One thing that Croatia is struggling to come to terms with is traffic. There is a proper freeway network now, which is how come Mirko and I were able to drive to Opatija in around 90 minutes on Friday night. Getting back is another matter entirely.
Mirko warned me that tailbacks of 20km were not unknown on the way into Zagreb from the coast. When I drove back yesterday afternoon with Mihaela, Bernard and Iggy, we started encountering slowdowns 70km out. Bernard wisely decided to take a more scenic route.
This initially led us to a beautiful little motel by a bridge over the Dobra river, where we stopped for coffee. Then we arrived in the city of Karlovac. Sadly we were unable to stop to see the famous castle, and the city itself is still a little shabby-looking after the Croatian army made a stand there during the war.
From Karlovac we headed on to Zagreb but ran into tailbacks on that road, so we took a single-track route through the mountains to the town of Samobor which is a major tourist attraction and is famous for its meringue cakes.
I now have a much better idea of what the Balkans look like. There were some truly spectacular views along the way. Also, anyone who tries to conquer country like that is spectacularly stupid.