Driving Along the Coast

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We rented a car in Split, said goodbye to our quaint apartment and the palace, and headed south down the Croatian coast for the city of Dubrovnik. Yuriy was behind the wheel of our little red Spark, and I had the camera in hand, window rolled down, madly snapping away (we deleted more photos than we kept).  It felt nice to have our own vehicle again, instead of relying on public transportation. When we saw a pretty view, Yuriy hit the brakes and we stepped out to take it in. With stops included, we drove for about 6 hours.

The entire stretch of road went along the Adriatic Sea, sometimes at sea level, sometimes a lot higher. The highway took us winding along mountainous curves that came dangerously close to cliffs that dropped into the water below. Especially when the sun started to set, the scenery was magnificent, and although I was sleepy (as typical with road trips), I forced myself to stay awake. We munched on walnuts, mandarins, fresh cheese, and a big chunk of bread (if this were a road trip in the US, I'd be munching on greasy chips and a candy bar). We drove past little towns, pretty beaches, wild nature, and stopped to pick pomegranates on abandoned land.

There were stretches of road littered with abandoned houses that looked like they were falling apart. Not just one or two, but dozens. Most homes were missing windows, doors, and entire roofs. We couldn't help wondering if they were burned out or just really old. So of course, we pulled over, I put some better (by better I mean tougher) shoes on, and we went exploring with the camera in tow. All that was left of the house we climbed around in were stone walls with holes for windows. Plants had started growing over the floor of the home and garbage collected in the corners. We later read online that the abandoned homes were left by Serb minorities who fled during Croatia's War of Independence. The Croatian government has been taking its time to recover after the war and Serbians who want to reclaim their land and houses have to go through a long legal process that is very confusing with new laws that don't supersede old laws (which discriminate against minorities). The houses served as reminders of war in the country. Apparently Lonely Planet warns against poking around in abandoned houses because there might be unexploded shells and bombs inside. Useful information we found out AFTER our dangerous adventures!

- Julia

Up next: Dubrovnik, Croatia-- one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean

18 comments :

  1. I can only hope to one day go on an amazing journey such as this <3

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  2. I'm trying really hard to not be jealous right now! I anxiously await all of your posts and even though I would rather be traveling myself, it's wonderful to be able to tag along with you via your blog. :)

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  3. These photographs are wonderful. Unfortunately, the journey from Split to Dubrovnik wasn't as beautiful when I took it. It rained so hard, you could barely see the road. Combined with the cliffs, I feared my poor mother would have to fly to Croatia to identify my body!

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  4. First, you two are crazy wondering around Europe- that is awesome! Second, the pictures are so real, I can almost smell the air. Yuriy what's a good camera you'd recommend to a beginner photographer(*whispers* broke student price-range)? Which direction are you heading in? Will you be making it to the Ukraine?

    -Sergey Golubovich

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  5. Croatia looks amazing... would love to visit

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  6. Thanks Sergey, send us an email through this site and we can chat more about cameras. Unfortunately we won't be going to Ukraine, the weather isn't the greatest in Nov/Dec, we'll save it for the summer time. Thanks for writing... we missed you at the wedding.

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  7. Wonderful pictures, they make the sites look beautiful.

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  8. So so beautiful! And what an interesting place given the recent history.

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  9. is yuriy stealing pomegranites from the trees?

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  10. It's so nice to see such proper grammar/spelling! Beautiful writing, and beautiful pictures! :)

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  11. Yes that is indeed Yuriy sneaking some pomegranates. They were delicious!

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  12. Hello

    :) love all your shots Julia and Yuriy... The ancient walls, the view of the houses, buildings disposed around the coast. You always make it somehow to bring me so close to the places you visit. I feel like driving along to discover new places... just watching your blog.

    You captured everything we needed to see. small things, road , history , lifestyle... just great !!

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  13. I see you saw THE YUGO. This was a national car of ex-Yugoslavia. The fabric Zastava, wheren it was made, is closed now. Also... you know that this car was elected the ugliest car in the world. Unfortunately I was too young to have one of my one. If you pass by Slovenia, give me a ring. Stay great!

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  14. I'm glad you pointed out the Yugo. We had no idea what we had photographed... just some dinky car. Just had fun reading some articles about how it was the worst car ever made. How can it be?!

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  15. I don't know the answer. There was a join venture between Zastava and Fiat and the ugliest cars were made for Balkan.
    Here I give you some links about Zastava and the lines of cars were made by. My family had two of the models; Zastava 101 and Zastava 750 ("fičo") :-)
    http://freeweb.deltha.hu/zastava.in.hu/
    http://www.zastava-yugo.de/index.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zastava

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  16. Isn't the Adriatic Sea amazing? but I would agree with you, its scary driving along the coast.

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