A few words to summarize our stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Magical, intense, unexpected!
We fell in love with the minutes 1ères! It's so different from what we expected, far from the image of the country devastated by the war, even if it is obvious that this episode is still present in the minds of people and in the landscape. A rich, bewitching story, people of extreme kindness and proud to share the treasures of their country.
1st stop: Mostar
The city lies about 130 km south of Sarajevo the capital.
To get there from Split in Croatia we took a bus. What an epic!
There is a big religious festival in Bosnia in the city of Medjugorje near Mostar that brings together many pilgrims in addition to tourists and locals. Consequence: the bus is full, so full that there is no seating for everyone! Never mind we will make a big part of the ride standing tight against each other by 35 degrees!
We arrive in Mostar late afternoon and after dropping our bags, drank a few beers and chatted with our new Brazilian friend met on the bus, we headed to the old town and the famous bridge "Stari Most". This bridge was completely destroyed during the war in 1993 and rebuilt in 2004. The bridge and the old town are now World Heritage by Unesco.
On one side of the Neretva River is Mostar East, where the Bosnian (Muslim) community resides, and on the other side to the west is the Croatian (Catholic) community.
A fascinating atmosphere reigns over the Ottoman-inspired Old Town, with its bazaar, small shops and of course the mosques.
When the call to prayer is heard in this is a very special moment that we enjoyed very much.
The next day we booked a day tour with a local and family guide company. The tour was focused on the beauty of the landscapes and the different sites around Mostar, but also on the events that took place between 1992 and 1995.
We were able to enjoy a delicious breakfast on the banks of the Buna River, then we went to Blagaj, a small village surrounded by cliffs where the surrounding mountains run clear and extremely cold water in which traders put the drinks to keep them cool! We continued the visit of the surroundings with a stop at Pocitelj, once again a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the 14th century. Superb.
Finally we went to the Kravice waterfalls. The rain being in the game, I did not bathe but Thomas did not ask for his rest and jumped into the water.
Last day in Mostar, we could observe the locals jumping from the famous bridge to more than 23m. Spectators are invited to give some money and once the collection is over for the big jump. The next day we take the train to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarajevo.
2nd stop: Sarajevo
Again, a really haunting atmosphere. The aftermath of the war is still visible, but Sarajevo is a modern city where you can find the big brands of clothes, cosmetics, shaded cafe terraces, clubs, trendy bars, etc ... There is of course the center Ottoman history, with its small craft stalls, magnificent buildings of the Austro-Hungarian era including the superb Vijećnica, a library before the war that was destroyed carrying more than 2million pounds in smoke.
We took part in a guided tour of the old town. We learned so much about the history of the city! For example, it was in Sarajevo that the triggering event of the 1 World War took place. (assassination of Archduke Francois-Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire) Afternoon guided tour again but this time rather oriented on the more recent history with the siege of Sarajevo which remember the last 1425jours. We were on the site next to the airport where is located one of the entrances of the Tunnel which allowed the inhabitants trapped in the enclosure of the city to receive food, goods 1ère necessity but also to pass soldiers and weapons to defend the front.
We then went to the mountains surrounding the city, and could see beyond the exceptional panorama offered by this point of view, the Bobsleigh track used during the 1984 Winter Olympics.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, then part of Yugoslavia received the winter Olympics in 1984. It is a historical fact because it is the 1er communist country to have received the Olympics during the Cold War.
We leave Sarajevo to go south to Trebinje.
3rd and last stop: Trebinje
Trebinje is located in the Serbian Republic of Bosnia. Indeed Bosnia Herzegovina is composed of 2 distinct entities, following the Dayton agreement that ended the war. On the one hand, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the other, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia. To take our bus for Trebinje from Sarajevo, we had to go from the Serbian side of Sarajevo to the bus station in Dobrinja (East Sarajevo). )
After 3h bus, 'Express Journey' through beautiful mountains and the Drina River bed, we arrive in Trebinje. It is rather calm and quiet. We climbed up to the famous Orthodox Church on the heights of the city which offers a very nice panorama of Trebinje. The city is rather nice but there is not much to see.
We took this opportunity to take care of the blog, the laundry and prepare the next steps of the trip.
I have not talked about local gastronomy yet! We enjoyed delicious bureks (meat, cheese, spinach or even potato pastries) that are served with a large glass of yoghurt. A delight!
We also did a cure of cevapi (small sausages of beef / veal) served with bread (lepinja).
There is still so much to write about this beautiful country but I think the best is really to go there and discover these wonders by yourself!
Top and flops
- Mostar, its old town, the atmosphere, and the tour we did
- Amazing food there! We gained the weight lost in Croatia !?!?
- The magnificent landscapes of Herzegovina
- Trebinje, without a car a little complicated, but it was convenient to leave on the Montenegro
We went to Bosnia to bail out the crates after our passage in the very dear Croatia, we could indeed recover some money! We spent 96 EUR per day on average for 10 days on site. The accommodation was inexpensive, about 30 EUR per night for quality accommodation. So we were able to save 14 EUR per day (vs Croatia), without depriving us of anything! In the end on our initial schedule we planned to spend 2200 EUR for 20 days in Croatia, and we spent 2254 EUR for 12 days in Croatia and 10 days in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Again the heat, a lot of heat, nothing extraordinary beer, but very refreshing.
Also good to know, borders of the beers also exists in Bosnia. The beers of the Federation of Bosnia couldn't be found in the Serb Republic of Bosnia, and vice versa
Mostarsko - Mostar - Premium Lager - Details
Sarajevko - lager - Details
Nikisko - lager - Details
Jelen - Pale Lager - a bit bitter, but nothing comparable with the American IPA - Details
PS: the very fragrant and fruty Nektar !