Friday, May 4, 2012


I left the hostel just before 7 and hopped on the bus that would take me to Kotor which is in Montenegro. Of course I had to go back through Dubrovnik which is annoying, but I don't think there is any other way. 

Back in the Neum Pocket, much nicer day this time.

Kotor is located in a very secluded part of a huge Fjord so it was a spectacular drive along the coastline with towering mountainous hills and all the spring growth just seems to glow so vibrantly.

My hostel - All ways good to stay in the old towns. Get to stay in some really old buildings 
Back to the Venetian style architecture - Frankly I'm a little bit bored with it

I arrived at my hostel in the afternoon with my eyelids feeling like sandpaper.  I went for a short walk and then came back to my hostel to collapse on my bed for a few hours. 

Lots of drinking fountains 

The next day I decided I'd walk the amazing walls that extend around the old town and over the hill and up to the fortress. The reception guy kept telling everyone, "Don't do it in the middle of the day, it's too hot and you'll get burnt' So I set off at 11.45am and met up with a couple of NZ girls who were also doing the walk. The guy was right, it was too hot, and my shirt was saturated in sweat within a few minutes. But on we went.

Incredible views and old ruins. The clouds make it look so dramatic
View over Kotor

I decided I'd try and climb the neighboring mountain which was probably another hour uphill. I started following some small signs along a deserted track that started by climbing out one of the old wall windows. It lead down into this area below.

 The path was very clear and well marked, (you can see it if you scroll up to the picture with me in the window and the cloudy mountains in the background) There wasn't anyone on the track so I began following it and a few hundred meters I came across these donkeys. I started climbing around them, tearing up my legs and hands on some dry gorsy bush, and then carefully wading through some long grass watching out for snakes. I climbed down onto the track again bleeding a little and pulling the thorns out of my skin.

 50 meters onward I come across this crazy-eyed animal which I thought was sick but seemed to get a bit annoyed at my presents. I soon fell over and then was bombarded by a swarm of flies trying to eat my cuts and scratches. I think this was a sign not to do this track, not to mention I hadn't brought any food and was almost out of water. A no-brainer I headed down the hill back to the hostel slipping over a few more times on the gravel patches.

Well I think you are all up to date now!!! Wohoo! but I'd still like to post about the week leading up to Hvar. After my walk I had planned to spend the whole afternoon from 3pm onwards on my blog. It is now 9.30pm (6.5Hrs of blogging, that can't be right?!) and I have been sustaining myself with a pottle of cheap Nutella like spread using a spoon and sitting on my bed. I was trying to be subtle about my guilty pleasure when a Brazilian guy checked into the bed next to me. I saw him eating chocolate spread and bread with the ratio leaning towards the chocolate. We both agreed, it is a delicious snack. But I'm almost finished my 450g pot...time for some real dinner. Tuna pasta!!

Tomorrow I'm off to Budva which is on the coast, before catching and overnight ferry to Italy and tackling Rome. I'll then head into central area to work on a farm (I think the works going to be a bit more intense than the hostel). I would really like to explore more of eastern Europe including Albania, Macedonia and Serbia, it's much cheaper and has a great edgy-ness to it. If western Europe isn't any good or too costly I'll come back, and I'm toying with the idea of Israel, Egypt and Thailand. But we'll see how things go. 

P.s please harass me if I get behind again. It's motivating. 
"May the fourth be with you"


Jozo and Marinko got up to wave me off as I left the hostel at 6.45am to catch the 7.30am ferry back to Split. (This was Wednesday morning, so Wednesday afternoon for you back home) After hearing really great things about Mostar I decided to check it out myself. I took the bus back down the coast and then inland towards the Bosnia and Herzegovina border.

Beautiful views...

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. 

I was trying to decide whether to stay another night and go to Sarajevo the capital city because I loved Mostar. When I was siting with the some other guests and Miran having some red wine (bottomless Mostar wine included in the accommodation, sweeeet) I decided I'd stick to my plan and go to Montenegro as Sarajevo was another 2hours inland. Another 6am wake-up to catch the only bus to Montenegro that day. Give me a break please!!