Mostar.....Reality Check

Trip Start May 16, 2006
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15
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Trip End Aug 15, 2006


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Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina  ,
Monday, June 12, 2006

WOW, what a contrast between Croatia and Bosnia. It became evident as soon as we crossed the border.

The border crossing itself was interesting, it took about 45 to 60 minutes. The bus driver took all of our passports, came back with them awhile later. Then a Bosnian border control agent came on and looked at our passports again. It was interesting that he took the Japanese citizens passport to the office. But we were released to go without any problems.

Back on the road the first thing i noticed were all of the greenhouses. Loads of them, and everyone seemed to have a vegetable garden at their house. The further north we drove the taller the mountains got. After about 20 miles across the border another thing became apparent, Bosnia had not recovered as quickly as Croatia and it seemed maybe the Bosnians were not as well off as the Croats. I must admit as we approached Mostar I was wondering if perhaps i had made a mistake in coming. It was a little intimidating. The bus I was traveling on was headed to Sarajevo. Only a few people got off the bus in Mostar. One young American couple did get off. In the bus station we struck up a conversation. She was a native of Bosnia and knew the language. Whewww. That was a relief. She helped in finding the luggage storage and information about a bus to Sarajevo later that day. We ended up touring the town together and having lunch. It was interesting hearing about life in Bosnia. She had visited Mostar as a little girl and had stories to tell. We said our good byes as they were traveling to Sarajevo on the 3pm bus. I decided to take the 615 pm to see a bit more of the city.

Mostar was heavily damaged by the war. Unlike Croatia there were quite a few buildings that were just shells, only walls, no windows, no roof. There was a photo exhibit of the city after bombs were dropped on the city. The small Turkish Quarter was almost annihilated. They have done a wonderful job of reconstruction. Mostar is known for its bridge. The bridge was blown up so the Muslims could not access the more commercial side of the city to get food. The bridge has been rebuilt. They took great effort to recreate the original bridge. As it turned out Mostar is quite small, i probably should have caught the 3pm bus. But i sat in the bar, had a beer and caught up on my journal.

It was about 2.5 hours from Mostar to Sarajevo. The drive was beautiful. Most of the drive followed a river. Bosnia has a large Muslim population. There were Mosques in every village. Another interesting thing on the drive were the vendors along the side of the road. They were mostly selling fruits, veggies, and honey. But not both mind you. Here in Europe

I arrived into Sarajevo about 830pm. By the time we got to the bus station very few people were on the bus, and this time i had no translator. The platform where we parked was dark and dank. There was one lone person who had rooms to offer. I was like, i will take it! She took me to the train station next door to an office, so to speak. It was an old restaurant being converted to a travel agency. They only had a computer. The staff there was so nice. The lady was nice enough to let me check my email as there was a little problem back in Charlotte and i was anxious to check my email. I had read the Bosian people were very kind and that is very much the case. After using the computer the driver showed up to take me to the hostel. He spoke very little English and at this point I am a little apprehensive about getting in the car with him. But all was well, he was very kind. He gave me the tour during the 10 minute ride. He pointed out the Holiday Inn, which was where all the journalist stayed during the war. If you will recall during the Bosnian-Serbian conflict it was next to the Holiday Inn that was referred to as sniper alley. Remember all the TV footage of people running for their lives? When i mentioned sniper alley her was like yea, yea, bang, bang. Very Surreal. The damage from the war is ever present here. Numerous bombed out buildings and it seems almost every building has bullet and mortar damage.
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Comments

maryago
maryago on

Czech Republic Croatia, Bosnia
Hi, Chuck~ Really enjoying your adventure from here. How was it that you selected your itinerary? Is your ancestry from this part of the world? What drew you to it? It's humbling for me to think about all the hardship the Bosnians have endured. Be well. Mary Ann

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