Thursday, May 31, 2012

Croatian Countryside

Bullet holes : Croatia

While Croatia's autobahn / autoroute was state-of-the-art and Plitvička Lakes were spectacular, the countryside still shows signs of the end of Communism, the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the wars that ravaged the Balkans in the early 1990s. Just a couple of photos as we were heading up to Austria.

This church is closed up and the tower was riddled with bullet holes : Croatia

The wars in the former Yugoslavia pitted long-time neighbors -- Serbs and Croats, Bosnians and Albanians, Yugoslavs and Macedonians, Christians and Muslims -- against one another in tragic, inhumane, devastating, wasteful ways. The areas we traveled through are, more than 20 years later, still recovering from the destruction of war.

Abandoned and shuttered factory : Croatia

This photo doesn't do it justice, but this was one of the biggest factories I had ever seen (and I've visited some pretty big paper mills in the US). I wanted to climb over the fence and wander the grounds, but thought it might be better not to attract unwanted attention.

Making it work : Croatia

Unlike the farms near our home in France and Switzerland, the equipment in this part of Croatia was old, small-scale, and held together by spit and a prayer. The contrast between the developed west and Western Europe was pretty stark. Notice also the house on the left. The construction is new. More than likely, the original home was destroyed during the Balkans War and either the original family has since returned to rebuild or someone got a smokin' deal on a piece of property that was abandoned or confiscated and they're building a new home.

This was my first trip into a country emerging from a recent war (i.e. in the last 20 years) and it was a bit stark and sobering.

Photo copyright: Janet M Kincaid, 5/2012

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