Mostar

My day has looked a bit like this: Croatia, Bosnia, Croatia, Bosnia, Croatia, Bosnia, Croatia.

Literally how many border crossings.

I was picked up at 8am, in a similar small coach to yesterday. This time, heading north along the coastline.

It was all very similar.

We passed some mussel and oyster farms – they grow on buoys, tethered in rows across a large flat lagoon. Past a large valley of a river, which is used to grow produce – grapes, nectarines, tangerines, figs and cabbage being most common.

The area of Dubrovnik is completely isolated from the rest of Croatia. It is surrounded by both Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. To get from Dubrovnik to the rest of Croatia, you must pass through Bosnia. So onto the multiple border crossings.

Firstly into Bosnia, where we stopped briefly in the costal town of Neum. Apparently taxes are lower here, so Croatians come to stock up on various goods. It wasn’t the most exciting of places!

Then we crossed back into Croatia, before crossing AGAIN, into Bosnia.

This time, staying for the day.

I was about 6 when the Bosnian war was happening.

All I remember is the front of a newspaper with a girl, who was the same age as me, who had been blown up by a bomb. I remember being really sad.

The next stop was the small village of Pocitelj. This small village is built into the hillside, all the houses, paths and buildings were built out of grey stone. There were several mosques, and a castle. But mostly, a small street of touristy stalls. They were all selling the same – scarves (from India), magnets (made in China) and other small trinkets.

What was more exciting was the fruit sellers lining the roads. Several stalls overflowing in plums, grapes, berries and figs. And surprisingly cheap! I bought a large box of figs (1.5kg) and 8 nectarines for 4 euros. Lunch sorted!

The next stop was in Mostar.

We were given a short guided tour of the old town. Which really didn’t take long, given the town consists of one short street!

The main attraction of this town – the steeply arched bridge, which is also a UNESCO site. This bridge was built during the 15th century, however was destroyed during the 1993 war. It was rebuilt 10 years later, in 2004, using parts of the old bridge which were found in the river. The ground is so worn that it is slippery. The bridge is also pretty steep that you end up sliding around when walking.

The small streets on each side of the bridge are entirely small shops selling the same touristy tat. Magnets, scarves, t shirts, lanterns and small trinkets. The whole way along.

I wandered past the cobbled streets, back onto normal ground and into the more modern part of the town. I was told that there was a farmers market just along the road. I found a market, selling lace, clothes and trainers. Not exactly what I would call a farmers market…! Maybe I had missed the fruit and vegetables.

Just a bit further along was a mosque. It was small, but surrounded by beggars. So I didn’t stick around. I found a small park to sit in and have some lunch, which was nice. I wouldn’t have been able to eat in any of the restaurants here – all they served was sausages, kebabs, barbecued meat and pies. Hardly very exciting!

Even after wandering around the small streets a few times, I still had so much time left! So I went to sit beside the river and watch people practising to jump from the bridge. Anyone can do it, you pay EUR30, have a bit of training, then you are allowed to jump. From the bottom it doesn’t look particularly high, but from the top, the 21m height feels high!

We left at 3pm. And it took 3 hours (!) to drive back. I fell asleep for the entire way. I hadn’t noticed it taking so long on the way. I guess because I slept the entire way there too…! Why am I so tired?!

I headed out for a final dinner at the vegan restaurant. I had an Indian thali; lentils, curried tofu, curried vegetables, rice and naan. It was delicious! I was so full, but really fancied something sweet. I tried a gelato shop one last time. This time, the man could speak much better English. So when I asked about no dairy icecream, he understood and told me the ENTIRE row of fruit gelato was dairy free. What?!?! I’ve missed out on 4 days of gelato!!! And it’s cheap – £1 for a huge scoop. I got mango and it was delicious.

Time to pack, I have far too much stuff.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

I left at 8.30am, giving myself plenty of time to walk to the bus stop. It was all uphill, around the city walls, next to the cable car stop. It was already hot and my bag felt so heavy (turns out I actually only (!) have 25kg. For 4 days.)

I was expecting the bus to arrive just after 9am. But I must have caught an earlier one, as it turned up at 8.50am. I had already bought a return ticket (70K) on my way to the city. It was a quick ride to the airport, and of course I was so early for my 11.45am flight. So early, the woman on the check in desk didn’t think the flight check in had opened yet…! She was nice and let me check in early though.

The queue through scanning and passport was ridiculous. 45 minutes! Lucky I wasn’t in a hurry. This airport does not seem designed for more than about 2 flights. There was a small shop and then a one-room seating area. The only actual space being in one far corner. On the floor. It was so busy!!! People everywhere.

A couple of hours later, it had cleared out. And was actually much more pleasant. We boarded on time and as the woman was scanning my boarding pass, she told me to wait a minute as they had changed my seat. She walked off before I could understand what she said. Getting a bit worried I wasn’t going to be allowed on the plane. When she came back, she gave me a new boarding pass. In business class!! Wow!! Ive never been upgraded before! It was quite exciting! I ended up with a whole 3 seats to myself, which was nice and comfy.

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