Back From the Balkans

It’s been just over a week since we’ve returned from our three-week campervanning trip through the Balkans. Technically I shouldn’t be calling it a Balkans trips anymore, since we only travelled through two of the four countries we planned to visit – Slovenia and Croatia. But wow, did those two deliver!

I am in love with Slovenia.

This unassuming little country checks all three of my happiness must-haves (mountains, forests and lakes) and even added a fourth one to the mix (church bells). The mountains are tall and snow-capped, the forests are dense green swathes that cover most of the country and the lakes really are that unbelievable shade of turquoise you see on Pinterest. Picture in your mind’s eye the forest in which Hansel and Gretel got lost – I’ll bet you just imagined Slovenia.

Croatia was almost as amazing.

To be honest, I think our enchantment with Slovenia doesn’t do Croatia any favours. Had we visited Croatia first, we might have liked it a little more, but now it almost feels like Slovenia’s ugly red-headed stepsister (sorry red-heads, it’s just an expression!). Croatia is anything but ugly. Think red-tiled roofs, fortress cities the colour of dark sandstone, and an ocean so deep blue your heart aches for it. I can understand why Dubrovnik captured the imagination of the location scout who picked it to be King’s Landing.

Did this trip fill the creative well? Indeed! I have at least three new story ideas and a wealth of beautiful settings for them to take place in. I am always inspired by travel, and while I don’t write any words while I’m on the road, my imagination is sparked by the places I visit.

So now we’re back home and everything is that dull shade of grey that overlays a mundane life. Sure, I’m happy to sleep in my own bed again, and not to have to share my bathroom with twenty-odd strangers anymore, but I’d rather be exploring a winding mountain road, or letting my imagination wander through the twists and turns of a medieval castle, or eat cream cake for breakfast (seriously people, why is this not a staple food?).

Slovenian cream cake – yum!

To combat this dour state of mind, I’ll be diving straight back into Ambrose’s adventures at every possible opportunity I get. My life may not be as exciting as his is, but at least I get to live vicariously through him. I hope you’ll join me on one of his adventures very soon.

Have you been to Slovenia or Croatia? Did you love it? Do you get post-holiday blues too? Where is your favourite fictional setting in real life?

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