My holiday this year is shorter, nevertheless I still wanted to see some hills and a bit of the sea shore. So I planned a trip to Croatia via Bosna. And to make it in time, I moved by train to southern Hungary, to the town Baja. From there I started going south, first nicely through the flat plains following the Donau river and around the location of the Mohács battle with Turks. And after just a day of travel, I crossed the EU border into Serbia.
I went through Serbia for just a short time, still following the left bank of the Danube. In some places I was in Serbia and Croatia at the same time – the Croats recognize the border according to the historical course of the Danube, the Serbs according to the current course – so sometimes both countries claim a piece of wetlands and forest, sometimes there is a piece of no-man’s land (where one Czech politician failed to establish his own state of Liberland). The only undisputed sovereigns of this land therefore remain local flocks of water birds.
And as a reminder of last year’s trip to hot Spain I was caught here by Cerberus (a heat wave), but the heat here was more bearable when going through the meadows and shady forests around the river.
By the village of Erdut I crossed over to the Croatian river bank and thus visited the third country in a quick succession.
I passed through Vukovar, whose four-month siege turned into the heaviest fighting of the Croatian War. That can still be seen today on abandoned houses or on a shot-up water tower, rising as a painful reminder above the surrounding plain.
Bosnia i Herzegovina
Over the river Sava I entered the border town Brčko. The fact that I crossed the border is recognisable first by village churches being mostly replaced by village mosques, with the Alláhu akbar calling at five o’clock, and second by the flat lowland being replaced by hilly highlands. The road is challenging: usually just one unpleasant busy road in the valley or narrow twisty unpaved roads over the hills.
One day I stayed in the capital of Sarajevo and then again over the hills I had to get to the Neretva river valley. This clean blue-green river flows through romantic canyons rising over both its banks into Mostar, the main tourist magnet of Bosna and Herzegovina.
Beyond Mostar the river canyon widens, the hills around lower and slowly disappear, while the nature changes into a mediterranean, dry, with the omnipresent sound of cicadas. An easy ride along the river I continued to the sea cost, with very pleasant night at the Baćina lakes – but that was already on the Croatian side of the border.
From here I continued first along the coast and then northwards towards home: