Destination: Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

I spent my final full day in Split on another day trip, this time to the country of Bosnia & Herzegovina. A small country sandwiched between three countries– Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia– it has quite a notable history, and it remains an underrated place to visit in Europe.

Without going too much into its history (as a quick Wikipedia read is accessible), Bosnia & Herzegovina has had probably one of the most tragic histories in the 20th century: it was embroiled in a short, but bloody war for independence with Serbians in the early 1990’s, which resulted in over 100,000 people killed (mostly Bosniaks) and a tainted history of genocide, mass rape, and ethnic cleansing. It’s a shame that not too many people know of what had happened, let alone have chosen to overlook this detail in Balkan history.

Any case, the results of this terrible conflict still linger today, as the country remains quite poor. All the same, it still offers visitors great things, from its stunning green landscapes to a rich Muslim culture, as a notable part of the country practices Islam. I was fortunate to visit Bosnia & Herzegovina– even if my visit was brief, I learned a lot about the country and just how beautiful it was.

The drive to the border between Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina took about 1-2 hours, and the passport check wasn’t too bad at 40 minutes. We crossed the border and made a short pit stop at Počitelj, a village which was interesting in itself. Blending both medieval and Ottoman architecture, the village was worth sightseeing with the 30-minute break we had, and I climbed up to the citadel on its nearby hill for views of the mosque and Neretva River. Definitely worth stopping by!

Views from the top.

We reached Mostar soon after, which was the highlight of the tour. A local guide showed us around the small city, and we saw the famous Stari Most (“Old Bridge”), the 16th-century Turkish-style Kajtaz House, and the old town with a large bazaar. The sights were quite nothing like I’ve seen in Europe, as I’ve found the architecture and style to be more similar to the souks of Morocco (or perhaps Turkey) than anything else– regardless, it was all gorgeous.

Stari Most.
Inside the Kajtaz House.

We were then given two hours for lunch and exploring on our own, so I first got lunch at a restaurant terrace overlooking the Stari Most. I ordered the ćevapi, a traditional dish that resembles a kebab, although its made of half a dozen small sausages with pita bread on the side. It was a hearty meal, but it kept me going for the rest of the day.

White wine and ćevapi for lunch.

I strolled around Old Town afterwards, as well as bought some souvenirs. Compared with Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina is very cheap, and I admit I went a bit overboard with shopping there; I usually don’t buy a lot on my travels, but with prices of things being much cheaper than other places, I didn’t mind! I ended up buying a few postcards, magnets, even a lovely embroidered journal for under 12€– I ain’t complaining!

Glass works.
Bronze works.

Before it was time to reconvene with my tour group, I hustled across town to another bridge, where I got views of the Stari Most and Old Town in the distance. I got my photos in before I returned to the tour coach, and we soon headed off to our last stop(s) of the day.

Views of Stari Most and Old Town.

We were given two choices of places to see: Medjugorje (where the Virgin Mary was apparently seen in 1981) or Kravica waterfalls. I opted for the latter– even though I’d just visited Plitviče Lakes the day before, I still found Kravica to be quite lovely. I didn’t swim in the water, but instead relaxed with a glass of white wine near the beautiful views.

Kravica waterfalls.

Around 17:00, we left to head back to Split. We passed through the border checkpoint with ease, and we returned around 19:00. It’d been a long, but fruitful day, and I was glad to have gotten a glimpse of Bosnia & Herzegovina– in fact, I’m inspired to return some day, so as to see more of the country!

Stay tuned for the next installment of my travels!

— The Finicky Cynic

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