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Bosnia/Hercegovnia...... beauty and sadness

Even though we had to leave before breakfast today Renata had so kindly organised our breakfast and put it in the fridge last night. We left at 7am to walk the 40 minutes around the harbour with our bags. It was a 3 1/2 hour trip to Mostar and we had to cross the border 3 times to show our passports. Pretty quick process of just showing our passport as they walked through the bus.

Arrived in Mostar Bosnia at 11.30am. Got some Bosnian Marks out at the ATM. Not sure how much to get or even what it converted to. Withdrew 100 mark which I found out was $70 AUD. Bought a bus ticket to Split tomorrow for 25 Mark ( $17) and found our way easily to the hostel ( 5 minutes away) and paid 20 mark for the room $14.

After dropping off our bags in the 5 bed dorm we walked the 10 minutes to the older part of town and the famous Mostar Bridge which is the heart and soul of this small multi ethnic community. We were determined to find out more about the war in the 90's - just 16 years ago that ripped this town and country apart. Everywhere there is evidence of the war with bombed out buildings with signs saying not to enter. The country feels quite poor with number of beggars. We are staying on the east side which is where 60% of the buildings were bombed and the muslims from the west bank were sent back over this side

The river Neretva runs through the town and is beautiful and bright green. As we approached the old town the streets were cobble stoned with large round stones that were difficult to walk over comfortably in flat shoes and must be impossible with heels. I could feel the stones through the soles of my shoes!!!!

There are several minarets from mosques and cemeteries everywhere with many of the headstones indicating the year of death as 1993, when so many died.

The bridge was completely destroyed in the war and took 9 years to be rebuilt with money from other countries to restore this famous 500 year old bridge. They were able to get many of the stones from the original bridge back out of the river where they had fallen to rebuild with.

It is a lovely bridge with a high arch and the walkaway is made of marble which is quite slippery and has ridges to make it easier so that you don't slip especially in the downhill side!!!

Climbing the 90 steps of a minaret tower of a mosque gave us a great view of the bridge and town. The bridge is famous for its young men diving off the bridge and we did get to see 2 do the 21 metre high dive They don't dive until they have had enough money given to them to do it.

This town has such an eastern feel and influence and is selling turkish items and clothes.

Lunch was at a nice restaurant overlooking the bridge and river and I had vegetable soup and read my book for a while.

We wandered around the interesting streets and I bought Alaiya a cute turkish scarf /skirt for 5 E or 10 marks and then caught the train ride around the streets for 2 euro (4 marks) to see more of the town. Unfortunately the PA broke so we didn't fully understand all we were seeing but so many buildings are still in ruins from the war 16 years ago. The town would have been so beautiful pre- war and so sad for them to lose so many lovely stone buildings.

We had dinner in a beautiful restaurant and shared a platter of traditional Bosnian food which was 30 marks (18 E) which had Dolma filled with mince, sausages type patties, potatoes, sour cream, capsicum filled with meat and rice mixture, lettuce, mayo, rice & nice bread. It was all very yummy.

It was getting dark and there were many windy streets to navigate our way back home, so we left arriving back just on dark as the streets are not too well lit.

We are in a 5 bed dorm and sharing with a Japanese girl and larrkin Aussie guy. After chatting we realized that he was one of the crazy Aussies we had been watching jumping off the cliffs in Dubrovnik!

Marin the owner of the hostel lives there with his wife and young son. He asked if we would be interested in finding out more about the war as he was 16 years old when it happened and had DVD footage. Most of the people staying there including some nice English couples from a room upstairs all joined to watch it in their small courtyard.

He had some home footage that an uncle who travelled down from Sarajevo filmed. There was bombs exploding every 4 seconds for a couple of years and snipers positioned in buildings and on the hill overlooking the town. They were being shelled by the Croats on the west bank and the serbs on the east side. His family are Bosniaks ( muslims ) and most of them lived on the east bank. Basically the east side was under siege for a couple of years and attacked from both sides. Every bridge over the river was destroyed. They bunkered down in their homes, and had 20 people living in 1 room and only left once a day to get soup rations and water. Their windows were all covered up and on the roof balcony which has a trellis of grapes vines providing shade , they could only go up to pick the grapes at night because of snipers. There was footage of people being hit by snipers and shells as they came out of their homes to try and get water from the river for bathing and clothes washing. Someone would get the body and put them in a wheel barrow to try and get them medical help.

There are bullet holes in their building everywhere and a mortar shell that knocked down some walls. His grandfather was shot by a sniper and died on leaving the house a month after the footage of him in it. They had a basic makeshift hospital to take the injured to.

Food was basic with severe rationing. He said he didn't see chocolate for 4 years. We then watched footage from a journalist who managed to get in and also the bombing of the famous bridge.

It sounds like a very confusing war and terrible atrocities happened not only in Mostar but all over Yugoslavia as it was known as then and thousands of women were systematically raped. Horrible time.

Hostel Miran - our room

Hostel Miran - our room


Alley into hostel

Alley into hostel


Hostel street Entrance

Hostel street Entrance


Emerald green river near our hostel

Emerald green river near our hostel


Neretva River

Neretva River


Signs of deceased locals gets posted on trees

Signs of deceased locals gets posted on trees


Minaret of mosque

Minaret of mosque


River

River


Stari Most- Mostar's Bridge

Stari Most- Mostar's Bridge


View from top of minaret

View from top of minaret


Mum at top of minaret

Mum at top of minaret


View of bridge from minaret

View of bridge from minaret


Steep stairs - Mum's legs hurt for 2 days

Steep stairs - Mum's legs hurt for 2 days


Cobble stoned streets

Cobble stoned streets


Turkish influence

Turkish influence


East bank of Mostar

East bank of Mostar


Shops

Shops


The bridge - heart and soul of Mostar

The bridge - heart and soul of Mostar


Diver waiting to get enough money

Diver waiting to get enough money


Nice cafes overlooking the river and bridge

Nice cafes overlooking the river and bridge


Bridge

Bridge


Shells of buildings

Shells of buildings


Bombed out buildings

Bombed out buildings


Bombed buildings

Bombed buildings


Signs on buildings

Signs on buildings


Ridges on bridge to help you not slip

Ridges on bridge to help you not slip


River level

River level


More nice places to hang

More nice places to hang


Mum at dinner

Mum at dinner


Our shared Bosnian dinner

Our shared Bosnian dinner


View from minaret

View from minaret


From east bank

From east bank

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina

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