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A Rick Steves' Tour - The Best of the Adriatic
Day 11: Lunch, Mostar City Tour, Dinner ... Day 12: Explore Mostar, Drive through rural Bosnia-Herzegovina
After checking into our hotel, we had a city tour of Mostar.
After we crossed the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH for short), we stopped in Pocitelj for lunch. It was interesting how much I started feeling like I had returned to Turkey. The vendors were selling many of the same hand-made goods and, to my delight, the food was very Turkish (or Ottoman)! I loved it!


Day 12

The rebuilt Coppersmith Street and Old Bridge

Sweet, fun, helpful Renee!
As we drove into Mostar and saw the destruction left from war, you could have heard a pin drop in our bus. Up to this point, I haven't written about the evidence of the recent wars in this part of the world. We had seen signs of war ... but when we entered BiH, and especially Mostar, the scars of war were more drastic. Going to Mostar was a "Wow! Moment" ... not in an "excited, this is so fabulous" way, but in a "wow, I need to learn from and always remember this" way. It was here that real depth was added to this vacation.

Our tour began at a building right next to our hotel

Our lunch ~ kebabs

All the seating was outdoors
Day 11

We paid to have him jump
Let me repeat something I wrote earlier ... it was here in Mostar that depth was added to my vacation. The people in this country were warm and friendly. Speaking to a few of them, I could tell that the pain from the war is still very raw and real. Walking around the the town of Mostar by myself, observing all the destroyed buildings, realizing that the numerous new buildings had recently looked just the same, ... I found tears streaming uncontrollably down my face. What horror war is ... and, oh, how blessed I am to be living my comfortable little life, never worrying about war striking so close to home. And how blessed I am to be able to travel and in a very second hand way, for a brief moment in time to be able to understand the weight of war in a way I never could by watching my television and reading the newspaper. I hope that I can do as I read close to the Old Bridge ... "Don't Forget."
Old Bridge Diver
Mostar is not just a place where destroyed buildings remind you of war. It's also a place that reminds you that the human spirit can triumph, make peace, rebuild, and overcome. Speaking with locals, I could sense that they were still in pain, but that they also had overcome and were in the process of overcoming. And this was displayed in how much of the town has been rebuilt. I think that around 90% of the city was destroyed in the war. All around Mostar now, you see the contrast of brand new buildings next to buildings in shambles. The finest symbol of triumph and reconciliation in Mostar is the rebuilt "Old Bridge." This bridge, that was built by the Ottomans in 1566, was destroyed in 1993, and then rebuilt in 2004. It was an honor to cross this bridge. See photos of the Old Bridge (before, destroyed, being rebuilt, and after).

Neretva River as seen from the Old Bridge

Neretva River, Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque, and Coppersmiths' Street at dusk

The new and the old side-by-side

Traditional Turkish clothes
Carol & Harry
One of the stops on our city tour was Biscevik Turkish House, a traditional Turkish home from the 1600s.

Dinner in Mostar
Jumping from the Old Bridge to the Neretva river, 75 feet below, is an old tradition in Mostar. For a donation, there are young men who will jump for you. As a group, we all pitched in money to have this young man jump. (According to our guide, because the unemployment rate in Mostar is high, this is a good way to give young men who might otherwise have no means of income, a way to earn a honest living.)

Turkish House

Turkish House

The Old Bridge on a perfect full moon night


The river is 75 feet below

A fabulous meal!
Mostar is also a place of great natural beauty. It is situated in a beautiful valley with the serene Neretva River running through it.
Mostar was absolutely gorgeous at night.


I knew that I had to spend some time by myself in Mostar. The next morning I wandered by myself ... taking in all that I saw.
After our city tour, we sat down for a relaxing dinner. So much in BiH has a Turkish flavor ... and our meal did too ... meat & spinach pies and stuffed vegetables. My mouth waters just writing about it!
The people were so warm and friendly that I found myself taking more photos of people than I had thus far on this trip.




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A street mall in Mostar

Bosnia-Herzegovina ~ on the road from Mostar to Dubrovnik

Tepa Market ~ It looked much like our farmer's market at home

An Eastern Orthodox church in BiH

A Cyrillic alphabet road sign
I could have stayed in Mostar longer, but we had to head to our final destination ... Dubrovnik. On our way, we drove through a part of BiH that is under Serb control. To me, the most noticible difference was that all the signs used the Cyrillic alphabet. The countryside was gorgeous. Again, I thougtht that I'd love to return here and spend more time.
I loved Mostar. I think the impact it had on me is evident.
May the people of Mostar continue to heal and experience peace for years to come.
The people have done a wonderful job rebuilding. Some places in Mostar looked so similar to home.

A Mostar magazine stand

Bus stop?

Can we eat this food everyday?

A short walk to our beautiful picnic site

We followed Jovan's friends down a dirt road to find our picnic site
A young man, Jovan, road along in the bus with us as a "regional" guide. He took us to tour a few Eastern orthodox churches and answered our many questions about life in BiH. He took us to a beautiful lake where his friends had prepared lunch for us. The food was so good that I ate way more than I should have!

The food was incredible ~ the cheese, the bread, the meat ~ it all tasted so fresh

No parking lots out here

The unfinished interior of an Eastern Orthodox church in Nevesinje, BiH
Our last stop before crossing the border into Croatia and before saying "goodbye" to Jovan was in Trebinje, BiH.

Me and Jovan

The frescoes in the Trebinje church were brilliant

Eastern Orthodox church in Trebinje

Trebinje, Bosnia-Herzegovina
On YouTube I found a beautiful movie of the "birth, death, and rebirth" of the Old Bridge. I think if you've ever been there and walked across the Old Bridge, you will especially appreciate it. It's long, but be sure to watch both parts.