|Mostar you might say - where and what is it. I knew nothing about Mostar until I started to get ready for this trip. But today I was on the local bus at 9 am for a 2 and 1/2 hour ride through the countryside. Lots of hills, greenery and quite large mountains. For some time we passed a large lake and then followed a river into the city. Mostar is the second largest city in Bosnia and as I discovered the most destroyed city from the war. But more of that later.
I had booked a room in the Ottoman home/museum that the Americans recommended. The house dates back 300 years and is absolutely amazing. There are 12 guest rooms, not spacious but certainly interesting. Apparently it was listed as one of the top 10 hotels in 2010 by Expedia. The museum is quite lovely as well and the staff are so accommodating and helpful.
I got settled in just after 1 and decided it was time to explore. First thing I discovered - oh God silver is cheap. I am regretting what I bought in Turkey!!! So a little shopping and a stop for pizza and beer for about $7 - way too much pizza to eat. The Bosnian food really isn't that great so the pizza was a nice treat.
Then walking along to see the sights. The city is most famous for the "Old Bridge" which was destroyed in the war. There is a short movie at one place that shows the destruction and it is sobering. Lots more of the same things for sale and some very lovely views of the river and the restored or replaced buildings. But among them are still the remains of buildings that were heavily damaged and not fixed.
I wanted to write this right away as I probably had one of my highlights of the trip this afternoon. By chance I stopped in one store to see what the hammering was about and started up a conversation with a lovely gentleman - 53 years old and his son. He had me quite teary, although not intentionally, as he recountered what it was like during the war. He showed me pictures of his former shop and what happened to his house and how they rebuilt it after 1995. I think I learned so much talking to him about the problems in this country and the fact that they continue to exist to some degree. Did you know that the peace agreement organized by the US and EU really keeps two different countries in the same one country. That was actually how our conversation started when I told him I was from Canada and he replied he liked our flag as it represented one country! Over an hour later I left. I had wanted to buy something from Mostar as a souvenier and said I should buy something and he said why? In the end I did buy a small hanging and he gave me a copper bracelet (that was the hammering) that his other son, the capitalist in France made. My job to send a postcard from Canada. What a great time that was.
Now back in my Ottoman hotel. Unfortunately the internet is not working in the room so I am having to type down in reception. It is lovely outside and just a beautiful evening. I think I might still walk down and buy the couple of books I was looking at, not light for the suitcase but...
As I was leaving who is here visiting but the man and his son that I just spent so much time with. I am glad that I stayed the night in Mostar instead of coming in on a day tour which is what most of the crowd here has done. They call it express tourism as they come in for a few hours and leave.