I arrived round lunchtime to high temperatures and a hot dry wind like the nor-wester back home.
I had directions to a good hostel I had read about, but was greeted as I stepped off the bus by a young woman asking if anyone needed a hostel (like everywhere in Croatia as well). I asked her how much, she said 10 Euro, so was the same price. I went with her to check the place out. She had a tiny dark room with the curtains shut with about 4 empty beds, 1 with her elderly mother tucked up in. The woman was really nice and friendly and I said I'd go to get some cash out, but really I was going to check if the other hostel I had directions to had availability. It was just around the corner and was greeted by Miran, a really nice local guy that offered to drive me round to pick my pack up. I declined and quickly rushed round to pick my bag up as the owner had gone back to the station to see if she could rustle up any more guests from the buses. I left a quick note and explained to the old woman in the bed that I had met some friends from Croatia and that'd I'd be staying with them. Miran quickly checked me in and gave me a map and off I went to explore.
After Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav Peoples Army bombed the town, the siege went on for 18months from 1992 to 1993.
During the war, the Croats (Croatians) held the west bank of the river, while the Bosnians held the East bank, for a while they operated as two separate towns; different schools, postal systems, electricity supplies etc. Today it is more integrated but as the Catholic bells ring on the west bank, the call to prayer crys on the east bank and it is easy to see the division.
|A building with the scars from a shell exploding|
It's a refreshing change in the old town. As the Dalmatian coast (Split, Hvar, Dubrovnik and down to Montengro) was originally part of Venice (Italy) you have the balconies, shutters, tight alleyways and squares, here however it is slightly different. Low rise buildings with stone or slate roofs and river stone pathways.
Mostar's famous Stari Most (Old Bridge) built in the 16th century. It was destroyed during the war by the Croats and rebuilt in 2004. I still can't wrap my head around the war, Bosnians and the Croats fought together against the Serbians and then turned on each other. o_O!?
The locals jump from the bridge into the cold waters below. It's pretty high, and the water is about 12 degrees. In the heat of summer when it's 40 degrees they use cold water to reduce their body temperature, otherwise the temperature shock could give them a heart attack.
Mostar is quite popular with tourists, with many people day tripping from Dubrovnik from their cruise ships.
Tea pots and bells, beautiful designs. I bought a very small one similar. Note the 'Don't Forget' written various locations around Mostar to remember the war.
|Cevapi (Chevapi) a local dish. Grilled minced meat served in flat bread with cheese and onion. Yum!|
|'Under The Iron Pan' least they've still got a sense of humour|
|Lots of bullet holes in the buildings around Mostar|
|Photos of Photos of the War|
|The old bridge damaged during the war|
I went out to dinner that evening with a guy from London and a guy from Tokyo. We had local dishes with beer and some free spirit that tasted and looked like we were drinking from perfume bottles.
I have no idea what I ordered, I think it was veal mixed with rice and then wrapped in a grapevine leaf and stewed. With potatoes and some yogurty sauce.
|Miran the owner found this bomb in his roof during the war. Heavy stuff.|