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The Leader in Small Groups on the Road Less Traveled
Never more than 10-16 travelers—guaranteed!

2018 Crossroads of the Adriatic: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia

Croatia: Dubrovnik • Bosnia & Herzegovina: Sarajevo • Croatia: Karanac, Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Opatija • Slovenia: Ljubljana

90% Traveler Excellence Rating Read reviews

17 Days from only $3795 including international airfare

Activity Level:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Courtesy Small World Productions
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast

Discover Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast—including its crown jewel of Dubrovnik—with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

©2014 The New York Times
Skiing the Ruins of the 1984 Olympics

Watch an American skier learn about Sarajevo’s war-torn past at the ghostly ruins of an Olympic Stadium.

Courtesy Paul Kurti
Out of Sight

Meet four children from Albania and discover their big dreams for the future—visit Albania on a pre-trip extension.

Courtesy Epiphany Morgan
Maja: A 365 Docobites Film

Discover the treasured local tradition that's associated with Slovenia’s Mount Triglav.

Courtesy Zlatko Medić
Dubrovnik Old Town Aerial

Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Dubrovnik, the lovely and historic crowning jewel of Croatia.

FROM
$3795
17 DAYS
$224/DAY
including international airfare
16 DAYS FROM $2595 Small Group Adventure Only
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Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

Recommended Reading

The Hired Man

by Aminatta Forna

This is the story of Duro Kolkak, a 46-year-old handyman living in the fictional Croatian village of Gost. The year is 2007, and the villagers (the ones who haven’t moved away at least) still bear the emotional scars of the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s. But no one speaks much of the past these days in Gost, and while other places along the Croatian coast are growing wealthy from a resurgence of tourism, life in the isolated village remains hard.

Because work is slow, Duro takes his two dogs (the older one named Kos is blind!) on frequent hunting trips into the wooded hills above town. While tracking game, the introspective bachelor recounts in his mind events from his childhood leading up to the present, and the reader begins to suspect that the dense forests surrounding Gost hold as many secrets as they do deer.

Then, everything changes when a middle-class Englishwoman named Laura arrives in Gost with her two children. Laura and her absent husband have just purchased a quaint little house on the outskirts of town, which they plan on renovating and ‘flipping’ at the end of the summer. She hires Duro to do the repairs and it quickly becomes apparent that he is intimately familiar with the house.

But while Duro and Laura quickly become friends, the other inhabitants of Gost are made uneasy by the uninvited guests. And as more and more of Duro’s backstory is revealed, we soon learn why. (Gost, by the way, means “guest” or “visitor” in Croatian, which is fitting for the arrival of the foreigners; but when the townspeople’s haunted memories begin rising to the surface, readers can’t help thinking of “ghost”).

"… the animals had been hunted to near extinction … Then came the chaos, when men turned to hunting each other."

On the surface, The Hired Man is the story of a friendly local and his wealthy employer, but Aminatta Forna’s richly textured novel is far more complicated than that. The mild foreboding of violence that undercuts much of the book’s earlier sections first becomes explicit during one of Duro’s hunts in the forests outside of Gost. After he spots a massive wild boar, Duro reflects on what a rare encounter he has just witnessed: “Once they were quite common,” he recalls, “but then the animals had been hunted to near extinction. Men from Zagreb. Men with pale hands and expensive rifles. Then came the chaos, when men turned to hunting each other.”

That tossed-off remark certainly darkened the book’s initial light tone for me. But even as the storyline gets darker, there are scattered bits of black humor. During a visit to the town’s cemetery, Duro recalls one of his now-deceased father’s favorite jokes: “A woman goes to a fortune teller who tells her she will become a widow within the year. Her husband will die a violent death. The woman is shaken. She puts her hand on her heart, takes a deep breath and asks, ‘Will I be acquitted?’”

For Duro, Laura is the catalyst that dredges up memories of what is euphemistically referred to as the “chaos.” The chaos, of course, refers to the bitter inter-ethnic Yugoslav wars that primarily affected Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s. And late in the book, we read about some of the tragedies that Duro witnessed—and actively participated in—16 years earlier. “Laura arrived in Gost,” he says, “and opened a trapdoor. Beneath the trapdoor was an infinite tunnel and that tunnel led to the past.” We soon learn of the terrible secrets among the villagers and how the house Duro repairs is the key to many of these secrets.

While Duro is a fictional character, the events depicted in The Hired Man are very real—and no less powerful when couched in such elegant prose. Forna’s richly layered novel is packed with numerous secrets and lies, love and betrayals. And it’s a beautifully rendered story about the importance of memory and how people can become haunted by the ghosts of the past.

- Reviewed by John Bregoli

Read More About Europe

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on Crossroads of the Adriatic: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia

Read Travel Planning Guide

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