Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
I woke up today at 08:40, showered, dressed, packed my bags, and stored. My luggage in the common room. Then, with camera in hand, I walked out of the hostel to explore the old town of Mostar. I headed south and viewed the outside of the Karadjoz-bey Mosque (a sixteenth-century AD mosque), but did not pay to enter inside. I then walked to Muslibegovic’s House (now a museum), but got there just before it opened; this house didn’t interest me much and I decided to give it a pass; so I walked on to Koski Mehmed-Pasha’s Mosque (built in the seventeenth-century AD). At this mosque, I paid for the entrance ticket and viewed the inside of the mosque (the first mosque I have been to where I didn’t have to take my shoes off or cover them with plastic bags) and climbed up the narrow, twisting steps to the top of the minaret; after taking in the spectacular views of the Old Bridge from the minaret, I walked back down and viewed the bridge again, this time from the river bank. Next, I walked to the Memorial House of Dzemal Bijedic, which now houses several artifacts and is part of the Museum of Herzegovina in Mostar; I paid for the entrance ticket and looked around at some of the exhibits before being summoned along with a tour group to watch a ten minute film on the history of Mostar’s Old Bridge; this film had music matched to footage spliced together from the 1960s (showing men diving off of the bridge), 1984 (an aerial view of the city), 1993 (showing the destruction of the bridge when Croatian tanks fired at it 64 times), and 2004 (showing the reconstruction of the Old Bridge). After viewing the film, I continued to look at the exhibits inside the museum (there were not many) before moving on. I then walked to the Old Bridge Museum and entered inside on the same Museum of Herzegovina in Mostar ticket; once inside, I climbed up the levels to the top of the old tower, reading the various displays (this museum was comprised of mostly displays and precious few artifacts); once at the top, I had some decent views of the city, but nothing spectacular due to the narrow viewing windows. I then climbed back down the steps in the tower, exited the tower, and entered in to the next portion of the museum, underground, where remnants of the original bridge were located; also, there was a 40+ minute film that went in to detail and showed each phase of the reconstruction of the Old Bridge – it was very comprehensive and worth a watch. Once the film was completed, I walked across the Old Bridge, where there were divers teasing the crowds and hoping someone would pay them to jump. I then walked through the Old Bazaar and wandered around before deciding to head back to the hostel. On the way back, I met the Brazilian man and further on met the Canadian woman temporarily working there. Once back at the hostel, the owner told me two possible times for the next bus to Sarajevo and recommended I should walk to the bus station nearby and buy my ticket; so I took his advice and, upon reaching the station, was surprised to learn that the next Sarajevo-bound bus departed at 13:30, giving me a half hour to get my bags and get on it – lucky for me, the hostel was very nearby. After buying the ticket, I hurried back to the hostel, grabbed my bags, said my farewells, and swiftly walked back to the station. I then loaded my bags on to the bus and found a seat. The bus then departed at 13:30 and I was on my way to the capital city.
The bus made several brief stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers; during most of the trip I slept and we eventually arrived in Sarajevo at 16:00. Once there, I exited the bus, grabbed my bags, and followed two local women to the tram stop. From there, I took the tram in to the heart of the city and got off near the Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart; from there, I walked a short distance to the hostel I booked with a couple of days ago. At the hostel, I checked in, put my stuff away, shaved, showered, and dropped my dirty laundry off to be cleaned. I then left the hostel shortly before 18:00 and walked to a nearby restaurant where I drank beer and ate kljukusa (a hash-brown style bread folded over sour cream and pickles), cufte (meatballs in Alfredo sauce), mashed potatoes, and vegetables. After dinner, I stopped at a nearby supermarket and bought some juice, energy drinks, water, snacks, and a bottle of Bosnian red wine. I then returned to the hostel, procrastinated reading news articles on the internet for some time, and then finally got to work on some much neglected journal entries. I stayed up late, typed along, and drank the bottle of Bosnian red wine I had bought earlier (it was made from Blatina grapes and it was dry, tannic, and tasted of blackberries, raspberries, precious metals (???), and earthy flavors). After finishing my bottle of wine and catching up on most of my past journal entries, I finally went to sleep after 04:00 – it was a long day.