Thursday, March 31, 2005

Adriatic Returns to Past

Few years ago I couldn't fail noticing Croatian Tourist Board clips airing on CNN and the slogan "Mediterranean As It Once Was".

Today Croatian media are full of stories about people who apparently took their slogan to heart and tried very hard to make Croatia living up to that reputation.

Few days ago, Opatija, coastal resort town near Rijeka, which has been popular vacationing spot for European aristocracy in past centuries and prides itself for having oldest hotels in Croatia, witnessed brutal assault on three elderly Italian tourists. Two young men ambushed three women at the very steps of the hotel where they were about to check in. They took some 20,000 HRK and left one woman in coma.

In past few days inhabitants of Mljet, one of the most picturesque Adriatic islands (which is close to Dubrovnik), are having to come to grips with the steady stream of decomposed bodies appearing on their shores. Most of the bodies also happen to be mutilated. Many people speculate that the bodies belonged to victims of war between rival Albanian human trafficking gangs and that the currents brought them from the Straits of Otranto. At least, this is the official version. But recently bodies – slightly less decomposed, judging by media reports – have begun to appear on more northern locations. It is still too early to tell whether this represents a major trend.


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