Tag Archives | Bosnia and Herzegovina

On the Road Less Traveled

We took turn after turn on dusty lonely dirt trails, passing thick plantations of tall lush trees and seemingly deserted shanty towns.  The setting sun was casting a red hue on the trees that matched the color of the road.  We finally reached our appointed destination, a small bed and breakfast located on a small rise overlooking forest and meadow.

flat African tree

Beautiful Swaziland

Our travel weariness must have been written on our faces.  The welcoming attendant at the front desk dispatched two young women to mind our luggage and settle us comfortably in our assigned abode.  The service offered by this small establishment rivaled any 5 star hotel.  The proprietors were a lovely Dutch couple and was completely staffed by young women.  Our short stay at this little outpost of hospitality has forever changed Luci and I.  Our hearts were struck by the hospitality, generosity and sheer beauty of the place.  The paradise we have described is Swaziland.

“You are going where??!!”  is usually the typically response we get when we tell friends and family about our next adventure destination.  “Why would you want to go to (insert remote location)?”  The answer is in the paragraph above.  Now the rest of the story from the portrait above.  Swaziland suffers from a number of challenges, poverty, hunger, disease epidemics and numerous social ills.  They don’t tend to put those on the glossy tourist websites. As a traveler, you can choose to let this scare you off, or you can dig deeper and find a treasure as we did in Swaziland.

In addition to Swaziland, we want to introduce you to some off the beaten travel destinations that might change your life.  Strap on your walking shoes, its time for adventure!

Bosnia

We are often asked which has been our favorite location out of the travels, Luci will always say Turkey (stay tuned!).  Mine would be Bosnia.  Bosnia is frankly one of the most beautiful, intriguing, and difficult places we have been.  Our trip, which wasn’t an extended one by any stretch, gave me a taste for a land filled with lush forests, dramatic waterfalls, towering mosques, and war hardened residents.  Bosnia offer travelers historical insights, out of door adventures including hiking, rafting and camping.

Greek coloumnsTurkey

As a kid, I always dreamt of being teleported back in time.  I wanted to live history.  I wanted to see, taste, smell, and interact with the scenes of great literature.  Turkey has made this boyhood dream a living reality.   The characters of the bible walked the same streets as I did.  We drank from the same springs.  I ate wonderful olives, savory meats from a roadside kabab, and partook of the most amazing Baklava!  Turkey brings history to life.

Read about our Open Love Letter to Istanbul.

Turkey was a surprise to both Luci and I.  We were discussing where we might want to go in Eastern Europe.  Turkey came up and we both said, yea….Turkey.  We started our in-depth research about the country, began our quest to learn everything we could about the history, culture and language.  Turkey offers great shopping in the Grand Bazaar, delicious cuisine, ultra friendly natives, and a window into history that has no rival.

Maldives

“Where exactly are the Maldives?” Ask most people, and they might have a challenge pointing the country out on a map.  The collection of roughly 1000 islands is located due south of India and west of the African Continent.  The island country is bathed in the Indian ocean. The temperature ranges from 75 to 90 degrees year round, making it a wonderful year round destination.  It offer travelers seclusion that rivaled by few places.

beach

Lovely Maldives

The most difficult choice is which island and resort to pick!  There are so many options for holidays to Maldives.   Lodging offerings range from Spartan shacks on the beach to five-star full service resorts.  The warm clear waters offer great snorkeling and diving.  Rent a boat and go island hopping.

A few words of warning about traveling off the beaten path.  First, be prepared.  Do your homework. Then be completely flexible.  Things including hotels, roads, and people that were to be there for you might not exist.  This is truly the beauty of traveling where few do.   One of our tricks to traveling well is humility and openness.  You must be willing to try new food, smell new smells?, and be completely removed from your comfort zone.  In return the dividends of off the beaten path travel will greatly enrich your life.

Tell us, where have you traveled off the beaten path?  What lessons have you learned?  Where would you like to go?

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The Best and Worst of the Fighting Couple 2011

This year was a great one for the Fighting Couple!  We traveled to some amazing places and some duds!  As we bid 2011 adieu, we wanted to offer you our best and worst of the year:

Lets start with the numbers:

Nights on the road: 65

Countries visited: 7 (Italy, France, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Canada, Austria)

Pastries eaten in Paris:  15 or so!

Most expensive water:  15 euros per bottle! (Italy)

Ugly American travel moment:  Mike-Ironing his Brooks Brother shirt with Evian water while staying at a hotel on the Versailles property.

Best Fight:  So many to choose from!  One of the best was our “Sticker” fight.  As Mike drove us across the border into Slovenia, to our surprise the toll booths were unmanned.  Mike took this as there was no need to pay tolls.  (Don’t make this assumption.)  Mike drove on throwing caution to the wind despite strongly worded objections.  This decision would end up costing us big time!  We had to pay a huge fine at the border leaving the country.  You must buy a “sticker” when entering Slovenia.  In the end, “lively” discussion followed.

Bloggers that we were able to get to know in 2011Traveling Cannucks (Cam and Nicole), Jouneywoman (Evelyn), Bohemian Trails (Megan), Couple of Sports (Jakie and Mark), Our Tasty Travels (Erin and Brett).

Fave Location Mike:  Easy.  Bihac, Bosnia, hands down.  Did we stay in a four star hotel? Nope.  How many thought provoking tours did we take? Nada.   Luci and the other couple traveling with us really humored me on going to this border town.   Bihac was the nucleus of the war.  The first and last shots fired were in the area.  Our adventure to Bosnia began at the border.  The border agent was a little surprised to see American passports.  It took a little convincing to explain that we were tourists coming to his country.  Bosnia, what little of what we saw of it, was lush and green.  As we drove along, we saw the bullet ridden homes along the way.   We stayed at charming little hotel called the Hotel Opal.  We ate at the little riverside restaurant in the hotel.   Food was surprising good!  What made this my fave is the blatant tourist nature of Bosnia, pristine beauty, storied history, and its rough complexity.

Fave Location Luci:  Lake Bled, Slovenia!  Lake Bled is girls’ fantasy camp. It looks like a fairy tale and the Lake’s famous dessert is worth every calorie. Lake Bled is a mountain lake nestled in the heart of the Julian Alps. Slovenia is the cheap man’s Austria. While it’s on the Euro, prices are at least a third cheaper. What else could a fairy tale want? Goregous lake. Yummy cake. Cheap. For a perfect fairy tale moment, spend the day at the lake.  In the middle of the Lake Bled, is an island topped by a church.

Lake Bled

The Church on Lake Bled Island, Slovenia

Rent a row boat for less than 10E and make your spouse row you across the lake. Once you reach the island, make him carry you up the steps to the church. If your spouse makes the 99 steps, you’ll have a happy marriage. If you don’t, well, you’ll be like 1000 Fights. Ring the bell the church bell and a wish will come true. Guys, if you don’t want row, you can get in an oversized gondola called a plenta and someone will row you along with 10-12 other lazy tourists. After visiting the church, visit one of the many lakeside restaurants and dive into famous kremšnit. The cake has a layer of whipped cream followed by vanilla custard and topped with filo dough. As someone who loves, anything creamy, the cake is heaven in every bite. To see pictures and more see:

Rab Island, Croatia

Leaving Rab, Isand.

Worst Location Mike:  This is another easy one for me.  I really dislike Rab, Croatia.  Dislike perhaps is not a strong enough word.  I just want to give them a benefit of a doubt…Being the crazy planner that I am, I had everything planned out.   The first thing you need to know about Rab is that it is a desert island.  It is not attractive.   Three months prior to our arrival, we had reserved a boat to rent for the day.  It was going to be a blast.  We were going to hit a couple secluded remote beaches.  Sounds like fun huh?  Well it took an hour to find the boat dock.  We approached the proprietor, made small talk and once we asked about our boat reservation, the “gentleman” forgot English, and there was no longer a reservation, regardless of the 3 emails I had in hand to the contrary.  The day only got worse!  We decided to drive to one of the public beaches…in route we were following three cars following a tractor.  The tractor driver waved us all around.  So I passed on a flat and straight patch.  All of the sudden: Lights and Siren!  We were pulled over and ticket for passing in no passing zone!  No sign!  Following other cars!  I really dislike Rab!

Worst Location Luci: I hate Las Vegas. The food is expensive. The shows are pricey. The museums are over rated. There are ads of naked women everywhere. The free things to see in casinos are so buried deep inside you need a map to get out. I don’t drink or gamble so what is there for me to do? Nothing. I could never go back and be happy.

Big Winners!:  This year we ran two contests.  The first was our famed Hottest Travel Blogging Divas and Hunks.  We highlighted 3 gals and 3 guys that are travel bloggers.  It was a little tongue in cheek but it gave us a chance to highlight some incredible travel bloggers.  Just in case you missed it, Keith from www.traveling-savage.com was crowned King and the lovely and talented Lillie of  http://www.aroundtheworldl.com/ was crowned queen.

The Kahle's Winner of our Mistletoe Moment

Our other contest was our Mistletoe Moments during the month of December.  We asked couples to submit their best magical moment together during the year.  We were stunned by the response!  There were so many touching stories of couples finding love at home and abroad.   The response really has inspired us.  The winning moment came to us from the Kahle’s at http://www.wanderlivin.com/.  Congrats again!

TBEX-This year we decided to attend the annual travel blogger revival called TBEX.  We are so glad we did!  TBEX this year was hosted in scenic Vancouver, BC, Canada.  For those of you that have not attended, it is a two-three day affair, with travel bloggers from across the globe.  Luci was skeptical about attending at first, but it really turned into a funfest.  Presentations were given on different travel and technical topics.  It was wonderful meeting the faces behind the Facebook pages.

Waterfalls i Croatia

Waterfalls in Croatia

We want to thank each and every one of you our readers.  Thanks for your comments, thanks for your interest in our crazy fights.  Stay tuned we have some exciting stuff planned for you in 2012!  Buckle up!

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