Mostar Travel Blog› entry 9 of 23 › view all entries
Long lie for the first time in what seemed ages, and had already packed the night before so made the absolute most of it. Left the apartment about 11-20 and walked down the dreaded steps and around the port to the bus station. Were there for just after midday after a gentle stroll. No sign of the bus loading so we hung about and everybody sat about where they wanted, some outside some in the air con waiting room.
Bus started loading at half past,and we got our stuff on. Thing to note, and it happened everywhere else round the Balkans was, despite having your tickets already, you have to pay again to carry bags on the buses luggage compartments, though it was only about £1 each . Set off on time at 1pm, and headed on up the coast. Not a trip you want to be doing totally hungover as the bus twists and turns it's way up the coast.
After about an hour you come to one of the strange anomolies of the region, in that driving up the main coast road you leave Croatia and enter Bosnia for a 20km stretch of coast. We stopped just outside the town there for a break, it had been barely more than an hour and a half since we left, but it was interesting as there was a Bosnian Navy :-O boat anchored in the harbour. This area is known as the Neum Corridor and is Bosnia's only access to the sea. On the coast on the other side was a big red and white checked emblum, painted onto the rock face, leaving you in no doubt the other side belonged to Croatia. Once we loaded onto the bus again we stopped in the main town there, and it became apparent why the stop was before it, as the practically empty bus filled rapidly, with folk who had been on holiday here heading back mostly to Sarajevo .
On this stretch neither of the border crossings were as anal as the ones going into Montenegro, and later on a lot more relaxed than the main crossing into Bosnia later on. Driving on we turned off the coast road towards Metkovic and just after there we hit the border which was a real pain in the ass, since even with the driver skipping through the waiting traffic the buses got pulled in the no mans land, and you had both Croatian and Bosnian passport control, but at different times. Took the best part of an hour to get through.
That done we were on our way again, but the 2 1/2 hour timetable to get to Mostar was never going to happen. Straight away as after we crossed the border I noticed that in the towns and villages we were going through, almost where ever possible, but especially on the main streets hanging from wires over the main road, they were still flying the flag of Croatia.
After a short stop in a town just over the border we went on and were soon entering Mostar. First thing that struck you was the hill above the town where there was a great big Christian cross on the top of it. Which after wandering around Mostar over the next couple of days still seems a bit strange as the skyline of the town is dominated by minarets. Driving in through the town you were thinking WTF, as even 15 years later there was still so much damage and it was looking like a real shithole :-O.
Even when we got to the bus station it wasn't looking that clever.
Followed our way down to the Old Town (Stari Grad) , over the old bridge to the Kriva Cuprija Hotel, that I had picked up on from this site from Brian( delsol67). By the time we got there we were sweating buckets and they had glasses of chilled orange juice for each of us before they bothered starting checking in. Shown up to our room and it was nice, and a great setting.
Back at the Old Bridge, the striking thing is the colour of the river, a bright dark green :-O if that isn't to much of a contradiction. The Old Town was very reminicent of bits of Morroco, but as my son put it 'Without the hassle' :-D. We came to the end of the Old Town and headed up towards the main road and came across the first of the many graveyards around the city. There were children playing in amongst all the graves, but really, by the age of the trees there, it must always have been a park, and just used as it was a bit of available space in a time of need to bury people.
Kept on walking and crossed the river and went down the other side. Here the devestation was even more apparent, with whole blocks still in ruins. There was a lot of building work going on, with plenty of signs telling you it was being funded by the EU. Didn't even know they were in the EU :-D, but here as in Montenegro the EU seems to be throwing loads of money in to try and stablise the region. Here as well we found the local prison, and with the rave music blasting out of it, and a prisoner hanging out the window smoking a cigarette, my daughter surmised it wasn't that bad a place to get banged up :-D
Went back to the hotel and after we got ourselves together went down to the restaurant. All the alarm bells had been going off in my head since reception, but we were here now, and had a great dinner.
After dinner walked back to the Stari Most ( Old Bridge) to see it lit up at night, before heading back for hotel and a couple of beers on the balcony. Guy from the restaurant brought us up a couple of drinks while we were sitting there and I finished them off before hitting the hay.