Embracing the Montenegrin Way

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Surprise, surprise, there are stereotypes among the Balkan nations, and the Montenegrins have a reputation for being lazy. Our tour director, Oleg, who is Croatian, delighted in telling us jokes in this vein, and Karel got into the spirit and looked up some good ones online. Some of our favorites: A man swimming in the…

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Senseless Acts

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During our stay in Sarajevo, our tour group made an excursion to the nearby city of Mostar, in Herzegovina. The ride was spectacular, along the turquoise Neretva River. In my near-total ignorance about this part of the world, I had no idea that it has such wild, rugged mountains. One time, we asked the bus…

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Name: Sarajevo – Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

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The ride by public bus from Belgrade, Serbia to Sarajevo, Bosnia took us through scenic countryside and mountains and took the better part of a day. Although the country seemed beautiful and fertile, we noticed that many of the houses appeared empty. I’m not sure, but this may be a lingering after-effect of the Balkan…

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When Cars Take Over The World

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In the competition for most embattled cities, Belgrade may be the all-time champion. In its long history, it has been attacked or besieged well over a hundred times. It’s been razed to the ground, bombed to rubble, pillaged, and rebuilt scores of times. It has changed hands from one power to another every few decades…

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Revisionist History Lessons

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Budapest is very big, very old, and very beautiful. Long ago it was two different cities that united to straddle the mighty Danube. It is poised near the edge of the Orient. You might think the maturity of the city, like the grand prospects from the tops of its high hills, would lend a certain,…

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