Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bus timetables in Slovenia: help is at hand

Until recently the best place to look for bus timetable information for Slovenia was the website of Ljubljana Bus Station. However this naturally has the drawback of only including routes that pass through Ljubljana. Information about other routes was scattered in the websites of Slovenia's numerous transport companies.

I've recently learned about, an initiative of the Mountain Wilderness organisation to promote public transport. Using data from the Ministry of Transport, the site for the first time brings together the schedules of all domestic bus routes in one place.

You can input any two towns to find bus connections between them. Pay attention to the footnotes beneath the schedules as they often contain important information (vozi = runs, ne vozi = does not run, vsak dan = every day, vozi ob delavnikih razen sobote = runs on working days except Saturdays; for more vocabulary including the days of the week see the site's help page).

A few examples of schedules that previously were quite difficult to find:
Kranjska Gora to Bovec (over the Vršič Pass)
Bovec to Kobarid (in the Soča Valley)
Koper to Piran (along the Adriatic coast)

Veliko Turnovo

Today's Guardian looks at Veliko Turnovo, which it describes as "Bulgaria's best kept secret". I have no argument with most of the content of the article, but I think the "best kept secret" line is misleading and likely to lead to disappointment. I like Veliko Turnovo and often recommend that people visit it, but I would never describe it as a "hidden treasure". It may not attract the mass-market tourism of the Black Sea coast or the ski resorts, but it's still quite a touristy place.

More about Veliko Turnovo on Balkanology

Monday, August 11, 2008

The mountains of Montenegro ... and more

Now that Montenegro airlines fly directly from Gatwick to Tivat, the country has become more accessible for travellers from the UK. Although the spectacular coastline will inevitably be the focus for many visitors, the country's less touristed inland mountains also deserve attention. A recent article in the Times looks at some of those inland attractions, including the primeval forest of Biogradska Gora. (The accompanying photo was apparently taken in Durmitor National Park, which is not mentioned in the text).

Meanwhile in "A touch of the Riviera in Croatia" the Independent looks at the two sides of Croatia's Hvar Island - glitzy Hvar town on the south coast, and the more down-to-earth Stari Grad in the north.

Venturing further off the beaten path, the Sydney Morning Herald carries an article about Albania. The author is very enthusiastic about quirky Tirana, but apparently not enthusiastic enough to explore Albania beyond the capital. Even so, it's nice to see Albania appearing in the Australian travel pages - a rare, perhaps even unique event.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

British Airways cancels flights to Sarajevo

Less than two years after launching the route, British Airways has announced the suspension of its direct flights from London Gatwick to Sarajevo. This is one of a number of cutbacks made by the airline due to "the difficult trading environment". The last flight to the Bosnian capital will be on October 21.