Is what travelling is all about, right? Although I am happy to say that the experience was positive and it turned into quite a day as you'll soon see.
1) So I was resting on my hostel bed with my computer after some good food and drink earlier on, when the chap occupying the bed next to me arrives after his night out. He introduces himself as Morgan - a Frenchman. A French 'Morgan' - that's a first for me. He settles in, brushes his teeth etc and then we chat for 10 minutes before I'm close to asking him if I can turn the lights out as its gone 23:00pm. But before I do...
2) He says that he met a French speaking Swiss couple on their bus journey here and that they're hiring a car tomorrow to try and head to a couple of the attractions that the hostel tour offers and did I Want to join - especially considering the cost for the hostel tour was 30 euros! Could I have lucked out again - just like I did in Montenegro when visiting the Ostrog Monastery
3) 'Uh, yeh, sure, why not? Sounds good'. I said, playing it cool whilst thinking that sounds pretty fantastic - even if you're all strangers! And that was that. We both chuckled at the randomness of this and how decisions can be made in an instant. Lights out, let's see what tomorrow brings.
4) Morning arrives, we wake, get changed and go to the pastry shop for, yep you guessed it, pastries which we consumed on route to meet the Swiss couple and then on to hire the car. When all the paperwork was signed, we departed around 9.30am in a decent VW Polo. As most (all?) of the Europeans drive on the wrong side of the road, it's probably fair to say driving here is less challenging for my French/Swiss companions and they would do a decent job all day switching between themselves.
First up, and by far the most spectacular, was Kravica Falls. My co-companions had read online that it was hard to get here and people were better off taking whatever tour they were offered. Nonsense is our collective response to that. Whilst it was an hour away to reach, it was still very easy to get here.
Anyway no further words are needed here so please enjoy these visions of beauty, nature at its best. I posted one of these on Instagram and got nearly 25 likes - yay that's my most to-date #happyman
You can even swim in here too! My European companions jumped right on in. I, the reserved, modest Englishman looked after the bags. Hey, somebody had to :-)
Next up was the village of Pocitelj which consisted of us climbing to an old castle in the ridiculous 30+ heat.
It was still relatively early at this point although 6 hours had past. Time then for one final attraction; the village of Blagaj.
Car hire plus fuel cost me 15 euros - a 50% saving from the organised tour and we were able to set our own pace and air conditioning which is priceless over here.
We made it back to the car rental place for 6pm having set off around 9.30am so quite a day. But it wasn't over yet...
Having freshened up back at our respective hostels, the the plan was to meet up with the same group as earlier for some food. We bumped into other two lads from our hostel who asked if we were up for taking on an abandoned building before supper. No issue my end but an abandoned building - really? I'd seen enough of those. Or so I thought but their definition of 'taking on' was in a more literal sense.
Take a good look at this one; an old Bank of all things! This building was used a sniper tower taken over by Croats and Serbs during the war.
Want a closer look of it? Or should that be, 'on' it? Try below:
Surprise! Yep, a little daring I know so hopefully the folks won't tell me off but this was really thrilling and only 15 minutes earlier I wouldn't have believed this myself.
So the two lads I spoke of earlier who insisted on visiting here had heard it was possible to climb into the property and above (and below) is evidence that you can! Having landed in a garbage filled room, we proceeded to explore this massive building. Unfortunately the elevators were not working today.
It felt incredibly eerie walking up through the floors with blown out glass, old bank receipts and graffiti. Things that appeared to be frozen in time from 20 summit years ago.
View from up-top:
The picture shows the stark contrast in what remains and what has been since developed.
Hope you enjoyed this post, folks. It's also proof that a day starting off with strangers can develop into a day ending as friends - with adventure along the way.