Sunday, 12 April 2009

Mostar, Bosnia

We arrived in Bosnia by bus from Split, Croatia. The bus itself was a bit a very important part of the journey as as the time passed and we gazed out the window there was a real sense of a change in feeling outside. On the Croatian side of the border the stops were in specific places, but in Bosnia it all seemed far more local as the driver stopped and left people where ever they seemed to want.

We both remember the news as we were growing up of the war in the Balkans and as we passed mile on mile of countryside, punctuated with car wreckers, some of the names appeared familiar and we both wondered what this landscape would have been like during the war.

On the approach to Mostar itself it felt like a veritable time machine as the radio blared out hits from the early nineties and the buildings were covered in grafiti referring to the USA and Clinton.

It seems that the system here is that when you get off the bus you are met by masses of people willing to let their rooms so we are staying at Hostel Nina, which is central, clean, tidy, and has free internet (hence the updates!).

After a lazy start this morning we spent the best part of the day wandering the town. Firstly through the new bit, many building still showing the scars of the shellfire 16 years ago. Then into the streets that were the front line. Some buildings were just frames with small bits of the walls still holding on, others holes in the ground, and perhaps the most surprising some where entire floors were burnt out, but people were living with pretty patio plants, on the floors above. It`s all rather surreal and you do find yourself looking at all the men aged 30+ wondering what part they may have played in all of this.

Leaving some of the destruction behind, not to mention the midday heat, we took a riverside seat near the Stari Most, and by payment of having a coffee rented some shade for a few hours.

While we were there we saw some of the local divers limbering up for a dive off the bridge, and also some of the club members doing practice dives from the cliffs round the river. We did see one guy jump from the bridge into the river, but there`s no photo sorry!

The rest of the afternoon was spent lazily wandering the old town and enjoying the sun. Most of the walk was rather tourist boutique-y and not really anything un-expecting but one place to note was near one of the Mosques there was a cemetery, with every headstone inscribed with 1993 - was all rather chilling.

Now, enough of the free internet, it`s time to explore again...

Images from the front line, Mostar

Graffiti on the front line

Paul and the Stari Most

One of the practice dives

View of the Stari Most from the Museum

Amy liked the concept of this tshirt

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