Back in Hrvat(ska) or a comedy of errors

Sarajevo/Mostar/Split - 30/08/2010

In parts of Sarajevo you could be forgiven for thinking you were in some quaint Bavarian town such are the pockets of picturesque to be found there. Its sights are few and pockmarked with bullet holes and even having seen them there is a sense you are missing something of the place. The real gem lay to the south. Constructed by the Turks in the 1500s, blown up by the Serbs in the 90's, it stands over the Neretva river fully restored and fully worthy of a visit. Solid towers suspend a high, arcing bridge 21 metres up. Locals will cheerfully throw themselves off it after a whip round has produced sufficient Kuna (I think they accept euros too, no cards.
Heading again for the border and the rest of our Croatia leg a couple of nice gentlemen with 'Polizi' on their uniform flagged us down, "Documents". Speeding apparently. Michael 'James Bond' Hartles was diplomatic and admonishment delivered we were let go without a fine, fortune smiled on us (or so we thought). The Croatian police proved more intractable. A seemingly safe overtaking move fell foul of their road markings and once again we had the long arm of the law beckoning us to stop. No amount of innocent tourist charm could persuade these guys to let us off and a 500 kuna fine was duly levied. Nearing Split we pulled over outside a campsite. Deciding that this would be our home for the night a minor misjudging of kerb location induced a scraping, grinding halt. And one flat tyre. As Mike got handy with his jack (once I had established the correct orientation) I supervised and mused on what other tricks fate's cruel hand might play. The spare tyre needed air and the campsite owner directed us to a garage a curiously long way up the coast. I got started with tent erection while Mike sought air. As the rain really started coming down he returned having inflated the tyre and had (from the directions) also located our nearest compressed gas distribution centre. Quite why the camp owner thought we wanted to buy gas canisters wholesale is a mystery I will never solve. We sheltered from the rain under a sun shade savouring our dinner of red wine and peanuts. Once sufficient quantities of the vino been imbibed the lure of the sea was too much. Swimming out to the nearest anchored boat we laboured to climb aboard and, bobbing gently in the Adriatic, could only smile at our day of mishap. To complete the circle on returning to shore it appeared our clothes had been half-inched from under our noses. Extensive and frantic searching revealed that someone had left them by the tent, likely us. Still, on the bright side my bag is now lighter given that I threw my shoes into the sea.

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