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Croatia: Note from Alan Parkin PDF Printable Version E-mail


The Parkins in Croatia

Or: How Not to Avoid the Neum Enclave

Alan Parkin

12 May 2007

The following email was not received until the end of October 2007. We still don't know where it spent its time on the way.

Alan and Lynn carefully planned their route down through Croatia, being keen to avoid the Bosnian enclave through which the main road to Dubrovnik passes. They aimed to use a ferry to bypass this brief passge through a country for which they had no insurance. We, and others we know, have passed through the enclave several times and have always been ignored at the control points as you enter and leave. For more about the salient, click: Neum Enclave.

The story of what ensued for Alan and Lynn makes fascinating reading and well illustrates the old maxim that life is something that happens to you while your attention is elsewhere!

Having just arrived at our far point on our spring tour, Dubrovnic, a few notes on how things are going might be of interest (oh yes they might).

Fair to say that we are delighted with Croatia, all the good reports we got before we set off hve proved to be true and the vast majority of the sites we have stayed on have been excellent. The odd dodgy one has been the result of arriving at the very start of their season when not all facilities have been opened or have been fully serviced after the winter lay up.

Dubrovnic is wonderful and we will be staying here for a few days before starting the long road back.

We have travelled right down the coast and although slow and winding the startling and magnificent scenery most of the way has made the miles pass easily. Despite the best efforts of the road engineers to dig up the southern stretch approaching Dubrovnic, we made it through with only a few minor hiccups.

Some of  you will remember my concerns over the "Neum enclave" which is a little bit of Bosnia which reaches the sea north of here and presents a problem of insurance to UK motorists.

We tried the first selected solution which is to ring and get local cover, but the number we got from the Caravan Club while producing the right person, resulted in a lack of sufficient common language to get the job done.

We then decided to take the ferry around - this was going well until we stopped for lunch in a layby three or four miles short of the port. On leaving, I forgot to put my compulsory dipped headlights back on and was stopped 400 metres down the road by a waiting policeman, who promptly fined me 300 kn - about thirty quid. The first fine in 45 years of motoring!!!

The final indignity was that we arrived at the port just in time to see the aftenoon ferry leaving its berth. Next one in five hours.

So, please don't tell my insurance company, but we adopted the fingers crossed method and crossed the infamous 9 miles, gaily waved through by happy smiling border guards, who clearly don't think there is a problem and why should we disillusion them.

We still have to get back of course........and with a criminal record.

Croatia now has a new motorway up the middle, so we aim to get to Zagreb using that, and will then return to explore Slovenia through which we passed fairly quickly on the way down. Vienna and Prague remain a possibility, but Budapest looks more and more unlikely due to lack of time and so many interesting places to see.