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.

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