When I came on this trip I knew I wanted to see more of Bosnia but with just 3 days in Sarajevo I was fairly sure that I wouldn’t want to take away any of that time to travel anywhere else. I didn’t realise though that a trip to Mostar could easily be done leaving early in the morning and coming back in the afternoon.
So the whole group heading off to Mostar on the early train. The view there was just incredible (as seems to be normal in Bosnia!). Normally I close my eyes and listen to music or try to sleep on a train or bus, but on this trip I can’t in case I miss anything. There was also a beautiful girl who looked like Jennifer Beals (from Flashdance) sleeping on the chair on the opposite side of the carriage. Cute.
A rather embarrassing picture was taken of me on this train. I had khaki coloured things on for the hot day (even shorts!!) and one of the group got me to pose wearing his Arafat-style hat.
When we got to Mostar we hit a cafe and I had a Bosnian coffee, which at first I hated when I had it in Sarajevo but it sort of grew on me. The waitress was terrified of us for some reason 🙂
We went to see the Stari Most / Old Bridge which is the most famous landmark in the city, destroyed by the Croats in the war, but since rebuilt. Guys collect money from tourists to jump off this bridge into the river – it’s quite a sight.
The area was very touristy and busy, people do day trips from cruise ships that come into the Croatian coast, so certain times of the day are a nightmare. A lot of photos were taken – Mostar is just beautiful everywhere you look.
We went to the museum which chronicled the history of the bridge and its destruction and reconstruction, walked around, took some more photos and generally soaked up the beauty of the place.
We travelled back to Sarajevo on what became known as the BUS OF DEATH. It was baking hot, no windows could be opened and it was stuck in traffic. We all nearly died from the heat.
We got back to Sarajevo and had a walk around before some of us agreed to meet on the top of the yellow fortress for sunset. We did some shopping. Shopping here is strange. There is a famous part of town where local coppersmiths and silversmiths make crafts and trinkets (stari zanati or old crafts). Thing is, there are dozens of these shops lined up in one street, and every one seems to sell the same thing. Even when we were in Mostar we found the same pepper pots and plates and ‘hand-carved’ goods. It was just weird. I was a little skeptical about buying anything although I did want a little Bosnian coffee pot. Eventually I passed this one shop and saw a man sitting inside hammering one of the pots into shape. The image triggered deja vu for me, until I realised I had a photo of this man, in that exact pose, from that exact angle, in my book about visiting Bosnia 🙂
I felt I trusted this man a little more because he had been featured in the book, and also because I had seem him sitting there actually making these coffee pots. So I went in and chatted to him and bought one. I also got a photo of him too 🙂
This trip has been full of new experiences but I wasn’t expecting this next one. I got pickpocketed!!
I was walking down one of the main shopping streets in Sarajevo and I felt my backpack moving from side to side. As I turned round this woman was right behind me, and my zip was open. She looked back at me as if to say “what are you looking at!” – she was very well turned out, well dressed, pretty, nice make-up, not what I was expecting. I new I had nothing of value in that pocket so I just left it but I later remembered I had put my lighter in there and it was gone.
Oh well it gave me a nice anecdote for the rest of the group. We headed up to the fortress and had a great night just sitting chatting and drinking pivo. We also had another surprise treat. As it’s Ramadan at 7.08 every night a firework is fired into the air so that the Muslims around the city know they can start to eat. The first time we saw this firework in the sky it freaked us as we had spent so much time talking about the shelling and bombardment of Sarajevo and then we heard this almighty bang in the sky!
We didn’t know where this firework came from but as we sat on the grass at the fortress and people came over to prepare, we realised that it was fired from just a few feet from where we were sitting. It was cool to sit and watch it from the other perspective and there were lots of excited little Muslim kids playing around watching the preparations.
It was a great end to the evening and we got lots of photos of the beautiful sunset.
Back at the hostel we again chatted to the other guest Stuart for a while before heading off to bed. Before I went to bed that night I had already decided that I wanted to come back here as soon as possible, maybe early next year.
I know two people who have been to Sarajevo, but I think that’s quite unusual. Among most of my other friends they thought I was crazy for picking a holiday in Bosnia but it was every bit as perfect as I knew it would be. The biggest favour I could do for any of my friends would be to insist that they come and see this amazing place for themselves. Bosnia, and Sarajevo, is something that everyone should experience.
I feel lucky that I got to come here, so lucky I can’t even describe it. And I feel equally silly that I didn’t come here sooner.