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Three Nights in Mostar, Bosnia

Unlike anyplace we've ever been.

Day 11 - Drive from Montenegro to Bosnia

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We enjoyed one last breakfast in Kotor before driving our way up and out of the Bay of Kotor. It was a curvy but beautiful drive up and over the mountains in Montenegro. There were even roaming cattle along the sides of the road in some places. We finally hit the border into Bosnia and waited in what appeared to be a short line of cars. Little did we know that the wait would be at least an hour to have our passports scanned and stamped. The border officials seemed friendly but were not in any hurry!
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We found our apartment in Mostar without any mishaps. Villa Fortuna was in the perfect location just steps from the old town. We were surprised to get an apartment with a small kitchen. I thought it would be a simple hotel-style room. Score! (Around $85 per night)
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We didn't take long to wander to the old town and take our first pictures of the Turkish-like vendors, tall minarets, and the famous old bridge that connects the two sides of the city.
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The cobbled streets were seriously bumpy and a little slick! You really had to watch your step.
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We were happy to find Craft Beer Garden which had a great list of local beers. We may have returned to this place a couple of times!
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The highlight of our first day in Mostar was the food. Oh my goodness! We found the most amazing Bosnian grill/BBQ at Tima-Irma. The meats were grilled and seasoned to perfection along with roasted vegetables, cheeses, and sauces. The roasted red pepper sauce, ajvar, is found with everything. Irma works the hot grill in the back and adds hot coals as needed. Not an easy job. We never spent more than around $25 for a full dinner for four in Mostar.
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We took a few more pictures as we took in the scene as the sun set and the light changed the scenery.
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DH and I went out one more time in the evening for a night-cap and to see the young folks partying it up below the old bridge.
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Day 12 - Exploring Mostar and learning about Bosnian culture and history

We began our day with an easy breakfast. I found a nearby pekara (bakery) and brought back pite and a few other traditional baked goodies. We were most looking forward to trying Bosnian coffee at Cafe de Alma. We all learned how to prepare the coffee, try it with a little sugar, and end with a little piece of Turkish delight. The coffee was strong but tasty. What a neat experience!
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Next we began my favorite mission of climbing to top of anything and everything! We began with the Franciscan Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. It was built in 1997 (when the war finally ended) and has the tallest spire in the city. We had to buy tickets to get to the top from the nearby cafe. We rode an elevator about halfway up before climbing 150 stairs or so. The bells were enormous and were from the original church that had been destroyed. The best part of this experience was being the ONLY ones in the tower. So cool!
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We crossed over the Stari Most (old bridge) and learned a bit about its recent history. The bridge is the symbol of Mostar and was destroyed in 1993 during the war. The original bridge was built in the 1500s and was the first of its kind. When the bridge was finally rebuilt, it took longer and cost more money. Great efforts went into building the bridge to closely resemble the historic original. Old techniques and materials were used and the bridge was finally finished in 2004. It was amazing to watch skilled jumpers hurl themselves off the bridge once they raised about 25 Euros from tourists. Quite a sight!
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The slippery steps leading up the bridge.
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We enjoyed the bridge museum and climbed the tower on one side of the river. More great views of the bridge below!
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The next tower was my favorite - a minaret at one of Mostar's many mosques. DD#2 and I had to borrow items to properly cover our bodies and head. The skinny spiral staircase to the top seemed never ending! We enjoyed amazing views from the top.
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After a little more exploring, we stopped for gelato and recharged in our apartment. There was a wonderful gelato store next door to our place. So convenient!

I left the family to relax and opted to take a long walk around the city. I was enthralled with a Bosnian cemetery filled with those who lost their lives in the early '90s. Most of the dead were born in the late '60s and '70s. It was heartbreaking. We saw too many cemeteries throughout Bosnia. Devastating.
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I have never wandered a town that had survived such a recent war. The buildings still stood tall with their battle scars. Many were abandoned and still waiting to be demolished or restored. It was fascinating and a bit sickening to see a town still recovering from such a terrible war.
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I found a nice cafe and summoned the family to come meet me for a snack. We enjoyed tasty sandwiches along a river and decided to trek to a mall. We are travelling with teenage girls after all. I was shocked that people are still allowed to smoke inside the mall in Bosnia. Gross! It felt like I went back in time or something. The girls scored a few cute clothing items.
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Everyone was worn out by this point so I grabbed some take-out and called it a day.

Day 13 - Bosnian side-trips including the Goat Fortress!

We stopped by a nearby cafe for breakfast. So nice to have eggs, waffles, and cappuccino.
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DH skillfully drove the car out of town and up a windy, narrow road to a cool observation deck high above town. The glass-bottomed desk was frightening especially the way it jutted out over a sheer drop!
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Next, we drove to a small town called Blagaj known mostly for its monastery built near a huge rock and cave. However, our favorite attraction was the ruined fortress high above the city. We hiked about 30 minutes up to the fortress and then realized it was being guarded - by a gang of goats! There were around 80 goats climbing and nibbling at the entrance. The goats all had ear-tags and one wore a bell. They were owned by someone I suppose. We finally realized that the goats were friendly and got through the entrance. I have never laughed so hard! This will probably be our most memorable fortress experience ever!
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We drove to the main attraction in Blagaj and saw the monastery. There were hordes of people doing the same thing. We snapped a few pictures and got out of the touristy part of this little town.
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I went out on my own and did a little souvenir shopping. Some really good finds in Mostar!

We came back to our apartment, returned to the Craft Beer Garden for happy hour and found ourselves back at the restaurant we had been to before. It was that good!
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Day 14 - Kravice Falls on the way to Split

We decided to start the day with our last Bosnian coffee.
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We left the packed and narrow streets of Mostar and found Kravice Falls Park. The waterfalls were lovely and it was fun to wade beneath them. It seemed a little less formal than the national parks we are used to.large_IMG_0684.JPGIMG_0676.JPGIMG_0678.JPG42AA6BB9-C06E-4ABE-8D82-5D4E7B9ABD46.jpeg012A143C-3A28-4D2A-A745-00CB04D3D475.jpegC2590080-21E4-44C1-9C52-22FB97C64364.jpeg

We continued another couple hours to the large city of Split, Croatia. This time, the border crossing was no trouble. Bosnia was a great place to visit and so different from its neighboring countries. Day 14 will be continued in the next entry all about Split. It's hard to believe that we have been travelling for two weeks. We have accomplished a lot and there are two more weeks to go. More to come!

Posted by familyineurope 20:30 Tagged mosque fortress bosnia mostar goats blagaj kravice_falls Comments (0)

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