Month: September 2013

Flying back to Greenville

Flying back to Greenville

As planned, I woke up at 3:30am. I took a quick shower and packed my things up. Luckily there were no problems with transportation, as the taxi I reserved was waiting for me outside. We arrived at Ljubljana airport around 4:30am and I didn’t have […]

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj

The paragliding company takes us back to Bled and I decide to give Lake Bohinj another try. It takes about 40 minutes to get there. I grab a large lunch at a grocery store and sit by the water and watch a sailboat regatta. The […]

Paragliding in Slovenia

Paragliding in Slovenia

At 10:30am, it was time for me to head towards Triglav Adventures for paragliding. One good thing about paragliding as opposed to skydiving is that the flight lasts 20-30 minutes. On the downside though, you can’t hire someone else to jump to take pictures or video of you.

Looks like a good day for paragliding!
Looks like a good day for paragliding!
Triglav Adventures in Bled
Triglav Adventures in Bled

When I first talked to them on Wednesday, I asked if I could bring a camera with me and they said ‘as long as it wasn’t one of those big ones’ – funny, because that is exactly how I would describe my Canon 5d Mark II. He told me I could bring a smaller one as long as it had a strap. Problem is my iPhone doesn’t, and there’s nothing to attach a strap to.

I decided to get resourceful. In the parking lot 20 minutes before we’re supposed to meet, I take the strap off my DSLR and then loosely place it over my phone. Then, with the words of the Boy Scout motto ‘Be Prepared’ echoing in my head, I take some gaffers tape and duct tape I brought with me. I secure the straps with the gaffers tape first to protect the screen, then put duct tape on top for added security. I have to remember where the iPhone’s on-screen controls are to take a picture and unlock the screen. After moving things around a bit, I finally get it secure while having access to the front and back cameras and touchscreen.

I walk in and after waiting 5 minutes, a guy walks in and finds me, then leads me out to the truck. On our way out of town, we pick up two girls from Scotland – I couldn’t understand half of what they said.
We leave out of Bled and head southwest past the town of Lesce. Pointing out the window, he says that’s where we’re going to jump off of. He mentions it’s a good location because it faces the right direction, there’s parking at the top, and it’s not far from Bled.
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In the town near the bottom, we stop at a park and switch cars. Here 4 other guys join us: 3 tandem instructors and one guy going by himself. They secure the gliders on top of the van’s rack, then jump in the back, as me and the girls grab seats inside.

We then drive up to the top on very rough roads that tested the van’s suspension. Finally we drive and see an opening and its where we are going to take off from.

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The instructors hastily start unpacking the equipment as we start taking some pictures. Because I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, they give me full length jumpsuit to wear.
My instructor introduces himself and describes how we’re going to take off: we’re going to start by leaning forward, with our feet in place. Then, when he says to, we’re going to run and not stop. He says don’t jump, don’t lean back, and don’t stop running – I figure it sounds easy enough. I watch one of the girls take off and don’t get the best video of it, but you get an idea of it below.
Then its my turn. He hooks into the harness first, then I get in front of him. We wait for about 10 seconds, and then I can hear the glider starting to rise. I lean forward then he tells me to run. After taking about 5 steps, we lift of the ground.
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We quickly passing the take-off zone and fly towards the left. It’s incredible feeling. No motors or other sound except the wind hitting the glider. One thing I wasn’t expecting is that when you’re flying you’re in a seated position. For some reason I thought it would be more like skydiving, but it wasn’t.

Soon, we start gaining altitude. Although the two girls went right before I did, they didn’t have the best wind, so they had to fly down a different way. Instead, my instructor caught the thermals and flew us higher – easily a few hundred feet higher than where we started. I imagine that in the right wind, someone could do this as long as they wanted.

After about five minutes climbing, we start gliding down towards the right of where we took off. It’s cold and I’m glad they let me borrow the jumpsuit.

Twenty minutes after we took off, we head towards the landing zone. Landing was easy and quick.

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Safe back on solid ground, I’m so happy I had good weather to do this on my last day of my trip. It cost €95 and was absolutely worth it.

Morning in Bled, Slovenia

Morning in Bled, Slovenia

Again on Saturday morning I woke up with the intention of photographing the sunrise. I parked in such a way that it would be impossible for someone to block me in – lesson learned there. I’m changing hostels today because I’m waking up at 3:30am […]

Bled: Vintgar Gorge and Kozjak Waterfall

Bled: Vintgar Gorge and Kozjak Waterfall

I woke up early this morning to hike to an overlook for sunrise shots. I didn’t wake up quite early enough, but I still leave my room around 7:00am. But I’m quickly disappointed when I see that the hostel’s van has blocked my rental car […]

Surprised with good weather in Slovenia – at least for a couple hours

Surprised with good weather in Slovenia – at least for a couple hours

Note: This will likely be my last blog post until I get back to Greenville. It takes too long to upload pictures and I’ve got to wake up at 4:15am on Sunday so I’ll need to catch up on sleep. I’ll update this blog with posts of my last couple days when I get back.

I woke up with the intention on doing some like hiking and taking pictures of waterfalls. The parking permit on my car expired at 7:15am, so it forced me to get an early start. After grabbing my things, I drove down to see the lake before heading out of town.

Instead, I found partly blue skies, no rain, and good visibility. What luck! I made a quick decision to change my plans and do the self driving tour of the Julian Alps instead.

I start by heading north on the A2 expressway and grab breakfast on the way while filling up the gas tank from yesterday. It cost me somewhere around €40 including the food.

Soon I get off the expressway and head towards Triglav National Park, the only national park in Slovenia. I drive through a nice valley and excitedly stop to take some pictures of a blue sky. I realize I have a big smile on my face at this point.

A rack for drying hay.

Due to Slovenia’s climate, they developed a unique way of hanging hay to dry. These hayracks are an important part of Slovenian culture and there are even plans to build a hay rack museum.

Around 10 minutes later, I enter the national park and quickly meet some new friends.

They looked just as surprised to see me and I did to see them. One came up pretty close to the car to investigate, then walked down the middle of the road. After they continued on, so did I.

I then begin driving the Vršič Pass – a high mountain pass characterized by 50 hairpin turns which are numbered with signs also showing the elevation.

At turn #8 sits a small Russian Chapel. Taken from a signpost: “During World War I, this area was an important cross road for military passages. When Italy declared war to Austria in May 1915, the connection with the front line on the river Soča was of strategic importance, especially during the years 1915-1916. Austrain military commanders engaged more than 10,000 Russian war prisoners to build the road.

In 1916, while this road was built, an avalanche killed 400 Russian POW and 10 guards. This chapel serves as a place of remembrance for those prisoners who built the road that so many enjoy today.”

I continued up the winding turns stopping occasionally to take pictures.

I finally made it up to the top of the pass around 12:30pm and I’m greeted by my next set of friends: sheep!

My shoelaces must have tasted good

After my second brush with roaming animals, I grabbed lunch at a mountain top restaurant: kraut and sausage. Definitely different from Croatia and Bosnian food.

Not my picture, but this is where I ate

I continued down the other side of the mountain and reach the valley below. The Soča river is an incredible shade of turquoise. Neither of these pictures were edited.

In getting to the end of the self-driving tour, I decide to go back the way I came instead of the longer route of driving through Ljubljana. I stopped at the visitors center to grab this picture before continuing on.

I stop again on the side of the road to capture the valley one last time before I head back to the switchbacks.

I get back to Lake Bled and decide to go to Bled Island while the weather is still good. I get in a pletna, a flat bottomed boat with a design that is passed down through generations. The trip costs €12, including a 30 minute wait on the island.

The pletna I went in and the guy who rowed us there

After the island, I stopped by Triglav Adventures, the company that I’m going hot air ballooning and paragliding with. I walked in and asked about both, and he tells me that while the weather should work for both activities, they need more than one person to sign up for the hot air balloon ride in order to fly. At a price point of €220 per person, I briefly thought about just paying for two tickets, but based on the weather lately, I’d be disappointed if the skies weren’t clear. Instead, I decide to look into paragliding. I pay him €95 for it and he says to come back tomorrow at 12:30pm, and if the weather is good, I can fly then. If I don’t end up going, I get my money back. I’m keeping a close eye on the weather though.

I then grabbed desert at a lakeside restaurant. Bled is famous for their creme cakes. It has a puff pastry top, a custard creme filling, and then is topped with powdered sugar. It’s no Bled muffin, but it was amazing.

Finally, I went to Bled Castle and witnessed a medieval show which was pretty entertaining. On my way back down to the parking lot, I overhead some older British women talking about having to walk in the rain, so I offered them a ride since I drove there. They were very appreciative. I think Americans have a pretty bad reputation so I try to change that when I travel.

Tomorrow (Friday) I hope to go paragliding! Hoping for good weather…

Bled, Slovenia – Caves and castles

Bled, Slovenia – Caves and castles

In planning my trip months ago, (not an exaggeration – I booked my hostels in mid-May), I reserved a rental car, mainly to do a self-guided tour of the Julian Alps. Seeing as how the next two days are going to be overcast and raining […]

Travel day – Arriving in Slovenia

Travel day – Arriving in Slovenia

I woke at 5:45am – plenty of time to get ready, shower, and pack up my things. I checked out of my hotel and got to the bus stop at 6:20am. The bus came pretty close to on time, and after paying to check my […]

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

In order to beat the crowds I witnessed yesterday afternoon, I got an early breakfast at the hotel and set out for the trails again, this time concentrating on the Upper Lakes.
The electric boats ferry you across the lake.
The electric boats ferry you across the lake.
The dock to the upper lakes. Early in the morning, the workers pictured on the left walk the boardwalk with nails and a hammer to fasten loose boards.
The dock to the upper lakes. Early in the morning, the workers pictured on the left walk the boardwalk with nails and a hammer to fasten loose boards.
And here are the ‘real’ pictures:
The bottom of the tree was at least 20 feet deep.
The bottom of the tree was at least 20 feet deep.
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A little before noon, the crowds started coming in and I realized I’d seen as much as I wanted to of the park.

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The only way to do this park is to wake up before the crowds, then take the afternoon off. The boardwalks get so crowded, its unbearable. I had this boat to myself after returning from the Upper Lakes at 10:00 am.
The only way to do this park is to wake up before the crowds, then take the afternoon off. The boardwalks get so crowded, its unbearable. I had this boat to myself after returning from the Upper Lakes at 10:00 am.

For the rest of the day, I did some laundry in my sink (using mint scented body wash) and editing pictures. I managed to find an upload of the Clemson/UGA game on YouTube so I watched it in it’s entirety. I did find a snack before dinner though.

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I got dinner at the same place I ate the past two nights: Hotel Plitvice. This time I was less than impressed; I’m looking forward to eating somewhere else tomorrow night.

Poached asparagus topped with mayonnaise - the kiwi slices were good though!
Poached asparagus topped with mayonnaise – the kiwi slices were good though!
Cheese was warm and not the best I've ever had.
Cheese was warm and not the best I’ve ever had.

The fruit flies flying around also really damper your appetite. I killed one by smacking the table and the dining room got quiet for a few seconds after that.

After dinner I planned for my next stop: Slovenia. I have to catch a roadside bus at 6:45am tomorrow morning in order to arrive in Zagreb (Croatia’s capital) in time for a train to Slovenia. This is the part of my trip I was looking forward to the most, but the weather doesn’t look too great. I don’t mind overcast, but it’s predicted to rain for the next 4 days there. Good thing I’m spending 5 nights.

Hopefully I can still schedule paragliding, a hot air balloon rider, or skydiving; we’ll see.

Financial update

Financial update

Of what I’ve had budgeted for this trip, I have $2743.47 that I haven’t spent yet. I then counted the money I have on me: In wallet: 1310 kuna,  ~$230 $200 €100, ~$130 Hidden inside large backpack: $100 So that means I really have about […]

Travel playlist

Travel playlist

I’ve been keeping a list of all the songs I recognize while traveling in Europe, some were heard from street performers, others in the airport or a hostel. When I get back, I’ll create a playlist later and it will be like a soundtrack from […]

Day 1: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Day 1: Plitvice Lakes National Park

I woke up this morning 30 minutes before my alarm at 6:15am. I felt back to normal and hungry. I quickly took a shower, shaved for the first time on my trip, and put in my contacts for the first time in days. Already feeling much better. I grabbed breakfast from my hotel lobby before leaving for the park.
Included in my €50 hotel room
Included in my €50 hotel room

I got to the ticket counter at 6:50am, and although they weren’t open until 7:00am, she let me go ahead and buy my ticket now. I walked past the unmanned entrance station into the park.

Road looks a little bit less crowded compared to yesterday at 6:30pm
Road looks a little bit less crowded compared to yesterday at 6:30pm
Entrance to the park. No one checks your ticket before you enter, but you're required to have one on you, especially for the trams and boats
Entrance to the park. No one checks your ticket before you enter, but you’re required to have one on you, especially for the trams and boats

I started by hiking along the eastern edge of Lake Kozjak towards the Lower Lakes. No one else was in sight as I watched the sunrise above the hills. In addition to the waterfalls, this park is also known for it’s bears, so I kept my eyes out for them.

Gorgeous morning light
Gorgeous morning light
Part of the path around the lake
Part of the path around the lake

I crossed one of the many wooden boardwalks and hiked up to see the aptly named Big Waterfall – 250 feet tall. 45 minutes after leaving the ticket booth, I finally come across other people on the trail.

This is where my 10 stop ND filter I got for Christmas came in handy again - a 20 second exposure is daylight lets me capture the motion of the waterfalls
This is where my 10 stop ND filter I got for Christmas came in handy again – a 20 second exposure is daylight lets me capture the motion of the waterfalls

I then went back in the direction I came, coming across a German couple who both had tripods and were patient with which pictures they took. In talking to them, they said they couldn’t move on this boardwalk yesterday afternoon, so they woke up earlier this morning. Gave me an idea of what to look forward to.

Crowds were picking up at this point, but with a tripod I can be patient

Continuing up the east side of the Lower Lakes again, I captured some more scenes. The trout seemed to move in slow motion.

These visibility of this water was incredible.

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I then made my way to the Upper Falls, which has more impressive waterfalls. I hope to get more pictures like this tomorrow.

The sun was hitting this pool just right. Straight out of the camera - no post processing.
The sun was hitting this pool just right. Straight out of the camera – no post processing.

I grabbed a lunch at a park restaurant which wasn’t very good. Good thing it was cheap.

42 kuna or $7.30

I went back to my room to rest a bit. In walking back, I realized how crowded it got.

(Old) people everywhere
(Old) people everywhere

After resting and waiting for the crowds to decrease, I went back out to find out where this picture was shot from:

I looked for hours and saw where they took it from, but it looked inaccessible. I asked a park worker, she said that it was taken from a rock face and I had to get a written permit through the park offices. :/ Oh well – it’s a great shot though.

I did manage to get up high and take a picture of the boardwalk I crossed in the morning.

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For dinner, I ordered the same trout I’ve been watching swim around all day, with a side salad (not shown below). I’ve never had a European salad that has a substantial amount of lettuce, and this one was no exception.

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I was expecting fish fillets, not a whole trout on my plate. Memories of returning from fishing in the bay and my dad filleting fish on top of newspaper on our front lawn with our labs (Dixie, then Casey) watching closely filled my mind. I dug in.

I got Fishing merit badge… right?
Not bad!
Not bad!

For desert, I ordered Fruit Flambe: bananas and peaches flame-heated in an orange-lemon juice with sugar, butter, rum, Maraschino, and with a side of ice cream. I took a video of my waitress making it, but it will have to be uploaded when I have a faster internet connection.

Sugar, orange-lemon juice, butter, and rum
Sugar, orange-lemon juice, butter, and rum

After the waitress prepared my desert, the Asian couple sitting next to me asked what I ordered and I showed them. Five minutes later, the same waitress took their order and they ordered the same desert. I have a feeling she made a lot of those that night.

As I was finishing my meal, a mid-20s Canadian couple sat on the other side of me. I couldn’t help but overhearing. For the first time on my trip, I realized that one of the benefits of traveling internationally is being able to tune other travelers out. If I can’t understand what’s being said, their conversations just becomes background noise – can’t really do that with English.

Now its off to sleep and hopefully beating the crowds again tomorrow morning.

Shared my bed for the first time on my trip

Shared my bed for the first time on my trip

Well this was unexpected. I came back from dinner and lied down in my bed. I heard some scratching, but I just assumed it was just loud sheets. 2 minutes later, my sheets are moving. I get up and chase this guy around my room […]

Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park

This morning I woke up feeling better, but still not back to normal. I got out of bed around 8:00am after lying down yesterday around 4:00pm.  If nothing else, I feel more rested. I was planning on going to a Crossfit gym this morning, but that wasn’t […]

Not my favorite day so far

Not my favorite day so far

If I could have gone home this morning, without having to pay for a ridiculously expensive plane ticket, I probably would have.

I stopped counting how many times I threw up last night after 10 and probably spent more time in the bathroom than in a bed last night. I must have ate something that really messed with my stomach, but no idea what.

I got out of bed in the morning and went to a pharmacy. The people working there didn’t speak English so I acted out having a sore throat (from all the throwing up). Had I been in any better mood, I would have had fun with the situation. Instead, I just wanted to feel better.

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The medicine looked like an alka-seltzer, which cost $3 for a box of 20. I put it in a bottle of water, but it didn’t start fizzing, so I just took it like a pill. I spent the rest of the morning lying down in bed. If it weren’t for my schedule, I’d lie in bed all day.

Instead, I had a bus to catch at 11:10am – back to Split on the Croatian coast. Luckily, I booked a private room there so at least I had that to look forward to. At around 10:30am, me and another guy from my hostel walked the 10 minutes to the bus station and bought tickets. The 3.5 hour bus ride cost 17 Marks, or $11.45.

The bus ride was a mix of sleeping and getting comfortable. I mistakenly got a window seat which was in the full sun. I quickly got a headache and started feeling warm. The only thing I could think about was my girlfriend Julie trying to convince me to bring Advil with me. I start feeling sick and my throat started watering so I put in some earplugs to drown out the noise. They probably saved me from throwing up on the bus.

Things got interesting at 12:40pm at the Croatian border crossing. The border agent came on board and checked our passports. About 5 minutes later, I wake up and we’re still at the border.

Another agent comes on board and walks to the back of the bus where I’m sitting. He says, “You 5, come with me.” He points at me, the English guy I walked to the bus station with, and 3 Australian guys. We followed him to a small one story building. He takes one of the Australians inside with his bags, and shuts the door.

Another few minutes later, he points at me and calls me in. There’s two policemen and they ask if I have anything to declare, weapons, or drugs. I tell him I have a small pocketknife, and use my right thumb and index finger to show it’s about 1.5 inches long. I briefly remember looking up the rules on knives on the countries I’m visiting, but didn’t remember them.

He turns to his partner to translate and after a moment, they tell me to take my stuff back on the bus. I was good.

The English and an Australian guy waiting their turn
The building they took us inside
The building they took us inside
The actual border crossing. There's pretty clear signs saying no pictures, but I took a calculated risk
The actual border crossing. There’s pretty clear signs saying no pictures, but I took a calculated risk

I find out later that for the other 4 guys, they empty their bags and have them repack them. I guess they thought I was honest because I told them I had a pocketknife, and no one who has something suspicious would volunteer any information.

15 minutes since initially stopping, we’re on our way again.

We arrive in Split at 2:30pm. This time I’m happy I saved how to get to my hostel, but I really don’t feel like walking any more than I have to. I grab a taxi and he drops me off 100 meters away from the entrance. I check in at reception, and they take me to my room. It looks perfect – a big double bed with a private bathroom. I took a quick shower. Taking my shirt off, I realized it was inside out all day. Just been one of those days. I quickly lied in bed and slept.

Luckily I didn’t have anything really planned for Split, it was mostly just a stop on my way to Plitvice Lakes. To look on the bright side, I probably couldn’t have picked a better day to get sick.
Last full day in Mostar

Last full day in Mostar

Today (Thursday) I slept in until 8:00 am or so, then got some hot breakfast made downstairs by Majda. It was similar to french toast and with jelly. Very good. After eating, I took some time to catch up on my blog posts. Because the […]

First full day in Mostar – tour with Batas

First full day in Mostar – tour with Batas

I decided to take a tour of the local area with Batas, the brother of the woman who runs the hostel. I originally was going to rent a car and do many of these things by myself, but decided this would be a better choice. […]

War-torn Mostar, Bosnia

War-torn Mostar, Bosnia

I arrived in Mostar around noon. We came into the city, and I was less than impressed at first. It looked rundown and I didn’t see many other foreigners – quite the change from Dubrovnik. Upon arriving at the bus station, I said goodbye to my four hour friends and then headed south towards my hostel. Again, I had an idea of where it was, but didn’t have directions.
I walked what seemed like too far, so I stopped by a small coffee bar/pastry shop. I showed the guy behind the counter the address about where it was located and he pointed me in the right dierction. I know I could have printed out directions, but sometimes it’s fun to get lost and then have to ask for help (while getting responses in broken English).
I found my hostel about 10 minutes later. The woman running it was very welcoming and after she drew out the highlights of the city on a map, I ventured out.
I walked towards the Old Town – it seems like every European city had one of these, but each of them are different. I found a restaurant to eat lunch in that offered a terrace view of the Old Bridge.
View from my table
View from my table

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I was 8 KM for the Ćevapi, 12 for the four cheese pasta, and 3 for the beer. In total, ~$16 for two main courses and a beer with table service and a fantastic view – a great deal.
After lunch I followed the self guided tour in Rick Steves book. I walked down near the river and stopped in a mosque that is open for visitors. That’s a first for me.
After viewing the inside, I climbed the narrow minaret for a view of the bridge.
Looking towards the old bridge
and away from it
I then walked over the Old Bridge and then walked up the Boulevard. This street was one of the main fighting lines during the war in 1993.
Continuing up the road, I found the building they call the Sniper’s Tower.
Ground floor

It’s a 9 story building that used to be a bank. During the war, mercenaries would camp out at the top and shoot anything that moved. I walked up past some Bosnians sitting on the bottom steps. A woman was giving me a hard time, but I knew this place was open to travelers, so I kept walking when she tried to talk to me.

Like most abandoned buildings, it had it’s share of graffiti.
I kept exploring the top floor, and then saw there was a fire ladder to the roof. ‘Absolutely’ I thought to the myself.
Climbing the ladder was a bit challenging with a tripod attached to my backpack, but I made it up alright. My camera stuff is getting beat up on this trip, especially my tripod, but it’s worth lugging around.
Boulevard from the top of the sniper tower

 

Roof of sniper tower

Here’s a video I took at the top: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSz4Pb7X_7E

One of the things that is neat about the Sniper Tower is that there are still bullet shells up there from 20 years ago – I grabbed a few to take home.

On my way home, I passed by the same Bosnians at the bottom of the stairs, drinking. They asked me where I was from, then if I could give them any money. I said ‘No, sorry’ and walked away. They weren’t too happy about that, but I’m sure they’re used to people saying no.

After the sniper tower, I went back to my hostel and downloaded my pictures. As the sun was getting lower in the sky, I set back towards the Old Bridge.
This bridge was a symbolic link between the East and the West and was standing for 427 years before the war. On November 9th, 1993, it was shelled by Bosnian-Croat forces and fell into the river below.
Tires were hung from it to absorb the shock of the shells and reduce damage – 1993

I overhead a Bosnian tour guide saying, “I could talk for an hour and not tell you 1/10th of what that bridge meant to us”.

On July 23, 2004, they finished reconstruction on the bridge using the same material and techniques almost half a century before. As the sun began to set, I set up my tripod next to the river to capture it. Some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken so far on this trip.

I returned to the hostel and showed Majdas, the mom-like figure running the hostel I’m staying at. She was extremely happy and asked to add it to the hostel’s Facebook page, which was pretty neat.

Traveling to Bosnia

Traveling to Bosnia

I woke up at 6am to someone else’s alarm clock. I was worried that I would wake everyone up while gathering my things in the morning, but everyone else was already awake. I left my hostel and dropped the keys on the front desk. This […]

Exploring an abandoned Yugoslavian hotel: Hotel Belvedere

Exploring an abandoned Yugoslavian hotel: Hotel Belvedere

I walked back to my hostel and took a quick shower. I lied in bed a bit, but then decided I was wasting the good light at sunset so I walked back to the edge of the Old Town. On my kayak tour I heard […]

Last day in Dubrovnik

Last day in Dubrovnik

Despite trying to talk myself out of it, I woke myself up at 5:15 am to take pictures while the sun was rising, after going to sleep around midnight.

It was neat seeing the city wake up and barely another tourist is site.
The Stradun before sunset
After grabbing some more pastries for breakfast, and walking by a market, I went back to the hostel at 7:30am, all of my other roommates still asleep. After looking through my pictures quickly, I fell asleep until 11:30am.
Morning market
I woke up and grabbed some fruit at the same grocery store I visited the past couple days. No issues this time with weighing the fruit before I got to the register.
I grabbed a local bus ticket for 12 kuna ($2), and went to the main bus station to buy my ticket to Mostar, Bosnia at 8:00 am tomorrow morning. I wanted to get a ticket for 1:15pm, but it was crossed out – which doesn’t match their website. The woman at the register asked me for my passport, which I didn’t have on me, but she let me use my drivers license instead. Most people traveling in hostels just leave their passport in their bag unless they’re traveling from city to city.
After getting my ticket, I took the local bus back to the hostel. I then went out and visited a war photography museum. It was pretty well done and it showed a lot of images in Mostar, which I’m visiting next.
Front desk
Exhibit
I got back from the photography museum and grabbed a Nutella and coconut crepe on the way back to the hostel. Dubrovnik is pretty touristy and isn’t known for its exquisite cuisine. Sure, it has some seafood options, but it mostly caters to the tourist crowd with pizza, gelato, and other simple dishes.
When I got back, I noticed two new backpackers grabbed the empty beds in my room – it seems like most travelers only spend one or two nights here. After resting for a bit, I went to grab a drink at Buza, a cliff-side bar that is attached to the city walls.
Unassuming gate in the town walls

Enter through here.
You actually walk through a hole in the wall and it’s pretty hidden so you have to look for it. Despite this, it’s pretty popular for cliff jumping and watching the sunset. If offers some of the best views of the Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik for enjoying a drink. I guess you could call it a hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Anyone…? …no? Okay moving on…
On the other side of the wall…
…and this is the view you get

Island of Lokrum in the background
I watched some people jump as I drank a local beer. I moved from my table to get closer and met some Americans from DC and Philly. Some Canadians starting talking to us too and we starting taking hockey a bit – always a good conversation!
I set up my tripod and watched them jump for about 10 minutes while talking to the Americans. It was probably 40 feet to the water. After talking to them a bit, I decided I wanted to jump – and get a picture of it.
Trying to figure out who to trust my thousands of dollars of camera gear and wallet to is no easy task. But these guys looked pretty trusting.
I asked one of them to take my picture as I jumped. I climbed up got near the edge and waited. I wasn’t so worried about the height as I was slipping and hitting my head. All at once, I jumped out as far as I could and landed in the water. Not as bad as I thought! I climbed back up and saw the pictures he took, but he only got one of me.
I did it again, and this time he held the shutter down and got me from beginning to end:
It worked out perfectly. I climbed back up and thanked him. Sometimes you just have to trust people.
Panoramic views and sea kayaking

Panoramic views and sea kayaking

I slept until 9:30am and took the time to fully recover from the flight. I stopped by a small bakery store and got some pastries for breakfast. No idea what they were or what was in them, but they were good. Pastry breakfast – 28 […]