Subject: Croatia now
I think Gretchen has already laid out the general layout, but maybe some of you would like a bit more detailed informations. Former Yugoslavia is now splitted in several different countries: Slovenia - the northern part, bordering Austria, Italy and Hungary. Very nice country with great views of countryside, mountains and lakes, it was widely discussed on the list some time ago. It has a small coastline on the Adriatic sea, very attractive. Croatia - it's like a sort of U upside down, covering both part of the central plains and the adriatic coast, Istra (or Histria) is the triangular shaped peninsula in the north, a well known place of sea resorts never endangered by the war, which was fought about 100 miles south, in the Kraijna (mountains not fra from the coast). The Dalmatian coast from Zadar to Dubrovnik was not a battle zone, but suffered for years artillery shots from the mountains where the Croatian Serbs were positioned. In the middle of the U is Bosnia and Hercegovina, the real war theater till the peace agreement in 1995 which ended the Sarajevo siege too. Montenegro - officially part of New Yugoslavian Federation but very willing to be independent, starts south of Dubrovnik and ends at the Albanian border, covering the rough mountain zone, wonderful and scenic, between Adriatic sea and Serbia Serbia - reduced in size after the expulsion of Serbs from Kraina and Kosovo, lies on the large central plains crossed by the Danube. Beograd used to have a nice old town centre, full of restaurants with gipsy music, but now, who knows? Makedonia - one of the more little former republics, independent and Europe-oriented, but trapped between Serbia and Greece, two uncomfortable neighbours due to border quarrels.

Except for Histria, which has it constant flow of tourists, mostly German and Italian, the Croatian coast of Dalmatia and its hundreds of islands was neglected by tourists for many years: fisrt the civil war, then the slow reconstruction and the constant threat from Bosnia fighting, and in 1999 the bombing campaign on Serbia. This year's informations are of still reduced tourist flow on the coast south of Zadar, a little better on the islands, but accomodation prices are high (in addition to the loss of income, Croatia introduced this year the

VAT tax in order to get closer to European Union stardards). That's a pity, because the coast and the isles can't be compared to any else in the Mediterranean.

If you wish to know more, just ask.

Bye

Paolo