Balkan Reflections

This blog has been set up to assist in communicating with friends and family while we are in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Location: Ontario, Canada

Striving to a better day.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

It’s a grey day in the Balkans today. Fog has rolled in and apparently goes as far as from here to Ljubljana! For the poor fellow coming in to where dh is working, this is proving a difficulty.

So, I am going to recall some of the drive back from Međugorje. We chose to drive along the Adriatic Coast.

When we first arrived in Europe, and were driving to B-L, I thought I saw a lemon tree in Slovenia. It was most likely an Uglyfruit tree as Slovenia is a bit far north for citrus.

However, one does not have to go too far from here to get into vegetation that is definitely NOT available to most parts of North America!

On our drive along the Adriatic, we saw orange trees, pomegranates, Palm trees and miles and miles of grape vines.

Some of the Palms I dubbed “pineapple trees”. They didn’t, of course, grow pineapples, but they sure LOOKED like pineapples! The trunks were very thick and pineapple-shaped…sort of like a teardrop. The colour was light brown and they had the triangular markings on them from leaves of previous years, I suppose, just as a pineapple has. And of course there was the characteristic spray of palm leaves out of the top.

Orange trees and pomegranate trees were everywhere, as we got closer to the Adriatic.

We were definitely in the off-season, given that it was mid-October. It was grey and cool and had been raining. At Makarska, we pulled into a resort area, which appeared abandoned. My husband and the girls left the car (I remained with the sleeping baby) and took some pictures. The girls dipped their toes in the Ocean. It was pretty cold! Still, it was beautiful. I suspect one could have a pretty nice holiday, minus the crowds, here, even in the off-season.

I do regret that we didn’t stop to purchase some local oranges or wine. It seems that pottery and woodwork is also a fairly large commodity here. There was also what appeared to be chunks of white stone being sold. I have no idea why. The quantities were fairly small, so doing up a driveway would not be the reason.

Something else we noticed along a large portion of the trip was the terracing in the hills. So far, I have not been able to figure out the age of these terraces, or the purpose. These terraces were quite far up into the hills, where the ground looked rather inhospitable for farming. If anyone reading this can shed some light, I’d appreciate it. Googling the word ‘terrace’ has brought up a large number of restaurant and hotel websites! This is not what I’m after.

We saw some ruins of castles, too and some ruins of a more recent empire…Communism! We saw buildings that were training areas for the military once upon a time.

Just this past weekend, at the local market in B-L, there was a vendor selling domestic mandarin oranges! I am surprised. Maybe it WAS a lemon tree I saw in Slovenia!


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