Seven days in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Croatia Cover

Travel achievement: unlocked!

With this leg of our European journey, I can now say that I’ve personally visited 30 countries. I’ve been really excited to reach this milestone for quite some time.

Why 30? No reason, it just seemed like a nice round number. Now that it’s done, 40, 50, or even 60 countries seems so possible. There’s still so much to see in this world!

The past week in Croatia and Bosnia was really fun. My wife and I, along with our travel buddy Jennifer Hu, treated this journey more as a vacation. It was less about Airbnb and more about treating ourselves to resorts and cocktails. We can’t afford to do this kind of travel long-term but it’s nice to splurge every once in a while to mix things up.

Croatia and Bosnia offer a lot for the traveler to take in. Here are some of the highlights of our past seven days in Croatia:

The Adriatic Sea

Makes you want to just jump in head first, right? That’s exactly what we did.

Makes you want to just jump in head first, right? That’s exactly what we did.

The Adriatic Sea is the body of water that separates the Italian and Balkan peninsulas. It is the water that you’ll be swimming in when you visit Croatia; and it’s heavenly.

A few interesting “facts” about the Adriatic Sea:

  1. It’s super clear
  2. It’s the perfect temperature
  3. It’s more salty than usual

Point number three is particularly interesting to me. I happen to be a terrible swimmer. For whatever reason, I never really got that buoyancy thing down.

But because the Adriatic is really salty, floating is easy and thus swimming for long stretches of time is a breeze. I was surprised to find myself swimming and treading for over ninety minutes at a time, which is definitely an all-time best for me.

The Adriatic offers by far the best open water swimming I have ever experienced. It’s worth visiting Croatia just to swim, period.

Dubrovnik

Do you believe in dragons?

Do you believe in dragons?

If you are an HBO Game of Thrones fan, then you will probably get really excited about Dubrovnik. Old town Dubrovnik is a completely walled, picturesque town right on the Adriatic Sea. It is also one of the main film locations for Game of Thrones. Several areas of this town were used to film the “King’s Landing” scenes for this series.

Dubrovnik reminded me a lot of Venice, and for good reason—the original architect of Venice designed Dubrovnik. It’s a romantic city to walk with narrow alleys and tall sun-baked Mediterranean roofs.

This place is freaking gorgeous, but truth be told I didn’t really like it here much. It seems that the secret is out about how awesome this place is and as a result, it’s super touristy.

Definitely worth a visit, but just prepare yourself for a slightly Disneyland-like experience.

Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Pretty, but not worth it.

Pretty, but not worth it.

We were told that while visiting Dubrovnik, one must take a trip across the border to Bosnia-Herzegovina to visit the town of Mostar.

Croatia, on the whole, appears to be thriving. Bosnia on the other hand is definitely struggling and hasn’t seemed to shake off the effects of the Yugoslavia breakup in the 1990s.

Mostar is unique in that it is somewhat similar to towns you will find in Turkey. In fact, the Ottomans ruled this area of the Balkans for quite some time. The people here are largely Muslim and you’ll find some fun Turkish traditions like drinking copious amounts of black tea at all hours of the day.

While the town is interesting in its own right, I can’t emphasize enough that the Dubrovnik visitor should avoid visiting at all costs. We hired a private driver to take us to the town, in what should have been a 90-minute drive. The journey ended up taking us 5 hours (and 4 hours back). The reason why is that traffic gets bottlenecked right at the border (three immigration checkpoints!) and the immigration staff totally sucks.

Don’t go to Mostar. Instead, go swim in the Adriatic.

Thanks Jennifer!

You rock, Jen!

You rock, Jen!

The biggest highlight of our Balkan trip was getting some quality time with our old college buddy, Jennifer Hu. Jen definitely knows how to travel like a rockstar. After our time in Dubrovnik/Mostar, we spent the rest of our travels in Split, Croatia, where Jen hooked us up with a sweet Penthouse at the Le Meridien. It sure is nice to have friends who are consultants by profession (with tons of hotel points to blow).

Several massages and private boat charters later, my wife and I are feeling completely pampered and relaxed.

Thanks Jen for classing up our travel!

We’re done…sort of

Two months in Asia. Two months in Europe. After visiting 17 countries during the past four months, my wife and I have completed our international travel. We still have about two more months to go with our self-declared sabbatical, but we’ll spend that time traveling around the United States, mostly visiting family.

It’s been an incredible journey. Actually scratch that, it’s been a life-changing journey. I’ve learned so much about myself and about people in general. In my next write up, I will be sharing some thoughts on what I learned from travel.

Thanks so much for following our journey. By no means is this the end of the blog. There are many adventures that lie ahead, so stick around!

13 thoughts on “Seven days in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

  1. Alicia (Bishopp) Spencer

    I have really enjoyed following your travels. What a great adventure you guys have had! Turkey is now at the top of my list for places I want to visit.

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Thanks Alicia, great hearing from you! And yes, you definitely should check out Turkey. You and your family would absolutely love it.

      Reply
  2. Robby Ratan

    I cannot believe it’s over! You guys managed to survive for months and months without American ketchup. I cannot imagine. But actually, next time you should take me with you.

    Reply
  3. danilatham

    Hi!!

    I found your blog via the “Eight Things I learned from Travel” post and was instantly hooked on your perspective, writing style, humor, and stories. In fact, I forced my husband to read that post last night because I’ve been blabbering about your blog for the last few days. I’ve gone back through your archives and read through all of your travels so far and am wonder-struck and eagerly await reading about your US adventures.
    For me personally, I am inspired by your experiences to try and achieve enough financial freedom to travel like this one day (at this point, I don’t even have a passport, baby steps). So, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing all of this in such great detail. And, if for whatever reason your US path leads you into Huntsville, AL, consider this an invitation to stay in our home, eat and drink with us, and tell us your stories in person.
    -Dani

    Reply

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