Sunday, May 25, 2019
Side trip to Mostar
As I am starting to input this day on the computer, the Muslim “Call to Prayer” is sung again over the city. I like the sound of the chanting several times a day. The chanting is still done live and broadcast over the city. Now over to Sunday morning.
Breakfast this morning was at 7:30 am. We all sat at a long table and were served a fried egg with toast plus tea and coffee. Yoghurt, cheese, cold cuts and milk was on the table. No hot water with lemon for Eke, so she settled for green tea. She missed her fruit.
At 8:15 am we left on a minibus for Mostar – almost a three-hour drive with one stop for a pee and tea! The weather was good; not very sunny, but not cold either. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains beside the river Neretva. The water in the river is blue/green and reminded us a bit of the colour of Lake Louise in BC. The mountains were on both sides, some were snow capped up high and the trees growing on the mountains were a vibrant green. We drove through several villages and towns. One very large town in a valley was Tuzla.
Once we arrived in Mostar, we had an orientation walk in the old part of the city. The streets were cobble stones with lots of small shops and stalls selling souvenirs and locally made articles and embroidered linens. It was incredibly busy with tourists.
Everyone was either coming from or going to the Stari Most Bridge (Very Old Bridge). The bridge was built in the 16th century, destroyed during the war in 1993 and rebuilt and opened in July 2004. The cobble stones going up the arch of the bridge and going down were very shiny and slippery – walking carefully was a must! Lots of photos are taken on and around the bridge because of the history and the views are beautiful – so we joined the photographers!
On top of the bridge young men are collecting money from the people and promise to jump from the bridge into the river (Neretva still) when they have collected 50 Bosnian marks. Of course we contributed and went down to the river’s edge waiting for the guy to jump. After a while it did happen and it was quite an exciting moment! He was safe and quickly got out of the cold water! Of course we cheered for him!
After that we had free time to wonder around and have lunch. We chose to have lunch first and found a restaurant down by the river. The food was good, not outstanding, but it did the job of keeping us healthy. Because we had taken the time to have a sit-down lunch, we didn’t have a lot of time left to explore things. We walked back to our meeting point slowly and enjoyed some of the views of the bridge and river on the way back.
Brian bought a lemon/pistachio ice cream /gelato and then a second one: apple/raspberry. The young woman behind the counter recognized him the second time and made a remark that he couldn’t resist coming back.
Then it was time to get on the bus and start the journey back. By then it was overcast and we got an occasional drop of rain, nothing noteworthy.
At 6pm we all went to our “breakfast” room and had a cooking lesson. Our hostess taught us how to make stuffed peppers, onions and stuffed cabbage leaves. She mixed the ground beef with onions, rice, water and spices. Then we stuffed the leaves, onions and peppers with the meat. Then all of it went into the oven.
After half an hour we came back to eat our dinner. A salad was added and a sweet dessert. It all tasted very good although it was quite greasy.
After dinner some of us stayed behind and Eke asked Dusan what it is like for him travelling through the countries of Croatia and Bosnia/Herzegovina, he being Serbian. Dusan told us a lot about the history again and acknowledged that we get information from people who cannot be objective, himself included. We told him that is why it is so important for us to hear also from him and his experience. He told us some little-known facts of what happened in the Balkans during WW II and the 1991 war. Facts that still are not reported by the media who make Serbia appear as the only one who committed war crimes.
We all were touched and quiet. Christine asked how he sees the future. He answered that there is a lot of tension in the Balkans. Also, international involvement and investments are impacting the area. Economic interests are very important for today’s governments. It was enlightening to hear his knowledge and how difficult it is to have a balanced view when all of it has and still is impacting you personally.
Another eventful, long day and time to rest!