Saturday, 12 November 2011

Remembering the former Yugoslavia!

Travel Tales

There are a few other aspects of my visit to Cairo that I could recount but we have to move on.

Many years ago, 1974 in fact, I travelled by car a distance of around 1700 miles in 3 weeks with 3 friends in a Citroen Ami 8 Luxe. We travelled from Yorkshire, England to Dubrovnik in what was then Yugoslavia. Obviously with such a long trip there were a number of interesting experiences. The question for me is which to tell that you will find interesting. A little like writing a book! The first tale I have already mentioned in an earlier blog about asking directions in Mons in Belgium. We visited and stayed in Germany, Austria, and Yugoslavia where we stayed in various centres. 1 day in Ljubljana, 5 days in Split, 1 day in Dubrovnik and then various stop overs in the centre of the country that became known during the war that ensued when the country was divided up into  its constituent states.
It was in this country that I first ate goat and it was beautiful. The limestone scenery of the interior of the country was amazing. The people were like the people I have come across in a number of countries around the world and at home. They are unfailingly kind and generous. So what is it that sticks in my mind after what is approaching 40 years.
Split. For those who follow soccer the home of Hadjuk Split. A modern, bustling industrial city on the Adriatic coast about half way down the coastline. There were four of us and we found a B & B on the coast south of the city. At this time there was very little tarmacced road in the country. The coast road was one such road and it was like a race track. It was as if all the car owners in the country had found a road on which it was safe to drive as fast as possible! It created a cacophony of horn blowing and screeching brakes along with the occasional accident. It was also the road we had to cross to get to the very pebbly beach and the sea with a band of urchins about a metre below the surface! The weather was beautful, hot but not humid and so comfortable, and the sea was wonderfully refreshing.
The culture at that time was one of building ones own property but with enough space for visitors. There was no pressure on building land so quite ordinary people lived in large properties. We were very fortunate in that the house where we stayed was marbled throughout, quite new and with four extra rooms for visitors. The family that owned the property produced their own brandy, slivovitz, and they had a son in the countries navy. We had to run a gauntlet of huge wasps to get in and out of the property. They were attracted by the fermenting peaches that went towards the manufacture of the alcohol.
After the fighting in Boznia I wonder what became of the very kind family, who spoke no English, only Serbo-Croat, German and Italian. They were proud of their son and showed us photos of him in uniform while serving us with a snack of freshly picked peaches that were so large they were a meal in themselves.

An interesting trip full of colour and light with stark and dramatic scenery.

Excitement when the post arrived yesterday as the proof copy of my second Steele novel 'The 51st State' arrived. All I have to do is edit and upload the revised manuscript then it will be available.

My visitors yesterday were for a short while dominated by an influx of hits from Sweden quite a peak! Welcome to you all.

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God Bless