Tuesday 18th September 2012
Today’s tour was to Mostar in Herzegovina. Again another early start. This bus trip heads north from Dubrovnik along the coast road. The views to the Elaphite islands are spectacular. In the channel between the peninsular and mainland there are countless fish farms for oysters and mussels. The delta region of one of the rivers in now converted to market gardens. There were several border crossings today, nothing interesting to report. Because of the bus size and the road conditions it was necessary to drive through Herzegovena and back into Croatia before re entering Herzegovena to get to Mostar. To explain further, Herzegovena has a narrow strip on land going to the coast which cuts Croatia into two parts.
We stopped at a little town called Poticeljia with Turkish architecture, domed roofs and again more steps leading up to a wall and fort. I have a feeling this was more a retail opportunity for the locals than anything else.
The road leading into the central area of Bosnia Herzegovina is flanked on the western side by the river and beyond that steep granite escarpment on a massive scale.
We were taken on a walking tour of Mostar old town, over the famous bridge (first completed in 1566, destroyed in 1993, and finally rebuilt around 2005-6). The old town is very commercialised. The locals supplement, or perhaps earn, their living by jumping from the bridge, at 25 euro per jump from any person or group willing to pay. The drop is about 20 metres.
We also saw a private mosque, and visited a Turkish house. I particularly liked the carved furniture and fine cross-stitch hanging on the walls.
Some of the modern buildings are quite a contrast to the old 0nes.
We have resisted purchasing any souvenirs this trip, especially when it all looks mass produced and on a closer look there is a “made in China” sticker inside.
While there are some interesting things to see in Mostar a day trip from Dubrovnick is probably not the best use of time. Half a day is enough particularly if you’ve already seen a walled town so it would be better to see it as part of a through trip to somewhere
Today we met a lovely couple from Perth. We lunched together and rather enjoyed a good dose of Aussie humour. We eventually made it back to our accommodation in Dubrovnik about 6.00pm and were greeted with a nice cup of tea by the owner. She left us to go shopping and soon another couple from Canada joined us on the terrace. We had a rather limited conversation in English as their native language is French. At this point a lady from Switzerland arrived and wanted accommodation. She spoke only Italian and German; so with my limited school German I explained the situation and told her to come back later. Ewen and I decided to go to find some dinner, and left the French speaking couple to deal with her if she came back. Not sure if she came back but the Canadian couple made some comment about appreciating our humour.
Wednesday 19th September 2012
Breakfast on the terrace this morning was a wonderfully relaxed way to start the day. Ewen was keen to ride the chair lift to top of the mountain above Dubrovnik and from here we planned to walk back to the old town. Ewen disappeared through a laneway behind the fort on the hill going to check out the technology on top of the tower and it took me about 20 minutes to find him. The start of the track down was somewhat elusive as well but eventually Ewen found it and we zigzagged our way down. Thanks for the use of your runners Bruce. The view was worth the walk. We enjoyed a sandwich and iced tea before heading to the maritime museum.
The maritime museum contained pieces of glass dishes and objects from ships that have sunk in the 9th and 10th century. Dubrovnik has been a port on the Adriatic coast for centuries. What was of particular interest were the navigation charts and instruments used by the sailors. They also claimed it was the skilled sailors from this area that lead the Spanish Armada to their victories.
Our attempt to take a trip in a glass bottom boat was aborted, as when the time came only an ordinary boat was available. We used the time to visit the Franciscan monastery and the church and garden nearby. Rather enjoyed sitting in the cool courtyard.
We took a chance with the local buses and managed to get down the main bus station to purchase our tickets to Zadar for Friday. Mission accomplished we returned to our wonderful accommodation and have been refreshed with a beer.
The other highlight of the day was hearing the Dubrovnik String Quartet who played in the small St Saviours Church. There were only seats for about 30 people. A very intimate performance indeed and wonderful music.