Posted by: bkropf | April 6, 2008

Mostar is a Must See

Leaving Dubrovnik we took the bus to Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina. In the past I always hear the word Bosnia, and think ‘War’. Was I in for multiple surprises.

Mostar is really not far from Dubrovnik, Croatia, only a couple hours by bus. Nearly the only interesting thing on the bus ride was a guy from Argentina got held by customs and was not allowed to come into the country. I felt sorry for him. I spent most of my time reading a book Tyler brought me called Irresistible Revolution (It is quite good thus far, though I don’t agree with everything he is saying). It was interesting to see things become much poorer when crossing into Bosnia. There was alot of farming in the area.

Our hostel host picked us up at the bus station and took us to the hostel. My initial response driving to the hostel was, “Why did we ever come here?” I have had that thought multiple times this trip and they turned out to be good experiences so I tried to keep an open mind. Driving to the hostel we passed building after building riddled with bullet holes, mortar holes and general war damage. I would say almost every building in some parts of town were casualties of war.

We got to the hostel and it was amazing. It was like living with the family. The grandma gave us some juice and cake she made upon our arrival. We decided to take a tour the family gave so 15 minutes after our arrival we were on our tour of Mostar. The tour was really fun. We went to the top of this amazing hill which overlooked the city. There was a massive cross on the top of the hill. We had to stay on the path as there were a large number of land mines in the area. As we sat in awe looking at the surroundings a dog started barking at us and we saw a shepherd and his sheep coming over the top of the mountain. The next stop on the tour was a huge old Orthodox church that was destroyed during the war. Then we went to the largest fresh water source in Europe (I don’t know what it is called). A huge river comes straight out of a mountain cliff. Hundreds of years ago Muslims decided the place was holy and built a cool house there for travelers and pilgrims. We toured the house. There were also many sweet restaurants right on the river you could eat at. Each smelled amazing. We stopped at one and had some Bosnian coffee. I think it was much like Turkish coffee. The coffee was really fun to have because there is a whole process one needs to follow while drinking it. Afterwards you also get some amazing Turkish Delight which made the experience that much better.

After the tour we got dropped off in Old Town at our tour guides favorite restaurant. Against my better judgment, I got the squids she recommended. I am so happy I did, the food was amazing. The restaurant was really cheap (about $6) and had a great view of Mostar’s pride and joy, their bridge.

The Mostar bridge, Stari Most, was a bridge that was destroyed in 1995 during the war. It is a pedestrian bridge joining the two sides of Mostar. It is about 75 feet high and many people jump off of it for annual competitions, and just for fun.

We went back to the hostel and relaxed for a bit and talked with the family and got a better feel for Bosnian life. I love their culture! They are so hospitable and friendly. For instance, people always take their shoes off inside. A repair man came over and even he took off his shoes. Also, they always take strangers in: The Italian guy I met in Dubrovnik broke down in Bosnia and people took him in for two days and helped him fix his bike. This practice sounds like it is common. Also, the food in Bosnia was amazing. The best I have experienced on the trip at a fraction of the price (sounds like a commercial). Even the Gelato was 75 cents.

In the evening we weren’t entirely hungry so we went to a nice restaurant with a cool view of the bridge and had a glass on the regions famous wine and had some baklava. Very nice evening. We walked around for a while people watching, but there were so few tourists and people out that ended quickly.

The next morning we got up early, the grandma gave us some biscuits and juice and we took off for the Old Bridge museum. I couldn’t read about anything in the museum because none of it was in English but the best part was the movie about the war in Mostar. They have video of the bridge being shelled and collapsing so you were able to see the town before and after the war. It was pretty powerful.

We had to grab our bus quick on the way to Sarajevo. Tyler bought some greasy meat sticks.

In summation, I loved Mostar after getting to see it. There are so many religions living right next to each other which I haven’t really seen yet. You will see mosques next to catholic churches next to orthodox. Also there are tons of little steams and fun rivers running through the city. You can be walking along and see a little stream go under a building, come out the other side, go around another, under a bridge and fall into a bigger stream and have the process repeat. Food was good and people were amazing.

I am currently in Belgrade, Serbia. I know, I am now a whole country behind but I am keeping notes as to not forget. I am going to make a concerted effort to catch back up.

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Responses

  1. Squid! Sounds slimy!

  2. I love Mostar.
    That is my birthplace.
    I think Bosnia is amazing,
    there is a lot to see.
    Have you visited the Pyramid in Visoko?
    They say its bigger than the Great Pyramid..

    =]


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