One week was definitely not enough to do Croatia justice, let alone sliding in a day trip from Dubrovnik to Mostar. Bosnia and Herzegovina also warrant much more than a day, but it was a taste, a start, a glimpse. We took it!
Day Trip to Mostar
We piled into the car, excited to hit another new country. Along the way, we couldn’t believe the beautiful views of the mountains and the lush, productive valleys. At one point there was a stunning overlook that reminded me of my trip to Mardin looking over the Mesopotamian Plain (but much greener).
Driving over the border between Croatia and Bosnia, it became immediately apparent that Bosnia isn’t through suffering from its recent war. We saw battlescars on many buildings, bullet-holes and buildings in ruin.
Our very first stop, after taking photos at the border sign, was a complete surprise. It was a cemetery on a hill covered with the most gorgeous violet irises. Cemeteries are interesting enough, but add to it the number of graves with photos of young men who lost their lived in a terrible war not that many years ago and couple that with a stunning field of wildflowers. It was pretty touching.
We stopped a few times on the road to Mostar. The title photo is a small Turkish village that was fun to walk around for a few minutes, and after having lived in Turkey, it really felt like home. There were many Turkish feeling, sights, and tastes in Mostar as well.
As you walk around there are plenty of stores, I enjoyed the bazaar-y feel that they exuded, the blue eyes, copper, all things I’ve long associated with Turkey. At one store, there were small wall-hangings for sale. In Ankara or Istanbul, they would feature Ataturk, but in Mostar, Tito.
We came across a few surprising things, like a puppy tied to the roof of the shops. All the tourists were taking photos of him, and he was very cute.
We visited the mosque, the market, ate some burek, and enjoyed our first impressions of this small country.
Walking around the town we noticed more and more how run-down and poor the city was. Only by the big tourist spot was it renovated.
And yes, we did spend time on the bridge. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mostar bridge was destroyed during the war and rebuilt. It’s an amazing structure and today there are young men who will jump off of it for money. We didn’t pay, and didn’t see anyone jump, but they were there sitting on the edge waiting to go.
Our first glimpse into this new country was both sobering and hopeful. The Bosnians are well on their way to recovery, but they have a long way to go still. We also did a day trip to Montenegro…beautiful and easy drive as well.
Have you been to Bosnia and Herzegovina? Did you walk across the Mostar Bridge? What were your impressions?