This year we spent first part of summer vacation with our brains on off mode in Greece and exploring Balkan.
Last year, when we had summer holidays over the sea, we promised kids to go to Greece this year. Greece is their place of playing, socializing with friends, place to be rollicking, at ease, to explore and enjoy. With beautiful beaches, nice locals and splendid cuisine, it charms us every time and offers total relaxation. But because Peter and I like to see new places, we visited Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia on our way home.
We are fans of exploring Greece (or any other country) on our own account. I know that not everybody likes that and it is OK. For us it means freedom. And we all like freedom. Freedom is definitely high on our basic life value-system. It is the path and the goal. All at the same time. And with freedom you get responsibility as well. They are proportional. That´s why it is sometimes hard, but it is always worth it.
We always go to Greece by ferry that sails from Trieste. If we are early enough when buying tickets, that the price is reasonable. This year we bought our ticket in January and it was 200 eur for a car and four persons. Whatever tickets we buy, we always pay insurance for risk of cancellation at Coris. That way we have no concerns – even in case of unpredicted cancelations. Those 25 hours that we spent on a ferry, aren´t lost time. It is time to reset. Time to disconnect of work, worries, electronics, it is time to switch to easier pace. It is time to play cards, read books, to talk and to sleep.
The camp under hundred years old olive trees near our beloved Parga was our shelter for 10 days in Greece. It was nice to hug locals when we met again, to indulge with delicious food at Babis, to go on morning trekking on St. Elena or to escape to Acheron ravine´s cold refuge, to go on a walk under olive trees, to hidden turquoise bays or to explore old fortress nearby. We like Greece (among other) because it is cheaper than neighboring Croatia. I know that there are exceptions, but in general, it is true. We paid 30 eur for four persons per night in our camp and our friends paid the same amount for an apartment nearby.
On our way home, we visited Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia.
Albania is … well, Albania. We have already visited its south part years ago. This time we went to Unesco´s towns Gjirokastro and Berat. I would lie if I said that things in Albania work, because they mostly don´t. Albania is poor, but it has hidden gems and people are friendly. We liked Gjirokastro, but it was too hot and we were not able to experience it the way it would deserve. However, Berat left us speechless. Wonderful city, wonderful defensive wall and castle above the city, which is under Unesco´s protection. We spent the night inside of Unesco´s castle above the city, on a hill with wonderful view that also offered a great experience. We highly recommend Guesthouse Kris, where we paid 30 eur per night with breakfast for four persons.
Than we stopped in Montenegro for a few days. There we met my sister, that works there, and my mum, visiting her. Kids saw their aunt and grandma after a long time and they enjoyed their company. Meanwhile Peter and I were able to treat ourselves with a road trip J Montenegro ran down all stereotypes and eventual prejudices. Let us not talk about crowded beaches – it has no sense coming to Montenegro because of the beaches, but because of everything else. It is too beautiful. People are open, full of life, joy, energy and enthusiasm. The views on Unesco´s Boka Kotorska take your breath away, as almost 500 steps to Lovčen on a hot day – but it was worth making an effort. Sail among drains and water lilies on Lake Skadar was gorgeous, and we cooled down in Biograd National Park and lake with the same name on North of Montenegro. River Tara canyon and nearby Durmitor were the final touch. The most beautiful part of the trip was driving from Žabljak through mountain passes Sedlo and Prijespa to Trsa and further to Plužine. We recommend it because the views are fantastic 🙂 .
Then Bosnia. I don´t know how to write that down, because I don´t want it to sound too negative. Balkan lovers will give me hostile look, but I don´t mind. When we entered Bosnia from Montenegro, it was like going from life to death. Literally. Terrible energy of the place, people trapped in the past, feeling of cold war present everywhere, bumpy roads (roads in Albania were luxury comparing to those in south Bosnia), road signs with Republika Srpska written on them … halo, aren´t we in Bosnia? I wrote at the beginning how important for us is freedom – here, in Bosnia, in places, in people, in their responds, and emotions – I haven´t felt freedom at all. There I said to Peter for the first time – let´s go home, I am too sensible for energies of this places and those people, Bosnia is not for me.
Baščaršija in Sarajevo made the whole experience a little better, even though I still had a feeling that I landed in an old, bad movie. Without life. Because of negative first expression, we would almost leave out Visoko and the pyramids.
While going there I was wondering if there really are healing pyramids, why – the hell – they don´t have enough influence to reach the whole country, so it would wake up from its sorrow and numbness and “heal”? Town Visoko near pyramids didn´t convince me with its energy. Until we came to Ravne tunnels by pyramids.
What can I say? The energy there is total opposite of Bosnian energy. Pure love, literally to cry of happiness and gratefulness. I can´t describe what is physically so special down there, but you can feel it. Children felt for the first time that rocks and crystals have energy, that they are alive and have influence on us, and so they were able to feel energy around us and in us. The influence of that energy on surrounding area isn´t possible until the tunnels are besieged. I certainly hope that they will dig them out soon.
The energy of pyramids enthuse us so much, that we already bought plane tickets for exploring them on the other part of the world 🙂 . Hallelujah.
Travel around Greece and Balkan wasn´t perfect, but it was like in real life – even if something isn´t perfect, it is beautiful anyway. Things aren´t always ideal. Places and people sometimes rouse feelings in us that aren´t just beautiful and positive. Nevertheless, they can help us to become more mature, grown-up, respectful and grateful. That also counts.