Showing posts with label Mostar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mostar. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina has a ton of character

Mostar does not hide its character.  It is an Ottoman jewel with its history written in bullet holes, old cobbled streets, and the creases on the faces of old Mostarians.  It is the rare place that is easier to picture 400 years ago than 20 years ago, when the Croat-Bosniak war tore the town to shreds, taking with it every bridge and several buildings as well as lives, but all the while, making the character of Mostar that much stronger.  

Even the perfect Stari Most bridge that connects the city above the emerald Neretva river was destroyed, but it took an estimated 60 shells of tank fire to take down the 400 year old masterpiece. 

In the early nineties, CNN called Mostar a permanent shooting gallery with 50 casualties per day.  Every graveyard was full, so bodies were buried in parks.  It was a war so complicated that after researching it for a couple days, I am even more confused than when I began.  There is an old video at the end of this post if you want to see what Mostar was like 20 years ago.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque of Mostar

One of Bosnia and Herzgovina's most picturesque mosques sits quietly perched on a bank of the Neretva river.  It is not extraordinary, but just looks perfect next to the flowing green river. Open since 1617, the mosque has been around since Ottoman times and flanks one of the oldest markets in Mostar, where travelers can buy local fruits, pomegranates, and honey.

Stari Most - the old bridge of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Stari Most is considered to be one of the most gorgeous bridges in the world.  First built in the 16th century in the Ottoman style, the bridge stood for over 400 years until being needlessly destroyed in the Croat-Bosniak War in 1993.  The bridge was rebuilt using the old methods eleven years later in 2003. 

The bridge connects both banks of Mostar and is flanked by two towers known as Mostari.  Also, young men hurl themselves off of the river for thrills and have since as early as 1616.  It is an over 75 foot drop.

Furmonster of the day - Mostar part !!

 Dog on roof?

Dog on roof!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mostar's incredible divers

Diving off of Mostar's famous bridge is not for the faint at heart.  At almost 80 feet tall, it is about as extreme as pouring red bulls in your eyes while riding shotgun in Sebastien Loeb's WRC Citroen.  It is a long fall into the rushing emerald river below, and yet Mostar's divers make the jump daily.

One of the best things about traveling is when you run into amazing people doing amazing things.  Theses divers fulfill that daringly romantic side of travel.  When they jump, the people of Mostar watch, and have been watching for hundreds of years. 

The divers make a huge drama prior to jumping.  They will come out, take donations, act as though they are about to make the plunge, and then disappear into their strange dive castle.  They will return in different gear, tip toe the edges of the bridge over 75 feet up, stretch out over the bridge, cock their head from side to side while ignoring the masses huddled waiting for a plunge, and maybe head back again, to check email or eat gelato.

I saw one guy make the trip back and forth numerous times before finally emerging in a wet suit and hurling himself over the edge (above).

The food of Bosnia & Hercegovina


We did not know what to expect from Bosnian food.  To properly acquaint ourselves, we ordered a massive platter of local specialties (pictured above) at an outdoor cafe just steps from the famous Stari Most bridge.  From right, we had local onions, some kind of red sauce, sausages of lamb and veal which were incredible, Bosnian bread which tasted like the best parts of a grill, locally sourced sour cream and potatoes, some kind of extremely delicate beef brisket, spinach leaves stuffed with beef and rice, and cabbages stuffed with red pepper, meat, and other vegetables.  Lastly, some incredible little patties of goodness which we have no idea as to the origination.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Furmonster of the Day - Mostar day one

This little guy with the underbite was a sort of greeter outside of an Apothecary.  He just sat and watched people go in and out.  Good old fashioned friendly street dog of Mostar, Bosnia & Hercegovina. 

Road Trip: Dubrovnik to Mostar

We landed in Dubrovnik after missing our initial approach to the airport and being told that we could not land because of technical issues.  Not the words you want to hear above the Adriatic heading for the coast of Italy from Croatia.  It was very quiet and tense on Norwegian Air flight crappants.  We landed safely, and here is our trip from Dubrovnik to Mostar by car, which was very beautiful and simple, except for the part where the GPS took us up into the mountains to some "locals only" border crossing.  the guard held us for a little while and told us in broken English to go back to the shore.

The road trip was in my top 10 for sure, right up there with Toulouse to Andorra and Pokhara to Chitwan.  If you are considering renting a car and doing this journey -- Just do it.   It is an easy drive and dangerously breathtaking at points.