Yesterday we’d had enough of Dubrovnik, which I found a bit of a tourist trap (everything seemed to be aimed at either the geriatric tourist crowd, or the drunk 18 year old contiki/topdeck/sail croatia kids). The place on everyones lips for the next suggested stop was Mostar, Bosnia – somewhere which I had never heard of.
20 or so Euros, 140km and 3 hours later and we were on the bus from Dubrovnik to Mostar.We were met at the bus station by the usual accommodation touts you find in eastern europe/the balkans, and managed to negotiate a hostel for the 5 of us for 8 Euros each for the night, virtually next door to the bus/train station and a minute walk from restaurants and 10 mins to the old town proper.I think hostel loosely translated into apartment with as many beds as you can fit into the bedrooms. Still it was clean, had a few hot showers, a bunch of irish, kiwi, brits and a pole staying, so we ventured off into town for dinner and beers.
Waking up I got my first real glimpse that we were in a former war zone. Above is the view from our balcony window of the neighboring building which is completely riddled with bullet holes as a result of an 18 month siege of the town in 1992-1993. This would be the first of the sobering reminders of what happened in the region 20 years ago, and showed us the stark difference between post war croatia and neighboring post war Bosnia.
Nish and corey decided to stay another night in town, wheras the girls and I wanted to check out Sarajevo the next day, so with 2 hours to spare we ventured off into old town to check out the bridge which the town is named after (I think Mostar loosely translates to “bridge keeper” or similar) and do a bit of trinket shopping. The bridge was seriously damaged during the conflict as you can see above. With a serious amount of work and international funding, it was restored to its former glory as you can see it today and is considered a world heritage site. Its easy to see why. Apparently one of the reasons the towers survived is that their walls are up to 3m thick. The whole town is an amazing piece of history with beautiful architecture in the form of towers, housing, mosques and churches, and is well worth a stopover on the way to Sarajevo.