and how do you spell Bosnia-Herzegovina?
07.09.2011 - 10.09.2011 30 °C
We left Korcula and enjoyed a private Peljsac Peninsula Tour. We had bought one way bus tickets to Mostar but when we got off the boat on the mainland across from Korcula, we were met by our exclusive chauffeur, Zirko. He owns Korcula Travel and had some business in Mostar so he drove us there. His English is very good and he is keen about Croatian politics so there was lots to talk about. The peninsula is rugged and the views from the mountain road were spectacular. It reminded us of Dead Horse Gulch on the approach to Skagway. We passed through the town of Ston, the location of the "Great Wall of Croatia", second only to the Great Wall of China...a very distant second at 5.5 kms. Grapes grow very well in this area so there are quite a number of wineries along this road as well.
Upon arrival in Mostar, we discovered that our motel was short on the "mo" as our fearless driver Zirko circled the Old Town several times looking for Motel Emen. In the end, we got out and walked over cobblestones through a busy market until we saw the sign. The mo/hotel was new and the room quite like an Ikea showroom with lots of light wood and a pristine bathroom. It was a very short walk to the Old Bridge which is the first place that we visited. There were several young men there teasing tourists by standing outside the railing of the bridge and looking like they were just about to jump into the cold Neretva River....they just needed the right amount of money. It was over 40 minutes of starting and stopping until finally, a young man in baggy red shorts took the plunge. Angus jumped twice from the shore in his baggy brown shorts....and no one gave him a cent! The next evening, we all went swimming and the feeling of floating down the river was great. I took the Louis Kedziora approach to water entry and didn't even put my toe in first. I was very thankful for my cold water swimming training at Long Lake this year.
Mostar is a city with several mosques and Catholic church spires doting the skyline. We took a tour of one of the mosques and climbed to the top of the minaret for an amazing view of the city. The Old Bridge, was frequently hit by artillery in the early 1990s and finally totally destroyed. It was rebuilt using the same technology that was used by the Ottomans 450 years ago. The handcarved stones that were used are smooth and slippery...in fact, during one crossing, Max slipped and almost flung our groceries over the side into the water below. We were quite a sight when we made our final crossing on our way out of town - Nils and I carrying the large bag on wheels which was useless on the stone walkways in the Old Town and the boys bent over with all the rest of the backpacks. On to Sarajevo..