Driving through the Neum Corridor which splits Croatia into two
03/31/2016 - 03/31/2016 68 °F
Bosnia owns a nine kilometer stretch of the gorgeous Dalmatian coastline
So what counts as to "seeing a country?" You could set some sort of standard, say, visiting a certain percentage of a nation. But what about the United States, where I have lived for 53 years? There are huge parts of it that I have never seen. So, that can't work. What if you go to the other extreme? You could say all you have to do is be physically in the country -- standing on its soil. But then you could count every country you connect through in an airport. That's hardly visiting a county. The key -- to me -- is the word visit. To say you've visited a country, you have to go there specifically to see or do something. That's the mental definition I've been using to get to the 79 countries I've visited, so far.
Lots of coastal development has occurred in the Neum Corridor, as Bosnia can pour its money into a geographically smaller stretch of coastline
For example, when I was in South Africa, I took a day trip to Lesotho. I count that because I specifically went there to see its sights, albeit briefly. The same when I was in the United Arab Emirates. I visited neighboring Oman because there was a really cool medieval Arab fort across the border that I wanted to see. Which brings me to country #80 -- Bosnia-Hercegovina. For spring break, we flew into Venice, spent a couple days there, then drove to Croatia. To get to the southern, coastal city of Dubrovnik, you have to drive through Bosnia. I debated whether to count it or not.
I was expecting to see mosques rather than churches, but considering that most of the inhabitants are actually Croat Christians, I should not have been surprised
The "Neum Corridor," as it is called, is a nine kilometer stretch of Bosnia that pokes through Croatian territory, separating it into two parts. The idea, no doubt, was to give Bosnia access to the Adriatic Sea. Without that, it would be landlocked. So, the town of Neum became Bosnia's biggest (and only) Adriatic resort. It was easily the largest development we passed through along the Dalmatian Coast, excepting Split and Dubrovnik. We would cross through it twice, once going to Dubrovnik, once returning.
Vandalized dual language signs in the Neum Corridor
We'd already noticed that many signs in Croatia were dual language -- Croatian and Italian. However, in the Neum Corridor, they were in Croatian and Cyrillic script, doubtless Bosnian. Many of the signs, though, had been vandalized. The Cyrillic script was spray painted over. This got my curiosity up, so I read up some on Neum. It turns out that when they handed this territory over to Bosnia, the Croatian residents weren't too happy. In fact, I read that 92% of the residents of the corridor at that time were ethnically Croatian. I can only assume the more displeased of those are the ones who vandalize the signs.
Like the rest of the Dalmatian coast, the Neum Corridor is beautiful. We made it a point to stop in places to take some pictures. We also shopped for souvenirs. I decided that this allowed me to "count" Bosnia as my 80th country. I know it is kind of stretching my previous definition, but hey! There are plenty of others who use even more ephemeral and flimsy stop offs to count as visiting. So, there you have it! A little bit of recent history, a little bit of Philosophy, and a few pretty pictures! That is my visit to Bosnia, though I hope one day to return to really do it justice!