Heading south from Sarajevo to Mostar, viewers with a good sense of direction might have deduced that my next country would be Croatia and therefore next up, Dubrovnik - the so called Pearl of The Adriatic. I'm willing to bet that whoever coined that didn't spent much time in Montenegro or Albania!.
However, I was facing a major dilemma and as of yesterday morning, this was still unresolved.
Dubrovnik is such a popular tourist spot that has been made even more popular since the 'Game of thrones' series used it for location. As such, the cost for me to stay here was prohibitive. Let me provide you with some context here. The cost to stay at a basic HOSTEL (not hotel) in Dubrovnik was three , and often four, times the cost of everywhere else I have stayed in my travels to-date. That's insane!
Whilst I could afford to pay the price for a night or two, true to character, I refused to. My mission was now to find out how I can get to see Dubrovink but not pay the prices that everyone else seems acceptant of. Then, out of nowhere, I had a light-bulb moment - which admittedly really doesn't stack up against rocket science or brain surgery but still, if was Inspector gadget I would totally use my 'Go go gadget' arms to pat myself on the back.
The idea? Remain within Bosnia & Herzegovina in a comparably cheap town relatively close to the Croatian border.
The plan? Find a service that would provide daily transportation to Dubrovnik and back.
The saviour? A small town called Trebinje.
Did I pull it off? Oh yeah. But getting there was an experience - easily the most strange, frustrating and frankly odd bus ride I've ever taken. A tale for another time folks...
Anyhow, having arrived at this random place that was to act as a stop-over to reach Dubrovnik, well things went a little off-plan as Trebinje completely charmed me.
The last time I left like that was Zabijak in Montenegro. So much so that I've already been here for two full days and I plan on doubling that! I did accurately update my location on the map applet a few days ago the eagle-eyed viewers amongst you may have noticed.
Unlike Zabijak, this little town is thriving and busy with people but yet it remains incredibly slow-paced. Again, it's one of those intangible things that I 'felt' within a couple of hours of being here. I checked into Hostel Polako - a new hostel that had only been open since April this year (2015) and one that was set-up by a travelling couple fresh with a clear understanding of what their guests need based on there own recent experiences. They fell in love with Trebinje as soon as they stumbled upon it and the fact that there are no hostels within 30 minutes from here, well, talk about fate...
Trebinje is super-relaxed but yet there is enough going on in and around the town for it not to be sleepy. Each night I've been out to the main square, it and the surrounding area are packed with people enjoying life. It even has the biggest supermarket I've seen on my travels which I found amusingly random. Therefore it shouldn't surprise you hear that over these two days, I've done a lot of chilling. I've also hung out with the hostel owners and an friend from Mostar who came down after I explained my masterplan about getting to see Dubrovink on the cheap.
First up, I went about visiting a Serbian Orthodox monastery high-up on a mountain.
Naturally being so high-up this was going to offer some fantastic views of the city:
Next up, an open air swimming pool. Haven't seen one of these in years! Naturally I had to give it a try and I paid less than 1 GBP to enter. Bargain.
Thirdly, a visit to the winery considered to be one of the best in south-east Europe. I say, I say...
I didn't know what to expect but I certainly didn't expect all these visual delights, starting with the building itself!
And would Sir like a tour of the wine cellar?
And would Sir like to try (at a cost if course!) some of our wine?
Hmmmm, let me think about that!?
Watch that pinky!
And then later on to top off the evening we all walked along the river to the old bridge whilst the Sun would set behind the mountain peaks:
A lovers spot conveniently (or coincidentally) thought of:
Along with Zabijak in Montenegro, I highly, highly recommend this town and the hostel I stayed in Hostel Polako.
My hope is that backpackers out-there (along with some good marketing from Lauren and Bartek), have the similar brainwave that I did and to look for accommodation outside of Dubrovnik. If they do, and they come here, they'll without question find this place as wonderful as I have with the added bonus of it saving them some Croatian pounds. It will also provide the owners, my new friends, a steady income stream in this their first year so comon people, get on down here.