Well, here I am in Mostar and I have finally had time to rest a little after the magical adventure in the Sutjeska national park. The 3 hour dive from Foca to Trebinje went from 2000M rocky and wooded mountains to more arid rolling but still heavily wooded hills. The sunshine on the gently twisting roads making it most enjoyable. With a number of stops along the way for rests and photos.
On arriving in Trebinje I parked up and then had a coffee. Within minutes of firing up Airbnb I had a found a location sent the request of. It was instantly accepted and within 15 minutes of arriving I was in my apartment. It may not be for everyone, but Airbnb is a bit of a revolution, people rent, houses, garages, caravans, parking spaces, why not a room? In my favourite newspaper it stated there were 50000 listings on Airbnb for Paris. So successful, even at the 4 star end of the hotel market, the Parisian authorities have been forced to act as the hotels were losing so much trade.
Trebinje itself is similar architecturally to Dubrovnik (if you have ever been lucky enough to visit). A small walled old city and plenty of places to relax with coffee under the huge least trees. It was so warm so I had to be in the shade. Then a gentle stroll along the riverbank to an old historic bridge.
The journey from Trebinje to Mostar started in glorious sunshine after enjoyed an early morning coffee with a large number of other middle aged gentlemen having their regular chat and coffee before heading off to work. Very refreshing. Once again there were stops along the way for photos of tobacco drying and old stone houses on the hillside. I then made a stop at Stolac, somewhere I had not intended but none the less was worth if for the impressive fort on the hill behind the town, and of course some lovely burek for sustenance. Once again, you do not have to look far for civil war damage. None the less, a very lovely little town.
It then started to rain as I headed for Poticelj. A very important old Ottoman defensive fort. Despite the rain getting heavier and the sound of thunder I followed a number of other tourists as we wandered around the complex. Certainly a very important location as you can see both up and down the valley as it squeezes through the gorge. The river, the road and the new addition of the railway are all in close proximity. Back in the car I decided against the waterfall at Kravica and headed for Mostar, finding the accommodation without a problem. A rather wet but enjoyable walk around town with an excellent dinner before a well earned rest.
I woke this morning to wonderful sunshine. Just the thing for wandering the streets of Mostar with it’s famous bridge, where, yes, the bridge divers were in action for the tourists. Lots of photo historic opportunities, both recent and centuries old. The smell of the bakeries, and wafts of coffee here and there. I even had the opportunity to climb to the top of a minaret and get a fabulous view across the river and the city. A beautiful 15th century Ottoman house with it’s snoozing cat, courtyard with it’s fruit laden sharon fruit trees, numerous rooms, and authentic contents. Just the place to relax with some home made rose lemonade and chat to the current owners, telling numerous stories of their grand parents when they lived there. I am currently sat writing this blog in a shaded garden with even more Turkish coffee and of course a mint shisha. Can you tell I am enjoying this?
The beautiful natural surroundings of Bosnia & Herzegovina have been a revelation. As have the cities and towns I have visited so far, not to mention the hospitality. Sadly it is the political as well as religious dogma that make the headlines, the country is after all made up of regions based on these. However, the desire to make a living and be happy in living where they do, be you a taxi driver, a baker, a teacher or a coffee shop owner are the same for everyone. The scars of recent events may yet take time to heal.