Mostar: Tourists at the Old Frontline

As I viewed the bridge for the second time I must admit that it is absolutely stunning. With all the day-trippers gone and the bridge beautifully lightened, we stopped to gaze and press the buttons on our cameras like there was no tomorrow.

Stari Most

I’ve been on my way for a time now. Currently, I’m in Kotor, but I would wish to give a little update on both Mostar and Dubrovnik. So to start with Mostar…

Sightseeing in Mostar

I came after a sleepy bus ride from Split. I had really been looking forward to see the reconstructed bridge and the reunited city. But as I arrived to the famous bridge I found myself back in the tourist frenzy of Split. I felt pretty let down and decided to find a café to escape the endless tourist bazar stretching both sites of the bridge. All these day-trippers from Dubrovnik almost breaking the bridge for the second time with their uncountable number of feet, legs, arms, cameras and convertible marks.

Mostar souvenir shopping

I know I myself am a tourist and one of the masses, following in the long line of lemmings rediscovering Balkan, and I can’t help feeling slightly disgusted with myself that I am here to gaze at the rebuilding and the struggle for survival. I know nothing of the hardship which the people here have experienced.

Frontline

All I do is press a button on my camera and congratulate myself that I am at least slightly less of a lemming since I am not holidaying in Paris or New York. But the same feeling that overcame me in Split has stayed with me in Mostar – the hope that my meagre money can help rebuild and redevelop this beautiful city.

Local life at Stari Most

Escaping

After a break from the rest of my kind I decided to take a look at a smaller Orthodox church a little way from the centre, which I hoped would be far enough away from the beaten path. But what I thought was a little from the centre proved to be far up the hills/mountains. Thus after ten minutes of heavy walking in 36 °C I once again opted for a visit to a café to replenish and relax. But I was set on reaching that damned church if it was the last thing I did, because I needed to claim that I had stepped off the beaten path. I decided to see it as a trial run before reaching Athens and having to climb all the way to the Acropolis.

Mostar street

Back on the path, however, I took an unfortunate detour, landing myself next to a warning sign, which I prayed didn’t read “landmines”. But finally after crossing a highway shown on my map I found a prettyish little laid-back church with the most amazing view over Mostar and a beautiful, wildly growing cemetery surrounding it. I took a well-deserved break, drinking the last of my now boiling water, while enjoying the way the river snaked through the valley.

View of Mostar from Orthodox Church

After a my longer than planned walk to and from the church I was more than pleased to finally reach my accommodation for the night, the house of Omer Lakise, where I was treated to a cup of coffee and some lively conversations!

Karadzozbeg Mosque Mostar

Where have all the tourists gone

At Omer’s I met two other guests travelling on their own – an Aussie from Perth and a Swede who lived in Uppsala. We ended up joining up for a meal near the bridge.

As I viewed the bridge for the second time I must admit that it is absolutely stunning. With all the day-trippers gone and the bridge beautifully lightened, we stopped to gaze and press the buttons on our cameras like there was no tomorrow. I was really amazed and happy to have paid Mostar a visit, and thrilled that I had decided to stay overnight. The rest of the evening I spent in the company of these two excellent guys, enjoying a Laško and discussing all kinds of random stuff, as travellers meeting for only a brief moment in time are so good at.

Stari Most by Night
Stari Most by Night

I can certainly recommend Mostar as a place to visit, but stay overnight and have a gaze at the remarkable bridge by nightfall!

Zofka

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