Beautiful evenings at Kotor and diving afternoons at the beach have made us want to explore more. We had in mind renting a car earlier to visit neighbouring cities as well as those on the coast line that we had on our route. Unfortunately, the cost of leaving the car was 40+ EUR depending on the city in Montenegro. We were on the budget so this wouldn't do. We rented a Suzuki Swift for 24 hours paying 40 EUR with a 270 EUR deposit at Oasis Rent-a-car. Guys at Oasis are helpful and the rental takes just few minutes if you have all the documents. There were many things we wanted to see and the view on the Bay of Kotor that we've heard do much about was one of them..
Shoreditch, and Brick Lane in particular, are what could be called London's centre of street art. Although, you can find murals and other artwork in all parts of the City, this is the epicentre. Banksy or King Robbo are not the only renown artist that is popular in UK's capital. Lucas Pelizaro, has made a short video for his Visual Essay regarding Space and Time with street art from Shoreditch. You can: "Discover the best street art London has to offer in the heart of Shoreditch, gateway to London’s East End."
As for Banksy, I've tried to track down his works last year - with some success. You can read more about it here. Steve Cotton from artofthestate.co.uk has made a map of Banksy's work around London which is regularly updated. If you like his works (I very much do) and are visiting London use it to find some of his works that are still there. Additionally, you can see my gallery of London's street art that is being updated regularly.
We heard some stories, we've seen some photographs and got few recommendations not to miss this place. It's been a moment we've been waiting for for a while. The prior destinations we visited on our route (Belgrade, Sarajevo, Mostar, Dubrovnik) were all great in their own way. All had something to offer. In Kotor, thought, we were to stay longer - three days. The drive itself was full of picturesque views and yet, it was only the beginning...
Recently, I started collaborating with The Travel Stories - a travel blog for the best English-language travel stories on the internet. I am really happy to be part of this collective. Kudos go to Chris Dabiri for making this happen. Since now you will be able to read about my travels and places I've visited on The Travel Stories blog. Those need not to be same as you can read here. There will some specials as well. I also encourage you to read stories by other authors such as Michał Huniewicz, Lukas Sommer, Albert González Farran and Chris himself. You can expect beautiful photographs, enchanting stories and lots of inspiration for travelling. See for yourself. You can expect to read my first story (on Mongolia) this Wednesday, Sep 16th.
Heading through the thunderstorm that caught us on the border (in high season expect long queues) we managed to get a clear window for taking some photographs. Our bus driver the road through Stolac and Neum in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Thanks do this we had a chance of admiring the Adriatic Sea through the windows. Quick tip - when travelling from Dubrovnik and down the coast line to Montenegro and Albania by bus the best views will be when you sit on the right. I know how this may sound but on the left you'll have mostly rocks and it's really worth it if you fancy picturesque vistas. Having stopped in the central bus station in Dubrovnik we were to explore what ended up being an exclusive trip.
Mostar has a unique atmosphere. War reminiscence mix with European vibe. Is it due to the tourists pouring the main streets in high season or due to the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition that was happening on the day that we arrived? Anyway, it does not really matter. Narrow streets and buildings tucked here and there make this over 560 years old city a gem. Most will know Mostar by it's famous bridge (Stari Most) which has been destroyed during civil war in 1993 and painstakingly rebuilt thanks to UNESCO funds and opened again in 2004. We were yet to discover a bit more during our short stay that this city has to offer.
I always liked car chases. Whether James Bond like, Die Hard or others. I never thought that I will feel like in one of them on my way to Sarajevo. The route from Belgrade to Bosnia & Hercegovina's capital pumped my adrenaline to a new level. All thanks to our minivan driver who was in a hurry going through the never-ending twists and turns of Bosnian hill roads.
A thousand a day, four million in few years. The only safe heaven giving just a glimpse of chance of getting to the European Union thought to be the ultimate goal. First came those from the higher and middle class. Now the poorest and most desperate will arrive - having nothing more to loose. This scenario is happening when you watch the news. Often it seems to be so far away that you don't see the true dimension or scale of it all. Syrian (and not only) people are fleeing their country to escape mass murder from the government and ISIS - often on religious background.
We've took off in Warsaw and landed safely with Air Serbia with some complimentary snack on board of their Airbus A320. Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport has welcomed us with heat similar as in Poland's capital (37-40 C) - that was darn hot.
Balkan Experience 2015 is starting in a few days and I am thrilled, counting the hours, to get on track and start exploring. First we fly Air Serbia to Belgrade and then go South-West to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and then South-East to Montenegro, Albania. From Albania we go back to Belgrade via train from Podgorica. On the way we'll be using various transportation - autostop included. A backpacking journey lasting fourteen days through countries that encompass half of all Balkan nations. Crossing religions, beliefs, different versions of history and influences. We hope to meet new friends, explore cultures and taste some good cuisine.
Read more on our plans here. You can keep track of how are we doing by searching for #balkans2015 hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. See you in a fortnight!