Monday, October 23, 2017

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

13 - 14 Sept 2017

Our Balkan journey continues from Dubrovnik to Mostar. We took the 4pm bus from Dubrovnik. However, our 4pm bus never came. Our bus was combined with the scheduled 5.15pm bus, and it was a double decker bus. The bus ticket from Dubrovnik to Mostar cost 125.3 kuna (EUR 18) per person. The cost of backpack stowed in the lower compartment is EUR 1 (or 7 kuna) per bag. We stopped quite long at the border control, not sure what happened there.

We finally arrived at Mostar at 9.30pm but found out there was no phone coverage! Before we departed from Dubrovnik, I texted our guesthouse that we were delayed. So I hope our host was still waiting for us at the guesthouse. The bus station was already closed, except for the office of the bus company that we took - Globtour. I asked the staff if I could borrow her phone to call our guesthouse as our phones were out of coverage.

Suddenly a woman appeared from behind and greeted us. She introduced herself as Janet, and explained that she was from our guesthouse Pansion Palace. She called the bus company to check if our bus has arrived then came to fetch us. Hungry and tired, Janet was our saviour for the night! She drove us back to Pansion Palace (EUR 25.20 per room per night,, then explained to us the places of interest in Mostar and provided us a map. She also recommended us places to eat (as we were hungry) and let us check out late the next day at 1pm while waiting for our 3pm bus to Sarajevo.  Such a great host!

with Janet. Yes, Balkan people are tall

our simple room

After putting our backpacks, we went to Sadrvan, the restaurant that Janet recommended. It is located in the Old Town or Stari Grad. We ordered the National plate (consists of 4 japraka, 4 dolme, small cevap, 10 cevap, duvec, boiled potatoes, sour cream) for EUR 18. It was delicious and we finished everything although the portion is big for 2 persons! Oh yes, the Bosnian currency is Mark, but Euro is widely accepted in Mostar. We paid for our dish in Euro.

Sadrvan restaurant

National plate- delicious!

After dinner, we walked a bit around the Old Town area and the famed Stari Most bridge, where I have been wanting to go since a long time. Finally I was there! We took some pictures then called it a day then walked back to our guesthouse.

Mostar Old Town at night

Old Bridge museum at night

Stari Most at night

The next morning, we started out at 7am, walking towards the Old Town, first taking pictures of Stari Most in the morning. There was an event going on - the Red Bull Cliff Diving so the staff were setting up the diving platform in the middle of the bridge. It kind of ruined the picture of Stari Most that I have imagined to take with an extra structure in the middle. The diving event was scheduled for the next day, so we would be missing out on the action as we would be in Sarajevo by then.

Stari Most in the morning

Stari Most near

A bit on Stari Most - It is a 16th-century Ottoman bridge that crosses the river Neretva. It was destroyed during the Croat–Bosniak War. It is a Unesco Heritage site under the Old Bridge area of Old City of Mostar.

the blue Neretva river

Neretva river

happy ducks in Neretva river

Crooked bridge from 16th century

We had a breakfast of burek and cevapi with Bosnian coffee, which comes in the traditional teapot with sweets and tea. We then visited the Koski Mehmed Pasina mosque, located just beside the cafe. Entrance for prayers is free, but you have to pray outside. Entrance into the mosque is EUR 3, and entrance to the minaret is another EUR 3. We then continue to stroll around the Old City, shopping for souvenirs and admiring the artisan handcrafts. From the Old Town, we walked to the bus station to buy the bus ticket to Sarajevo at 3pm (EUR 10.5 per person, EUR 1 per luggage)

Old Town in the morning

view of Stari Most from the Old Town

Bosnian coffee for breakfast



Next we went to a traditional Bosnian house - a national monument, not too far from the Old City by foot. The house of the Muslibegović family dates from the second half of the 18th century. Its architecture and decorations are from the Ottoman period. The house serves as a museum and also as a hotel with 12 rooms. The room rate is reasonable, around EUR 75 per night. We only visited the house, so we paid EUR 2 per person as entrance fee.

Muslibegovic house

inside the house

By late morning, the Old Town was already crowded. The narrow Stari Most was busy, with preparations for the diving event underway. After another round of window shopping, we went to freshen up a bit before checking out from the guesthouse. Since we still had a few hours before departing to Sarajevo, we had lunch at an eatery having dolma, but it was just so-so.



Our bus to Sarajevo was on time. We had our phone coverage today, so we texted our next host in Sarajevo informing our departure. Goodbye Mostar, I finally managed to realize my dream of taking a photograph of the Stari Most and Neretva river, though I imagined the Old Town to be bigger and less crowded.

Stari Most and Neretva river in the afternoon



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