Fierce Reel Penn

Posted in Penn Fishing Gear by Penn Fishing Gear on December 11, 2011

Fierce Reel Penn

An Increasingly Stable Spread Of Independent States Based Rather On Ethnic Populations, But Also On The Industrial Imperatives Of NewFound Independence : Capitalism, Development And Tourism!

Mystified? It's essentially a little bit of a trick question. Geographically, the Balkan Peninsula is thought of as Southeastern Europe - the landmass south of Austria and Hungary and east of Italy. It's famous for craggy and remote mountains, impressive shore and fiercely partisan populations. The Adriatic is to the west, the Black Sea to the east, Greece at the southernmost tip.

But politically, the answer is dependent upon the year. 5 centuries of war, oppression and ethnic conflict have melted and made countries on the Balkan Spur many times over. If you answered Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania or Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) - A-plus! All of them have shore on the Adriatic Sea. If you thought Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, or Kosovo - C-plus. Balkans, though not Western Balkans. Yugoslavia? No go. It crumpled over a decade ago.

The better news for travelers? An increasingly stable array of independent countries based somewhat on ethnic populations, but also on the commercial imperatives of newly found independence : capitalism, development and tourism!

Dubrovnik, Croatia, is now a top destination on Eastern Mediterranean cruises, like the one Bud and I did in 2003. Our Dubrovnik guide lived thru the 1991-92 Serbian siege, and bullet holes were still everywhere. But Maria's optimism was transmissive. "Come back," she urged. "After the roads are fixed and borders opened, you'll adore it."

7 years after we landed in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, on the 1st leg of a four-country Western Balkan road trip. Customs and immigration were smooth and efficient and our rental automobile, a Czech Skoda Fabia, waited just steps from the terminal.

We'd drive northeast thru Slovenia's Julian Alps, south along coastal Croatia and down to Montenegro's beaches. We'd finish over Montenegro's legendary mountains and into BiH to finish in Sarajevo. Perhaps best, we were flying solo - no package tours, no booking agent. Just us!


We brought a GPS with a pre loaded Eastern European chip. First stop : classic Lake Bled. Our GPS let us choose : back roads or highway. We took the tiniest roads and were straight away smitten. Each home sported lush window boxes. In the foothills of the Julian Alps, each hamlet reached higher, with taller ancient pines, and roads narrowing to single lanes, regularly weaving thru steep pastures. Around one corner a spotless church sat on top of a brilliantly green hill.

Lake Bled's Grand Hotel Toplice was magnificent and historical. It housed Nazi Officers during WW2, and was so renowned the officers had to pay for rooms, although they were the occupying forces. The Toplice was full of talkative Brits and sporty Germans, and life revolved round the lake - shaded walkways along the shoreline, swans paddling about, boats with brightly colored covers to ferry visitors around. Wonderful!

Our next stop took us even higher, to a sporthotel in Kranjska Gora. Sporthotels are distinctly European : spare decoration, few luxuries, but huge rooms to hold skis and bikes. At the Toplice we were told that Americans visit infrequently. In Kranjska Gora, USA citizens are rare. We were treated like stars and urged to go to the ski jump at nearby Planica where the world record for ski-flying was set in 2005 : 717 feet "airborne" coming off the end of the jump.

We were warned about the drive over Slovenia's 9,300-foot top, Mount Triglav, at the eastern end of the Alps. It was rainy and foggy. The route was really steep and narrow with 50 or more switchbacks. "Follow a bus," they said. "It will lead you."

Great guidance! We turned up at our next stop, Lipica, in fine shape and prepared to go to the legendary Lipizzaner Stud Farm in its 430th year of breeding and training the enchanting white stallions. We caught the dramatic "Airs Above the Ground" equestrian show and marveled at the sublime facility with dressage schools, lodging, diners and wedding chapel as reported

No items matching your keywords were found.