Merry Month of May

Early17b-001Woz out doing a bit of ball catchin at me new dog beach the other day and these rowdy lunatics turned up.

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Kite Surfing, me socks… ya just distracting me gullible Humans from chucking me ball so clear off the lot of ya!!

Alright it was actually pretty cool. Wish I could have a go, I’d be great at it as long as someone glued me paws to the board, I’d hold the kite in me jaws and away we would go heh heh…

 

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Any by the way as I was such a good prezzy opener last Christmas I have now formally been promoted to Chief Prezzy Opener!

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Here’s me in action on Curly Humans recent birthday.

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Only thing… I was certain there would be another ball in there for me like on me birthday last month but nadder… not a thing. Bit miffed about that since I did such a great job.

 

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But then… A ball – loon. And what the blazes is it doing up there just floating… This is kinda weird! I bet me Humans’ have stashed it up there just to tease me, rotter’s. Better get it none the less.

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Oh I know it’s filled with helium! That’s why it floats. I’ve seen Curly suck some out of these floaters to make her voice go all squeaky. If I just get a bite into the thing and I will bark like a chihuahua!

Until next time…

R

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A Border Collies 14 Year Blog-A-Versary

Yep I’ve been blogging on WordPress since March 2015 that’s 14 dog-years mate! And besides that I will be 5 in human-years next month, that’s… er… 35 dog-years, just sayin. I’m feelin decidedly middle aged! Should I go out and get me Humans to purchase a flash ball?, I’m thinking something really big and flashy like …

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I know… one those balls you can actually get inside and run on water! Yeah!

 

 

 

 

Is it true, this myth that 1 human year equals 7 dog years? This seems a little unfair to us dogs. Anyway various dog breeds have different average life spans. Me I plan to live forever anyway, I have a big world to see yet…

These are the 16 countries I’ve visited in me lifetime so far:  Germany, England, Wales, Ireland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Italy, UAE, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland and Australia. Yeah, I know, the UAE is pushin it a bit but I did overnight in Dubai on me way to Australia! Who knew eh? I’m a BC rescue and this is my life! To tell the truth though now that we have moved from Europe to me Humans home in Australia we haven’t travelled so much, it’s pretty isolated out here and I’m getting itchy feet…

Anyway back to my blog-a-versary, here are some of me fav blogs over the last 2 (Human) years and a special thank you to all of you who followed me adventures in those early days. Here are a few that were deemed popular or were me own personal favs. Enjoy!

My very first post in March 2015

The Car-0 

 

Why I have a problem with The Car, April 2015

 

 

Border Patrol

 

Border Patrol, Lorsbach, May 2015

 

 

 

A border Collie at Castle Eltz

 

 

Castles in a Heatwave, The Rhine Region, July 2015

 

 

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The Airport Dog, September 2015

 

 

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The Rugby Dog, September 2015

 

 

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How to get Human Food, October 2015

 

 

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Snow White, A Wolf and a Big Cat, November 2015

 

 

 

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Eccentric England, December 2015

 

 

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Last German Christmas Market, December 2015

 

 

 

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Leaving Germany Forever, January 2016

 

 

 

 

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First Month In Australia, February 2016

 

 

 

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My Birthday, April 2016

 

 

 

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Those Western Australian Sunsets, May 2016

 

 

 

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When I found out who I am! January 2017

 

 

 

See ya soon

R

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Goodbye Murray

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Murray Ball dog cartoon 1939-2017 by Guy Body

Sadly Murray Ball, Uncle Dog’s drawer and writer (creator) of his stories passed away this week.  Goodbye me old mate and may your travels in that big paddock in the sky be an awesome one.

Link to tribute on ABC

R

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The Artistic Collie

No I’m not going to be talking about Australian Aboriginal art although this Aboriginal flag at Bathers Beach surely is art too. No in a broader sense I’m going to show you guys local Western Australian sculptures from local artists which of course can include Aboriginal artists.

These sculptors are exhibiting in Fremantle, Perth’s port city at a beach known as Bathers Beach more on this unique place can be found here. WA artists come together once every couple of years for some fantastic works with the brilliant blue backdrop of the Indian Ocean. More about this exhibition can be found at the Sculptures at Bathers web site if you are visiting Perth over the next week or so.

 

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This monster nearly made me wee me self (and I’ve been told by me Humans in no uncertain terms… no weeing on the sculptures or we will all be kicked out… who me?). Anyway this is a sculpture by WA Artist Susan Flavell. It’s called the Shimmer and was inspired by the Greek mythical beast the chimera. Pretty cool once I knew it couldn’t harm me!

 

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Tell me that’s not Darth Vader behind me… Gulp?

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Where the grass is greener – Bellinda Panizza. Bit of a weird elephant, the tusks are on the wrong side! Sculptured in grass to symbolize elephants breaking free from our interference. Well not me… er… you Humans I’m guessing.

 

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Generator – Tom de Munk-Kerkmeer. It says “A wind driven visual poem, empowering contemporary society to move onwards.” Wot? Not one of me favs, a bit beyond us dogs this one so I’m contemplating a dip on the ocean me thinks…

 

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Dispersal Machine – Tania Spencer. It’s something about the dispersal of thoughts and ideas. Me I thought I’d photo-bomb it when me Humans were trying to get a decent picture… heh heh…

 

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Divide – Ant Muia. This is what the blurb in me Humans guide said: “Divide is a project that examines the human condition bound by limits and possibilities. It acts as a device that may unite or separate the viewer from art”. Well I can tell you this Border Collie is on the separate-art side, come on Mate it’s a pile of bloody rubble! Some guys got lost delivering gardening supplies and dumped the lot at the beach. [Editor’s note, purely Ralph’s opinion you must understand]

 

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Is it time for me swim yet?
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I’m not sayin nothin…
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Still waiting for me swim guys…

 

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Starfish – Jason Maxlow. Liked this one, looks like a stumbling human running in the sand!

 

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The Fremantle Doctor – Russell Sheridan. This has to be me absolute favourite!

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Now I should probably explain what the Fremantle Doctor is. You see Perth is quite a hot place in the summer time with temperatures regularly exceeding 40C (104F) but if you live near Fremantle which is the ocean port for Perth then regular as clockwork at around 3-4 pm the sea breeze comes in off the Indian Ocean to cool everything down, just what the doctor ordered, the Fremantle Doctor as this health giving breeze is known!

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The sculpture has a dog and his Human pointing the way to the Fremantle Doctor!

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Spot the Border Collie!

 

So guys there’s one Border Collies art class for ya. Until next time, I’m off for me swim…

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R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 7: Oysters and The Great Wall of Croatia

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And yes, these are Mali Ston oysters.

As many of you who have followed me blog for a while will know I am rather fond of our planets oceans and rivers, I love to swim! And… just sayin… I ‘m rather partial to the odd morsel of sea food too. My absolute fav is tuna but coming a close second would be salmon then ya shelf fishes such as oysters and mussels.

So it was with great enthusiasm that I hopped in the car for the short trip north of Dubrovnik to the Croatian coastal town of Mali Ston, home of the best oysters in the world (so the locals say). It means Little Ston in Croatian and sure enough it has a big brother town up the road just called Ston. You Humans are so creative in your naming heh heh.

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Now Mali Ston did to me seem to need a little tender loving care as you can see by this pile of rubble…

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Having said that, Mali Ston and afore mentioned Ston are connected by a magnificent wall running for many kilometres and known locally as Ta Da… “The Great Wall of Croatia”! Bet ya didn’t know Croatia had its very own Great Wall did ya? Pretty impressive eh? I’d really like to see the Chinese one mind you, I’ve only seen pictures from me Humans travels there before I was born.

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Built in the fourteenth century as a defensive wall for some old salt farms apparently, lot of effort for some salt, go figure… I guess the stuff was worth more back then. More info from good old Wikipedia here.

Now back to the main subject of Mali Ston, oysters. And I can see the oysters being farmed just out there. Definitely swimable.

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Come on ya wimpy Humans we can make it to the oyster beds, no worries!

 

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Hold on Princess-Human  we’ll be there in a jiffy, I promise…

 

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Well, we’re back on dry land after aborting the trip to the oyster beds. My Humans stopped me, something about a crazy lunatic Croat yelling at us about disturbing the oyster beds.

Ok so swimming for ya oysters wasn’t really a goa then so plan B, persuade me Humans to have lunch in that Taverna Restaurant we passed on the way here.

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Forget the poses and photo ops, its oysters we are after mate, beautiful as this Mali Ston harbour is!

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More action little less talk me Humans, oysters I say!

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Well at least they bought me two Oysters but you should have seen the ones me Humans scoffed! They were pretty bloody marvellous though I will say.

Now one last thing. Many people have said: are Mali Ston oysters really as good as they say? Some even say the best in the world. In my humble but well-travelled Border Collie opinion: You bet ya white BC socks they are! And if you don’t believe me read this BBC travel link on that very topic.

Now I think you have all heard enough of this European Summer holiday so I won’t go into the details of the long trip home to Frankfurt, Germany. I will say that we drove back through Italy! Finally I got to see a little of Italy. We even visited Venice. If there is enough interest I may blog about me trip on a Gondola in Venice one day…

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Hey Guys, this looks kinda dangerous…

For now this is Ralph signing off. Time for rounding up a few humans for some ball catching at the park me thinks.

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 6: Mostar Day Trip

The previous instalment on Dubrovnik’s Old Town is here.

Well, Mostar, what can I say… It’s beautiful, its vibrant, its where east meets west, where the European Union meets the old Ottoman Empire, where Christianity meets Islam, where a river divides and a bridge reunites.. Where one Border Collie met a mate… I could go on but the sense of deep history does pervade this place and even a dog can feel it.

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Me and me Humans set out for our days adventure from Dubrovnik quite early (for us) at around 9am thinking 2 or 3 hour trip to Mostar, no worries… Well the roads and Bosnian drivers (who are even worse than Croatian drivers and that’s saying something) conspired against us so what was supposed to be a lunch time arrival turned out to be an afternoon arrival. Oh well it was a fascinating trip through Bosnia-Herzegovina that’s for sure.

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Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a European Union member although it is a potential candidate within the next few years and EU investment here is huge.

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It needs it as the country is extremely poor by European standards.

Evidence of the Balkan wars and the breakup of Yugoslavia are everywhere.

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Ethnic divides show in defaced road signs where the Serbian Cyrillic writing system is crossed out in favour of the Latin script. The tensions with neighbouring Serbia are still very strong.

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Mostar Central Markets

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Mostar city centre is quite small and compact around the famous bridge with loads of really interesting markets and food stalls on both sides of the river, nothing tacky here.

 

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There were hardly any other dogs that I saw in Mostar but I did meet this guy and we became great mates for the day!

 

 

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OK, I’m on the Mostar Bridge, are we done?
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Get a move on, this thing looks like it will crumble any minute. It came down once before ya know…

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But is it safe?

Actually the bridge known as the Stari Most (meaning Old Bridge and origins of the cities name, Mostar) was rebuilt in 2004 based on the foundations of the original old bridge which was destroyed in 1993 by the Bosnian Croats during the Balkans conflict. There is a brief  YouTube video from the BBC of the bridge coming down here.

 

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Loads of tourists but where are the famous Bosnian boy divers diving into the river for money?

 

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“Don’t Forget”.

A poignant reminder of what happened here in 1993 and the continued conflicts in the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina that lead to ethnic cleansing and finally culminated in the Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 mainly Muslim Bosniak men and boys in July 1995…

 

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Its interesting to see which countries pitched in to pay for the rebuilding of the Mostar Bridge…

 

 

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As is usual for us late in the afternoon, we crave some sustenance and this brilliant little restaurant, Babilon, perched on the bank of the Neretva River fit the bill perfectly as it allowed dogs in too, well at least on the outdoor tables.

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Now I just need to order off that spare menu, hand it over…

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Ba! Once again I get the scraps under the table… Excellent view at least.

 

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And that’s it folks, I wont bore you with the long haul home to Dubrovnik in the dark suffice to say we made it in one piece!

In my next instalment I think it’s time to move on from politics and conflicts and on a more positive note focus on me BC belly! I try mussels and oysters and visit the Great Wall of Croatia!

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 4: Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

The previous instalment: Storms and Bubbles in Dubrovnik can be found here

Now that the sunny weather has returned. Here is my account of one Border Collies attempt to swim to Italy… Or at least have fun trying!

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Lapad Bay

So this is a picture of Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik. Out in the distance beyond those rocks is Italy and the sea is the Northern Mediterranean also known as the Adriatic Sea. Here is a Google Map to put it in perspective for you.

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Me, contemplating how far Italy is

Anyway first off for a dip in the Adriatic with me Humans

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Now this is what I’m talking about! Crystal clear waters, just me and me Humans, life is good.

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Now might be time for me break for Italy, can’t be far from here…

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Yep, Princess Human is distracted, I’ll make me break for it!

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Bugger. Caught!

Now I’m banished to the boat while Princess and Curly have all the fun…

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Actually this is not so bad, hey I’m captain of the boat!

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Now after all that nautical stuff and having failed on me attempt to swim to Italy its time for refreshments eh?

 

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Well that’s obviously left out for me then…
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And the beers mine Grumpy, keep ya mits off!

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And a lovely sunset over Lapad Bay to finish things off.

In my next instalment we go exploring Dubrovnik Old Town

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 3: Storms and Bubbles in Dubrovnik

The previous instalment in our grand adventure can be found here.

On account of a rather large storm hitting Dubrovnik our first adventure was one more up my alley than my poor Humans.

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Catching rain drops, now I can’t emphasize enough just how much fun this is, and best of all ya get to photo-bomb ya Humans trying to take nice scenic photos of Dubrovnik… Anyway me Humans were just lazing around in the villa’s nice spa, boring…

I tried to hop in to the spa a few times but my Human were to vigilant to that. I don’t know what their problem was, they know I love swimming…

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Me  photo bombing Curly-Human testing her new snorkel – Well she can’t go to the beach in the storm!
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Last few rain drops, need an alternative…

And now that the sun has finally come out, stealing me rain drop fun.

Me Humans have kindly blown a few bubbles for me, even better than rain drop catching I reckon.

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Hey, more bubbles in here guys!

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In my next instalment we at last get out and explore Lapad Bay and I get to swim in the Adriatic!

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 2: Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Previously: View Hofheim to Zagreb Here

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After an early morning start we hit the road for our 8 hour drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. The scenery is fantastic, we all would like to spend more time but Dubrovnik calls. My Humans resolve to come back to this part of inland Croatia. One of the places we missed out on seeing on this trip was the fabulous Plitvice Lakes National Park which is a wonderful national park, one of the best in Europe, missed in part due to our time constraints and something to do with having a dog with us… what? I don’t see the problem… What do they think I’m going to do, eat a brown bear? I suspect it would be the other way around!

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Its a long and winding road… as me Humans are fond of saying.

And as the day wears on, nature takes its course and I’m busting for a pee

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Help, I’m stuck!

Bloody hell these safety straps and all are a bit over the top, me Humans… Get me outta here so I can go checkout some greenery.

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And the never ending journey continues until its, what? only lunch time… Anyway it’s a longer stop to stretch the legs and have a look around. This time we have stopped just off the E65 motorway at a little town called Skradin.

 

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Himm… what’s down there then? Worth a quick squizz…

A nearby Christian Religious Shrine, the Gospa od Puta. It reminds my Humans of the religious difficulties in this region including some rather big recent wars when Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990’s and Croatia become independent. Yes Croatia is a very young country.

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Dubrovnik, you’re not so far…

Back on the road again and finally we see Dubrovnik on the road signs, was beginning to think it didn’t exist…

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Klek. In the far background the cityscape is the little (and only) part of Bosnia that has a coastline.

Finally we hit the Adriatic coast at the little Croatian town of Klek. This is where it gets a bit weird because although we are travelling in Croatia and heading south towards Dubrovnik one of Croatia’s biggest cities, we have to hop briefly into another country! When I mean briefly I mean about 8 km, that is it! Even weirder that country is Bosnia Herzegovina and it is not in the EU. That means border controls and passports and all sorts of faffing about. Well as the resident Border Collie I was pretty much ready for this of course…

I will blog more on Bosnia Herzegovina a little later when we went to visit the old city of Mostar as a day trip from Dubrovnik. What really disappointed me now was the fact I was all geared up to bark at the Border Officers and put them in their place  but as we approached there seemed to be no body interested in people with Aussie passports or even a famous dog with a UK Pet Passport. We passed the kiosk window and the Border guy was too busy reading his newspaper to even look up at us, just waved us through with a flick of his wrist. Now these guys need proper Border Collie border management training I reckon. Perhaps they need to employ the services of The Cop?

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The Croatian and European Union Border

Within a few minutes we were through Bosnia and at the Croatian Border, this time I guess because the EU insists on some form of Border Protection, our passports were inspected and we were waved on back into Croatia.

After all this international travel me and me Humans were a tad hungry and with still an hour to go before we would arrive in Dubrovnik a vote was taken that we should stop for dinner. Me and me Humans except Grumpy-Human voted for stopping. Now it has to be said that Grumpy had been doing most of the driving and he lovers driving  so if he didn’t want to stop  we could well end up not just in Dubrovnik but across the next border and on in to Montenegro and beyond! My solution, a bit of judicious barking to make it known… a stop for food would be good and a pee in the car probably not very hygienic, not to mention the smell eh!

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And we stopped in a lovely town not far from Dubrovnik, Slano. It’s beautiful and the food brilliant – or so me Humans said after scoffing down mountains of local fish.

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Me, I was stuck with me usual crappy German dog food bought along especially for me… how thoughtful of my dear Humans…

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You may well laugh Curly but I’m on holiday and need real food, not German dog biscuits.
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I hope you’re going to fill me bowl with fresh seafood.

Finally we rolled into Dubrovnik, more specifically Lapad Bay where we had rented an old villa for two weeks.

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Ahhhh finally I can relax, I’m even aloud in the villa which was something I worried about seeing as Croatia is not particularly dog friendly.

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Having said that the villa owners couldn’t have been more helpful to me although I did spot a certain Putty Tat which must belong to them, himmm…

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Next time I get back to blogging about this adventure I’ll fill you in on Storms and Bubbles in Dubrovnik!

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 1

Now as I put paw to keyboard, it’s a rainy 16C here in so called sunny Perth, Western Australia. Second coldest summer day on record apparently!  So without a summer adventure to tell you about so far this year and feeling like I’m back in Europe I am reminded of one adventure a couple of years ago. It all started…

It was a hot Central European late July summer when we packed up the car at our home in Hofheim, Germany and headed for Croatia.

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Had I realised that it would be a 3000 km (1800 miles) round trip I might have said to me Humans – “.

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Nah, I’m good, you guys have a great trip!

To this day I never quite know if we have a 10 hour journey ahead of us or a trip to the dog park when I get in the car.

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Have me passport… Check! We are going to be crossing many international borders.

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The first leg of our trip, a 14 hour journey to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia started out with me being bundled into the car at some ungodly hour, way too early in the morning to be civilised.

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Cripes guys, its a little crowded. I tell ya wot, I’ll stay behind so ya have more room…
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Grumble… grumble…

Our journey wound its way through south eastern Germany to the Austrian border at a little village called Etzelshofen where the German A3 autobahn meets the Austrian A8 motorway. Since we were on a mission to get to Zagreb before night-fall we hardly stopped at all.

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I glimpsed some wonderful scenery out the window so it was rather sad that we didn’t stop more often.

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Sprinting through a small section of Slovenia we finally crawled into Zagreb in the late afternoon. After 14 bloody hours, I can tell you I was in need of a wee and a few refreshments…

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I could have killed for a beer me self… Actually you can get dog beer in Germany, check this out:

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Just as I was starting to relax at a local restaurant near our hotel and could smell the lovely Croatian BBQ’s being prepared I see the waiter spot me handsome self-curled up next to me Humans and I see his lip curl up with a disdainful look…

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Ohh oh… I sneak back under the table hoping he will forget me. But no. He starts telling my Humans that dogs are not allowed in his restaurant, something about the “Great dog debacle of 2005” whatever that was, it wasn’t me mate, honest!

After some slick negotiations with me Humans and due to the fact he didn’t want to lose the business of 4  hungry Humans and a BC we move down to a room in the basement  where I am allowed… grudgingly to remain hidden under the table.

A huge plate if lamb and other local meats arrives. Boy! Me Humans better let me have some that or there will be trouble!

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And as usual I do me rounds of me gullible humans who each sneak a tasty morsel under the table to me thinking no one else has, heh heh…

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It turns out Croatia is not as dog friendly as Germany but at least I’m aloud to stay at the hotel as I know me Humans checked and booked in advance. Lucky or I might have been sleeping in the bloody car, I had had just about enough of the car on that trip!

In the next instalment I will fill you in on our trip from Zagreb down the western part of Croatia bordering the Adriatic Sea on our way to Dubrovnik.