Summer vacation - Mostar part 2
As my previous post mentioned once or twice (or 50 times) we loved visiting Mostar. One of the most difficult but fascinating experiences is walking through the parts of the city where the war seems like it may have ended only last week.
The sniper tower, formerly a tall fancy department store, got its namesake due to mercenary soldiers holing up in the tour for much of the war. As you can see, from the top floor there’s an excellent view across the city. We were told hundreds of people were shot from this tower, many civilians while trying to go about their everyday lives.
The tower has been left in a state probably quite similar to how it was when the war ended. You can walk up through the building - there’s no handrails, windows and several walls are missing. Nearly every surface is covered with bright graffiti, creating a remarkable contrast to the grey cement, broken glass and hanging pipes.
Very sadly, after 2 nights it was time for us to leave Mostar and head back to the ferry taking us to Italy. But first, there’s two amazing Mostar stories I simply have to share!
Sometimes, Brodie is an idiot, but the universe loves him anyway
To get to Mostar we had to take a bus for a few hours from Dubrovnik. When we arrived, it was quite late, and dark, we had no idea how to get to the hostel. We get off the bus, collect our bags, the bus drives off towards Sarajevo and we try to figure out what to do next. It was at this moment that Brodie realised he’d tucked his passport and Paul’s (brand new) iPad mini in the seat pocket, and not retrieved them when we got off the bus!
It’s probably timely to remind you, dear audience, that we were in an area where your passport gets checked twice every time you cross the border, and that we had a ferry to Italy leaving in three days time.
So yes… we freaked out!! Brodie ran to try and find a ticket office and I went into the only open shop in the deserted (except for small gyspy children begging) to see if they could help. The girl I found didn’t speak much English, but we did manage to establish that she had the bus drivers mobile number! The bus driver had found the passport and iPad and agreed to put them on the next bus he found heading to Mostar. ETA - 2 hours.
Didn’t I say the universe loves Brodie?! This has to be a complete miracle! We settled into our hostel, ate some dinner and 2 hours later went back to the bus depot. A few minutes wait and a bus drives in with, and i am being completely honest here, ‘Peace and Love’ lit up as it’s destination above the driver. The driver hopped off, we looked at him hopefully, and with a grin he produced the passport and iPad!
The international taxi ride
When it came time to leave Mostar, we’d planned to catch an afternoon bus, which would get us into Split an hour or so before our ferry left for Italy. Perfect. Feeling organised, we wandered over to the bus depot about an hour before our intended departure to buy a ticket. They were all sold out. There were no other buses.
Oh my god, WHAT were we going to do?!
While I (not so quietly) freaked out, Paul came up with a plan (thank you Paul). He went over to the line of taxis and negotiated with one of the drivers. Turns out, for not much more than the bus cost, we could get a taxi from Mostar, Bosnia to Split, Croatia, about 150km away.
So everything was fine! Another Mostar miracle! We travelled in air-conditioned comfort, stopped for ice cream, had a much faster immigration queue, and arrived in Split in about half the time!
Never in my life would I have thought I’d be catching a taxi across international borders, and that it would be an affordable option. A classic example of travel planning gone wrong, it was nevertheless quite an adventure.