civil war and ethnic cleansing just a short 15 or so years ago. 1995 Mostar was virtually destroyed by the fighting, factions on either side of the river that runs through town each bombarding the opposite side. You don’t have to look hard for the scars, the bullet riddled buildings!! Landmine alert!!! Don’t wander too far from the road! We can’t imagine what these people have lived through so recently, as they now live and work in apparent harmony, enjoying and appreciating life nurturing this tourist haven where anything can be purchased very cheaply with Euro’s rather than the local currency. Memorials everywhere to those who died on both sides of the arguments, they know first-hand just how fragile life is!!
Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo: Linguists refer to the varieties of languages as “Serbo-Croatian” although they use the Cyrillic alphabet we get totally lost!! A friendly shopkeeper with perfect English informs us that children in Bosnia and Herzegovina learn English from Grade two… Dumb tourists that we are, almost everyone speaks English and the few mostly older people that don’t will surely find a way to communicate with visitors to their beloved country!!
Stuck on the side of the road due to what must have been a deadly crash we set up for a ‘cuppa’, but it isn’t long before Pumper turns into the star attraction!! A man pops his head inside the door and gestures in sheer delight at our home sweet home. Many hand gestures later and we gather that the road will be closed for at least 3 more hours and he is offering to show us an alternate route… we hit the road. Now most would question the sanity, heading off into the sunset to who knows where guided by who knows who!! (We never told our kids not to talk to strangers)! We wonder for all of a split second, but as we are fond of doing we put faith in humanity and head off down a single track road out into the countryside!! If our amazing $8 lunch which included 2 beer was not enough to dazzle, we are blown away by a total stranger coming to our rescue.
Following for 30 minutes… our guide pulls over and motions for us to stay while he disappears into some bushes, re-appearing with a bag stuffed full of freshly picked grapes!! He must have called ahead for his wife to pick them. We returned the kindness with some VW treasures as a small token of our appreciation… What a life saver!!
If that wasn’t enough to fill our hearts with joy, we wave adios to our Bosnian friend and, given the delay we were definitely driving a little faster than we should… we head straight into the clutches of a police radar trap! Darn and bugger it!! There was no mistaking the message… 76 in a 50 zone! Silly mistake, our last altercation with Police as hard as this is to believe was in California! We beg mercy… Not failing our total faith in the love and generosity of spirit of Bosnians he gives us a wink and waves us on??? WOW!!!
At the border our day is capped by the border control officer who shows his excitement at Pumpers arrival by leaning on the horn with the delight of a child, and waving us through without a care for our documents.
Yup a couple of old dropouts… We lost count today of how many people shouted out “2 Hippies” as Pumper cruised through the towns of B and H… The smiles on the faces priceless as we flip the peace sign and get the hugest wave of appreciation and reciprocal peace signs!!
Brief visit, but we soaked up the delights of Bosnia and Herzegovina: the welcome, kindness, and appreciation from the people. The small historic town Mostar with its cultural diversity underlined by the call to prayer at the mosque while The Gypsy Kings blared out ‘My Way’ at the restaurant next door.
Cevapcici, hurmastica, cevabdzinica .. Culinary delights.. Syrup soaked sponge fingers all the way. Burek .. The Croatian staple of a pastry stuffed with very salty cheese and spinach. The cheap chilled beer sure makes up for it!!
Curled up in bed somewhere on the Bosnian coast, this is the nomadic lifestyle that we have come to love. The next adventure, just around the corner!! We spent the evening dreaming up what is next (not much planning, but at times one is somewhat forced to consider… Oh no!… winter months are around the corner!!!). The excitement mounts!!! Next summer our options seem endless, the possibilities limited only by our dreams!
Yep this is simple living… No electricity, fridge, running water, shower, phone, television, actually, no toilet!! A Tupperware container for a closet… No bills! And what do we miss… NOT A DARN THING!! (Well… most of the time.J) Except of course our kids, family, and friends who could not be blamed for giving up on us as crazies!
The freedom of the road and the simple joy of clean, easy, and we think “Green” living.. How did we humans make life so complicated? If only … If only we could all get back to a simpler time of human kindness and appreciation. Instead, humankind today seems hell bent on just the opposite…
Silvana our new Croatian/Austrian Sociologist said profoundly: With a compass in our nose and a map in our heart, and a consciousness to avoid poverty of mind and soul, the most insidious poverty’s in the world today! Oh well, maybe we can do our bit and spread some good karma and pray that a little infectious spirit rouses the crowds!!
Peace and Love… with borders that need no defending!