Bosnia & Herzegovina

29. November 2015 | categories: Travel

It’s Thursday, 30 July 2015 and I walk to the Dubrovnik bus station in the morning and take the bus to Mostar. On the way we pass through Bosnia, but are only controlled by Croatian customs officers when entering and leaving the country. It is only when we enter Bosnia for the second time that we are also controlled by Bosnian officials. A few hours later we reach Mostar.

In Mostar I walk the three minutes to Hostel David. That’s where I get a warm welcome. When I ask for a restaurant nearby, one of the two owners leads me to a Cevapcici fast food restaurant. There would be the best Cevapcici in the country.

After dinner I visit the city together with another hostel guest. Mostar is extremely beautiful with a river in the middle over which an old famous bridge (Stari Most) leads. The bridge was built in the 16th century, but was destroyed and rebuilt during the Yugoslav War. The bridge is about 20 meters high. In summer the young locals sometimes jump off the bridge. Today, however, most tourists only pay for it when they do so. When we look at the bridge by the river, a young man climbs over the railing and waits for someone to pay him. Since no one is ready for it, he climbs back again.

The next day I take part in the tour of the hostel with the second hostel owner. First we drive to the Blagaj, a huge spring with an average of 43’000 litres of water of the highest quality per second. The owner tells us that the name Balkan comes from the Turkish word for honey and blood. Blood because of the many wars and honey because of nature and the numerous water sources.

Afterwards we drive to the castle of a princess of the Duke, from whom the name Herzegovina originates. In the castle it is extremely mild and pleasant thanks to the thick walls. It is quite amazing what was possible in the 15th century without electricity. Outside it was over 40° Celsius and in the castle it was about 20° without electricity and without any closable windows.

Afterwards we drive to the Kravica waterfalls. This place is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It has natural whirlpools, you can jump down from a cliff, stand behind the waterfalls and swim in the river. We stay there for about two hours before we make our way to a church.

After returning to the hostel we will be served dinner, which is included in the tour. Afterwards I say goodbye and take the evening train to Sarajevo.

After my late arrival in Sarajevo I’m on my way to the Hostel Heart of Sarajevo.

The next day I will be on the Free City Tour. The tour guide shows us the city. Within 400 meters there is a Catholic church, an Orthodox church, a synagogue and a mosque. In general, people seem to me to be very considerate. The guide also tells us that the muezzins would make the speakers quieter than the others.

We also pass many war memorials, most of them monuments of the war in Yugoslavia, but also one from World War I (the place where the Austrian heir to the throne was murdered, which led to the outbreak of World War I).

A very special place lies between the western and eastern part of the city. Looking west, you can see a modern western city. If you turn 180°, you might think you’re in the Orient. At the end of the tour, I eat with other participants in a restaurant the supposedly best Cevapcici. It’s actually even better than the one in Mostar.

In the afternoon I visit the war exhibition, which is quite impressive.

The next day I take the bus to Tuzla, the place where the local men fled from the Serbs. There I meet a former exchange student of AFS, Jelena. She shows me the centre of the city. In the afternoon I swim in the salt lakes.

On Monday I go to a meeting with future exchange students. Afterwards I wait for the bus and drive overnight to Ljubljana.