Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date: 24 May 2012
Here at Nomadic Notes I like to keep track of when I visit a country for the first time, which I celebrate as New Country Day. I’ve been back to lots of countries, but you can never reclaim the same experience of entering a country for the first time.
There have been some occasions when I have questioned whether I can say I’ve been to a country. For example my first trip to Turkey involved spending half a day at the tourist resort town of Marmaris. Technically I had been to Turkey, but I would never claim it in passing conversation. Now I’ve had another day served up to me where I’ve had to make the call if I have been to a country: Bosnia and Herzegovina.
[Welcome to Bosnia and Herzegovina? Huh, really?]
I didn’t even know I was going to Bosnia and Herzegovina on this day. I was in Croatia on the bus from Split to Dubrovnik. I don’t usually travel with a guide book in Europe and I didn’t look at a map so I had no idea of the geography. The bus takes about 5 hours and around an hour out of Dubrovnik we arrived at a border checkpoint. I wondered if I had nodded off and missed my stop, but no, there is a little bit of B&H that protrudes from Croatia and touches the coast.
[Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina]
Our passports were given a cursory glance but there was no stamp. I figured I might let this slide and not count it as a new country, like changing planes at a hub airport, but the bus made a stop at the town of Neum for a 30 minute refreshment break.
[Neum - Bosnia and Herzegovina's little sliver of coastline]
I stepped out of the bus and trod on Bosnian and Herzegovinian soil, bought refreshments, and went to the toilet, so I’m calling it as visited. I have technically been to Bosnia and Herzegovina. I do plan to visit more of the Balkans on another trip, which will include at least a few nights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Would you count this as a new country?