Subject: Travelling in the Balkans/Adriatic

For those of you interested about travelling in the Adriatic area here are some informations from my eastern point of view:

Slovenia - now a full member of the European Union but not using the Euro currency yet. Easy to explore by car and with plenty of accomodations from farm holidays to upscale beach hotels. You don't really need a guide as it's a little country with friendly people; English is widely spoken by young people while the older ones are more used to German- speaking tourists. Slovenia is also a good starting point for trips into the Balkans because of the close links with other former Yugoslavian country. Slovenian agencies can be helpful in arranging such trips.

Croatia - not yet a member of the EU (probably in 2006) but very tourist-friendly along the Adriatic coast. Countless accomodations available there, while a trip including the islands must take into account the logistics of ferry schedules and limited accomodations. Zagreb is a modern capital and the war ended more than 10 years ago, but some areas in the interiors and off the coast are still reported dangerous because of land mines.

Bosnia - there too the war is over but problems aren't. I don't know of travellers going around except for business purposes; accomodations are hard to find and very expensive in Sarajevo. There still is a strong presence of multinational forces to help keeping ethnic hatred out of the way. The roads and transportation aren't up to European standards yet.

Kosovo - definitely not a place to go. A fragile truce is mantained by NATO troops between the two communities of albanians and serbs but the peace and development are yet to come.

Macedonia - the ethnic struggle is less visible but far from being resolved. Anyway the country can be visited but it has limited resources available. I don't know of tours going there.

Albania - not an easy place to go. The country was disrupted by the fall of Communism and fell into the hands of local mobsters for a long time. Still now it's unclear how much grip the government has on the population; corruption and crime are to be considered as a factor in everyday life. I've never heard of tours to Albania so I guess the travelling must be arranged privately.

Bye, Paolo Trieste, Italy