This trip was an idea that came about whilst talking to my friends from Sweden. We wanted to try and find unseen spots off the beaten track and decided to head to the Balkans in search of this.

Story and photographs by Gareth Costello

(Above) Sebastian Strom, ollie from wall to flat over set, Montenegro

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Seb Innes, Croatia

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Jonas Mosberg, Croatia

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Sebastian Strom, Croatia, Hotel Belvedere.

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Sebastian Strom, Skopje, Macedonia

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Sebastian Strom, ollie into wall, Bosnia

The six of us travelled to Dubrovnik,Croatia, where we were to collect the hire van which would be our vessel for the upcoming 16 days.  It was Alexander Martin, Jonas Mosberg, Seb Innes, Jesper Lindgren, Sebastian Strom and Gareth Costello. We had an extremely loose and weak at the knees plan to try to navigate our sorry asses around the former Yugoslavian states.  After faffing around Dubrovnik for a few days too many, we headed south to Montenegro via the coastal stretch of Bosnia, which wasn’t exactly marked out very well on our map.  In fact, there was very little marked on out on our map, aside from the seemingly ambitious destinations we intended to visit.  We stayed in Podgorica, Montenegro for a few days, where we quickly learned of hefty fines and jail sentences for extra curricular green activities. We found some dingy spots and abandoned swimming pool complexes then got back on the road.  The journey concluded as we navigated our way around Kosovo to Skopje in Macedonia, with the minor mishap of finding ourselves in the border control queue to enter Kosovo.

 

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Seb Innes, Montenegro

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Tina, Montenegro

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David, Belgrade, Serbia

Despite Kosovo being one of the countries we intended to visit, it soon became apparent that there were insurance complications which hindered our plans.  As a result, we had to completely navigate around the country to get to Macedonia.  We inadvertently spent 4 days in Skopje, with a day trip to Veles to hunt out some incredible and unknown spots.  We can only thank Ludo and Philip for being such accommodating and amazing guides.  Skopje is an intriguing city.  The residents living in high rise apartments deter youths from skateboarding and drinking beers by throwing a variety of missiles out of their windows, which included potatoes, beer bottles and such like. This did little to dampen our mood.  Saying our goodbyes to the Macedonian guys and Cookie, we headed north to Belgrade, bypassing the city of Nis, where we spent one night prior to arriving in Skopje.  Belgrade harbours some of the best spots, and being the former Yugoslav capital, had some of the strangest nightlife i have ever experienced.  Again, we ended up staying here a lot longer than originally intended and consequently cancelled our plans to visit Mostar or Split.  Instead we made our way back to the last destination of the trip – Sarajevo, Bosnia.

 

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Maro, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Upon arrival in the Bosnian capital, it was evident that the city had been hit hard during the war. There were mortared out high rises and bullets holes surrounding you almost everywhere you stood. We skated our last day here at the 1984 Sarajevo bobsleigh track at Mt.Trebevic, where it all ended in tears. Leaving the van unattended for 10 minutes or so as we skated down the track resulted in two shattered windows and gps units, camera gear and belongings stolen. After much frustration, anger, police stations, embassies translation problems we finally gained the necessary reports/paperwork for insurance purposes and again were on the road again with a breeze in the van. After a hectic 7-8 hour drive with our new air conditioned van, we dropped the Swedish heads at the airport with little time to spare for their departing flight. The remainder of us spent our last night in the van before returning it for the damages receipt.

 

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Alexander Martin, Croatia

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Seb Innes, sweeper, hotel belvedere, Croatia

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Sebastian Strom ollie over the rail, Montenegro

Story and photographs by Gareth Costello