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Europe: Eastern From Russia to Croatia, the Danube, Iron Curtain era vestiges, Pilzner beer, Czech it out!

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Old 05-05-2005, 02:01 AM   #1
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Iím heading to Europe in September for school then backpacking for a few months and I have always been interested in visiting the Balkans (Croatia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, etc) and I am thinking of taking a detour into this area. I would really like to visit Sarajevo, but I am wondering if anyone has backpacked this area and can give me some info on safety, hostel availability and prices and any other info.

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Old 05-08-2005, 02:27 AM   #2
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Croatia is definitely part of the European tourist scene, now. There should be a full range of amenities. It's pretty much just among Americans that it sounds so exotic and undiscovered -- the Europeans have been going back there for years. Slovenia is just "being discovered" now by the tour companies. Now, Bosnia, that'd definitely be off the beaten track!

Sorry I don't have hard info...but the former Yugoslav republics are definitely on my radar.

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Old 06-02-2005, 12:40 AM   #3
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Hey, I live on the Balkans, actually in Macedonia. It's a great place to visit. the ppl are very hospitable and the prices are low >> this goes for sure for Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia (prices are higher in Croatia and Slovenia, but as an american/canadian, my guess, u'll find them cheap too)

In Macedonia you can find a place to stay most likely in a private house. I'm not sure about hostels. In Skopje, the capital (where I live) I know for only one hostel. private stay will cost u 4-5 euros a night (5-6 USD approx.) and maybe even cheaper considering that Sept. is out of season time. a GOOD traditional meal in a regular diner will cost you no more than 2-5 euros.

for sightseeing I reccomend: Skopje and its surroundings, Ohrid and Prespa Lakes, Mavrovo N.P. and Pelister N.P.
about Sarajevo, I haven't been there but I'm sure it's safe (just don't wonder thru fields alone ).

have a good (no, great!) time on the Balkans
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Old 06-05-2005, 03:12 AM   #4
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WELCOME TO THE BOARDS, FRIXON!

Hey, it's great to have someone on the Boards "on scene" in Macedonia. It is certainly considered by most to be "off the beaten path." I have a buddy here in Ohio who is from Macedonia.

So, what do you do in Skopje?

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Old 06-08-2005, 05:01 AM   #5
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[b]well, I live in Skopje. it's my hometown.
"off the beaten track" that's for sure.
many ppl think like there's a war or something, but it's peaceful and tuorist-friendly.
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Old 07-24-2005, 06:56 AM   #6
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I spent a month travelling from the south of france through to Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.
One of the BEST travel timnes i`ve had its easy to say.

Slovenia was an eye-opener.Its kind of a forgotten gem in a way!
Go and hang about the Lake Bled area for a bit - its amazing.I`m earger to go back there.
Croatia is cool, i was only in Zagreb(great place fora day or two, nut i found got boring pretty quickly), and Dubrovnik.
Bosnia is great, Mostar was really interesting and gritty - the realities of war start to kick in half way between dubrovnik and mostar when you start to pass bombed out houses and Kfor vans etc...see the mostar thread for accomadation details, Omer there can sort out a homestay for you in Sarajevo - the only way to go if you want good bosnian food and help out the locals a bit.
Sarajevo is really excellant - stayed there for 3 days(in said homestay), and could have stayed for 3 more!Great nightlife, friendly people - just don`t go wandering out towards the suburbs where the tower blocks are(past the holiday inn) - it can get rough...alot of desperate people living there.When we were driving into Sarajevo on the bus we were pretty freaked, the suburbs consist of tower blooks with massive holes in them from missiles and everything has bullet holes or is destroyed - this was the front line after all.But once you get into the city everything is cool and its just like any other normal city, except for the turkish/muslem influence in the old town which is special.
The journey by bus from Sarajevo to Belgrade is one of the best journeys i`ve taken - although other people find the 12 hours in a bus a bit much!Scenery is nothing short of amazing as you dip into valleys and scale mountain roads.Then you reach the flat lands of Serbia going through serbian towns, seeing the locals and mixing with them as they get on and off the bus, a freindly bunch with no english!Nice girls though!.Your not likely to meet many backpackers along this route!The visa requirements are no longer there, so you won`t have to worry about that - we held the bus up for 20 minutes while the locals muttered about how silly it was for Serbia to have a visa system during hard economic times - of course a few days later they abolished the visa!So much for our 50 euro each!
Belgrade is cool - felt safe, except when arriving and getting off the bus we were swamped by a bunch of grotty persistant taxi drivers!!Maniacs!
Spent a few days out and about in belgrade, checking out the bars and seeing the city - top place with a sometimes surreal feel to it!

This is all over 4 weeks - spending about 900euro - bear in mind we were out drinking quite often and stayed 2 night in Venice in a 4 star hotel!(Italy i thought was over-rated though..)


Go and Enjoy!!!
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:25 AM   #7
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Awesome, Rimbaud! I'm saving Slovenia as a "back pocket trip." One of these days, when my scheduled trip falls through, I'm going to whip out Slovenia and head that way! Croatia, well, I'll probably get there soon, too. I hadn't even considered Serbia, as yet. I figured it was still kind of soon after we were dropping bombs there! Glad to hear it worked out for you, though.

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Old 07-25-2005, 09:35 AM   #8
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On a side note - i`m Irish - so not sure about the American relations thing!
I`m sure its ok there for americans now though - but...hard for me to say really!

The bus driver nearly did`nt leave us on the bus from Sarajevo to Belgrade(he was a serb driver) - he insisted on seeing our passports, and waas all apologies and sorry;s etc.. when he saw we were Irish.
Make of that what you want!

There was still a few people selling anti-Nato/american t-shirts/postcards around Belgrade also.But nothing major really.
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Old 07-30-2005, 04:34 PM   #9
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Serbia was quite a surprise, the locals were all very friendly and helpful despite recent events. Although it was weird going to the military history museum and seeing them proudly displaying parts of a downed US helicopter and the uniform of the pilot killed only 6 years ago.

I'm British by the way.
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