Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mostar...The sweetest, saddest, most charming city in Bosnia.

Sorry, Sarajevo...

You have your charms, but Mostar has that lovely Mediterranean-esqe climate and those sleepy leafy tree-lined lanes. It's awful, darn purty. No worries, though, you're surlier, edgier, more cynical, and, on the whole, I think we understand one another best.

Of course, the hus and I have been through Mostar a number of times. You can't get to the coast without traveling through the city, albeit the outskirts. But we had been too lazy to stop, and, frankly, the drive is hairy enough. Once you're at Mostar, you think, "Fuck it. Another hour or so, and we're on the coastal highway. Let's move." I had been wanting to take the train down for ages, but it leaves at the crack-ass of dawn (6:25 a.m.). Finally, though, a few girlfriends decided to take the a.m. plunge, and, well, we were off...

The view from the train is amazing, and, sadly, dirty windows and a speedy train does not good pictures make. But, if you squint your eyes just so and put some imagination into it, you can see how lovely it is. Bosnia has some of the most beautiful mountains, and the change in climate between Bosnia (Alpine) and Hercegovina (Mediterranean) makes for intriguing viewing. The geography of the mountains change, less trees, more scrub. And, though you can't see it, there's the blue-green Neretva River that you follow for most of the journey.




As if you needed your daily dose of reality, there's always war remnants left here and there. It's especially sad when you think what a hub Bosnia was for international train travel in ex-Yugoslavia. Now, the trains are slow (but steady), and there's only a few lines left in Bosnia.



The old town is incredibly close to the train station. A short walk later (and, for the love of all that's holy, don't use the bathrooms at the train station), we were at the Mosque of blah-blah-blah. Like most mosques of Ottoman construction, it was gorgeous. And the view...?

Beautiful...


Stark...














Horribly horrifying...




















The Cross on Hum Hill. In a city where the religious is often political, this was a particularly poorly planned piece of construction. I find it turns my stomach.

There has been so much reconstruction in Sarajevo that I was stunned by the remaining war damage in Mostar. Visually, it's a bit shocking. However. According to my friend, R., this is actually a vast improvement to what it was.

But, oh my. The Old Bridge. We were strolling down the cobblestones of the old town when we turned the corner to this...














And this...
















It is...charming. Lovely. You can see why this was a honeymoon destination for people in the ex-Yugoslavia.

So, if you're ever traveling through BiH, do yourself a favor and stay a few days in Mostar. You can take trips out to Blagaj, Pocitelj, and Medugorje. You can't beat the prices. Poor Bosnia...Poor old sucky economy...

And take the train! Play the Kevin Bacon game like we did and the trip will be a snap.

2 Comments:

Anonymous novala said...

Thanks for the pictures. They immediately take me back to my trip to Mostar in July. 45° C hot, though.

It sure is a heartbreaking place.

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Maria Lubambo said...

Hey Jackinski!!!

The trip was special.... I will not forget our lovely morning train ride, the "cat fight" (literally) we had to have with the cats for a quiet and yummy lunch, our laughs and the amazing view. Thanks for the company and for the laughs we shared.

5:32 PM  

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