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Silver Travel Book Club - Book of the Month - May 2019

I went to Yugoslavia in the late 1980s.

I have been to Croatia twice, once to Cavtat and Opatia and enjoyed both holidays. Some great cafes serving good food and very friendly people. Not overpriced yet.

I have been to Bosnia Herzegovina three times – in the 1990’s – went with my husband, it is a beautiful country, very rugged and peaceful, stunning sea views on the way in there.

My first trip to this part of Europe will be at the end of the month for two weeks. I am home exchanging in Croatia. A night in Zagreb when I arrive and a night on the way out, with time to explore the city.
Then on to Fazana for a week and Vodice for a second week.
I would love to read this book. For me it is important to know something of a countries recent history. It helps on to understand the people.
Before going to Cambodia I read Stay Alive My Son. When I visited the Killing Fields in Phnom Peng I understood far more than if I had not read the book. I wept when I returned to my tuktuk. The driver was a young man who had lost his brother and father in Polpot’s reign of terror.
We must never forget.

Exeter. UK.

I’m delighted to report that Annabelle Thorpe, author of this month’s Silver Travel Book Club read The People We Were Before, has been in touch and has the following message for Book Club members:

I’m thrilled that you’ve chosen The People We Were Before as this month’s book club read, and also that so many people are discovering this beautiful part of the world. I first travelled to Croatia when I was ten, staying in Dubrovnik, and then went in subsequent years because my brother was playing in the Yugotours (anyone remember them?) house band. It was extraordinary to see that the hotel I stayed in in Cavtat became a refugee centre during the war, and when I went back to Dubrovnik, in 1997, it was shocking to see the extent of the damage caused by the shelling and the siege. But the city has gradually been re-born, and when I was last there, two years ago, it looked almost exactly as I remember it from my visits in the eighties.

The other place that has really stayed with me is Sarajevo, which wears its embattled past with incredible dignity. Its such a diverse city, with 19th century Austro-Hungarian buildings sharing space with mosques and houses that reminded me of being in Turkey. It’s a huge shame that there are currently no direct flights from the UK to Sarajevo, as I would hugely recommend it as a place to visit

Huge thanks to Annabelle for taking the time to get in touch, and remember here’s how you can win a copy of her book this month:

Which travel memories do you have of this intriguing part of Europe, whether before this most recent Balkan conflict, or since? Which country, region or person has lingered longest in your travelling memory? And why….?

Join this Forum thread or comment on Silver Travel’s Facebook page and the most interesting two entries from Silver Travellers will each win a copy of The People We Were Before.

Thanks @june for your interesting memories of Albania. I was in Saranda a couple of years ago too, just by ferry for the day from Corfu. Fortunately, I didn’t feel threatened like someone from your group did, but it did feel as though the place was in the middle of significant change. A vast wave of money was clearly being invested in the resort, but old ruins and vestiges of the recent Communist regime were very visible too.

As you say, a fascinating country and region!

In 1978 I was travelling from Asia to the UK & briefly passed through Yugoslavia. It took another forty years to return, this time for a longer visit. The wait was worth it!

I was interested in your comments about Albania @June

I spent just over a week there in March 2017 and we didn’t see any police during our stay. We found every one welcoming and friendly. Albania describes itself as an atheist counrty and it is interesting how well Christians and Muslims co-exist together and even inter marry. We could learn a lot of lessons from them. It has such an interesting history.


went to Albania a few years ago. It was early October and an 8.30 start, grey and raining, there were no lights on anywhere, even the petrol stations were dark and we drove on, passing many of these stone domes that were typical defences of the Hoxa time ,on to Girocaster. That was splendid and we were shown round the castle( complete with American plane on the ramparts !) Tthe guide was not derogatory about Enva Hoxa but he was too cautious to say much, but was not complimentary .. the guide was a teacher doing this in his spare time.. When we walked back down to the square there was a bit of excitement as there were many police around . I have never before see any policeman sheltering under a pale green umberella.!
A man was then marched out of the hotel with his arm twisted up behind his back by plain clothes men and hustled away. Then on the way back to Saranda the coach was stopped by more police . All we heard was the word tourista. and we were allowed to go on our way. Couldn’t find out about this. at all.
In Saranda there was a group hanging around by the waters edge, and one of these approached one of our group who felt quite threatened, and fled.
this was only 2 /3 years ago Very mixed reactions to this port of call. but would not have missed it.

would love to be hearing Andrew as he reads and chats about book The People We Were Before

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