THIRTY-NINTH MOVEMENT: BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
I woke up around 09:00 in the hostel in Split, showered, dressed, packed my bags, and checked out at 10:00. I then walked to the bus station near the main port and bought a bus ticket to Mostar. The bus was scheduled to depart at 10:55, but did not arrive at the station until 11:20. I then loaded my bags on to the bus, found a seat, and rode the bus south through Croatia, after it finally departed the station at 11:40. I slept some on the way and at 12:56, we stopped for a short rest stop. Continuing on, we reached the Bosnian border at 14:30 and entered in to Passport Control, where all of our passports were collected and turned in. At 15:00, we received our passports back, but with no entry stamps (strange).
The bus then traveled through the border and we journeyed through Bosnia and Herzegovina (technically, we were in Herzegovina, so I guess I could drop the “Bosnia” from this journal entry). Shortly after crossing the border, we stopped at the first town we passed through in Herzegovina; here, all the Mostar/Sarajevo bound passengers switched to another bus; so, I grabbed my bags, entered inside the other bus, and then rode it the rest of the way to Mostar. On the way to Mostar, we passed by the village of Počitelj and its fortress, towering over the road. Shortly after 16:00, the bus reached Mostar, I exited it, grabbed my bags, and then walked in to the town. After gaining my direction from the sun, I walked south, found the Neretva River, and crossed it to the east side; following the precious few street signs I could find, I eventually found the hostel I had wished to stay at. Lucky for me, there was one bed available and I booked it for two nights. I then dropped my bags off and walked in to town to get some food. I ended up at the local shopping mall, where I ordered food at a McDonalds (fast and cheap, I keep telling myself) and had a Sprite, French fries, and a double cheeseburger. After eating, I walked to the bottom level, to where the supermarket is located, and bought some snacks, drinks, and wine. I then returned to the hostel and laid down in my bed for a while, resting, tired from the journey from Split.
Later on, at 20:00, the hostel’s temporary help (a Canadian woman living and working there for a month) gathered together a group of guests (two Brazilians that had come from Split with me, an Asian man (from Singapore, I think), an American from D.C, and I) to see the sunset from the “Sniper Tower” – a tall building that used to be a bank and was used by snipers during the Bosnian war. We all got ready to walk to the tower, but instead were driven by the hostel owner. Once at the tower (still in ruins and with much graffiti), the hostel; owner took us around to the back side, where we jumped over the wall and entered inside the abandoned building. The hostel owner then guided us to the topmost floor and showed us a prime spot used by snipers (still with 7.62mm shell casings littered on the ground); he also told us that his grandfather was killed by a sniper and that the bullet may have come from here or at the local post office (another spot heavily used by snipers). We then went to the roof of the “Sniper Tower” and looked out at Mostar below, as the sun was setting. After taking a number of photographs, we were led back down and out of the building. The hostel owner then directed us to an adjacent park to see a statue of Bruce Lee (he was quite proud of the fact that only Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Mostar have statues of Bruce Lee) and he drove back to the hostel. We walked through the park, viewed the Bruce Lee statue (with nunchucks in hand), and then walked back to the hostel. I then left the group to grab a bite to eat (the McDonalds did not fill me up) and ended up at a restaurant where I had a local beer and a pizza with thin slices of dried beef as a topping. After dinner, I returned to the hostel, opened the bottle of Herzegovinian white wine, and enjoyed the other guests’ company. The wine was made from Graševina grapes (also known as “Welschriesling”) and it tasted of citrus fruits like green apples, pears, and oranges. As I drank the wine, I talked with the two Brazilian guys and an Australian woman. After finishing wine, I then got ready for bed and eventually fell asleep (around midnight).