Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9/24/14 Day 251 Our Quasi Failed trip to Bosnia

Finally we are leaving Hvar island! It has been four days since Poly broke down and we have been stuck in Stari Grad waiting for her repair, but we are getting on the road and catching the 9:45 ferry from Sucuraj to Drvenik. It is a 90 minute drive across the entirety of this 80 kilometer long, 5 kilometer wide portion of the island. With every steep snake and bend we watch as the secluded coves trail behind us. We line up ready to drive onto the ferry and I hand over the ticket we purchased (with only one of our four passengers actually financially accounted for) with a smile and we are waved aboard the ticket barely glanced at. Another 35 minutes and we are back on the mainland of Croatia, if you can call this archipelago of a country that. The anxiety grows as we near the border to Bosnia our gateway to Kravice Falls, and Mostar. We have learned over the last 24 hours that many car insurance companies do not cover the country and so therefore you are required to have a green slip that documents that you are covered, if not you can buy your Bosnia insurance at the border. We do not have a green slip as our car insurance liability is a grey area, and therefore we do not really have the grounds to buy additional insurance either. Sure enough as fast as we pull up to the border control at Metković we are spit right back out and turned around back to Croatia, we attempt to explain that in Ireland (where we bought the car) it is not required to retain the registration in the car, but his English is at best an intermediate level and he is having nothing of it without our proper paperwork. With plan B already set in motion we head towards Dubrovnik in southernmost Croatia. In order to get there you need to pass through a 9.5 kilometer corridor of Bosnia, it is the only span of the country that touches the sea and requires 4 border checks before you are back on Croatian turf again. We pull up to the first border, the Croatian inspectors and they don't even have a chance to ask us where we are going before they insist that we pull into a spot to be searched. They insist that all four of us step out of the car and we watch hysterically as they pull out all of our things out of our backpacks. If you could only imagine the stuff that we have collected in our car over the last three months, some of my favorite items include; Kevin's Kendama, a Japanese ball and cup toy (I think they thought it was a weapon?!), watching them sniff my henna powder I got in Morocco, it is an olive colored powder that you add water to and can paint henna tattoos, they were really concerned about our generic decongestion pills, "what brand!" ummm Target maybe haha, the best one of all though is when they found the little pink pills in Dan's bag "what is this" Dan replied, Pepto Bismol "what for?!" Obviously Dan practically broke out into song "nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach diarrhea" We couldn't even handle it, so funny! It was pretty shortly after this that they decided we probably were not smuggling huge quantities of cigarettes or alcohol, just the homemade brandy a host gave us, a few beers and the pack of cigarettes Dan purchased earlier that day. With that, they let us go through, also stating that they would call ahead to the next border to inform them we had been thoroughly checked. Successfully into Bosnia we decided to quickly zip over to Kravice Lakes and at least see them before cruising through the remaining two borders. The day was hot and we were so looking forward to a swim in our third attempt at visiting a cascading lake park, upon arrival they too like Plitvice and Krka were flooded, no lake break for us! After a short visit we headed back through dreary, desolate, and depleted Bosnia, a country not even two decades past war with haunting reminders in the bullet hole filled signs and pot hole covered roads. If only we could have more thoroughly explored this country, it's a beautiful place, less mangled by tourisms grasp, but for us it will have to be another adventure, when the border guards are not waiting for us! Arriving back at the Neum border just four hours after we had crossed through we headed straight for the Southern crossing. We are nodded through the first border check, from the Bosnian's and then when we pull to a stop for the Croatians they kindly motion for us to pull over to a spot where we can be thoroughly checked for all of the large quantities of drugs and things that go boom that are clearly stashed within our right hand drive, sticker plastered car. The four of us start giggling to ourselves, are they serious!? We explain that we spent hours being searched at the border just a short 9.5 kilometers away and the only reply they can come up with, "they found nothing?" Of course they found nothing, there is nothing to find! Can we be on our way now? After a short few minutes of deliberation they actually wave us through, thankful we do not have to buy any supplemental insurance, or be strip searched we beeline it for Dubrovnik. 

Teeny tiny sliver of coastal Bosnia, with Croatian lands bordering both sides
Plan B success


The currency they use is a Marka, and it is 1 Marka to .6$ so 2.31/liter is only 1.51$ per liter or 5.71$ per gallon, which in this part of the world is a steal of a deal, cheapest gas we have seen thus far on our trip

When we got to Kravice Falls, it was flooded
Still beautiful
But freezing cold
Murky
And not swimmable 
Everything from garbage bins, to benches to boardwalks were submerged
So instead of swimming as planned we relaxed on the upper balcony of the restaurant and enjoyed the view

Back to Croatia for Poly and us

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