Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Day in Bosnia-Herzegovina

It was Dan's birthday on the 19th of June. Months ago I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and he said he wanted me to plan a trip for the three of us. This is likely our last trip while living in England, so I wanted it to be something interesting and unique--to a place we may not have a chance to visit again. After talking to some friends and doing some research, I settled on Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'm not sure I could have pointed to these countries on a map before living here, so they definitely qualify as interesting and unique.

Flying into Dubrovnik, Croatia gave us easy access to Bosnia and Montenegro. We honeymooned in Italy and Croatia almost six years ago, so we didn't plan on spending a lot of time there this trip. Our flights got in pretty late on Wednesday night, so we stayed in Dubrovnik for the night before driving toward Mostar, Bosnia the next day. Bosnia-Herzegovina is part of the former Yugoslavia, and was enmeshed in a terrible civil war in the 1990s. I've been to a couple of former war-zones before (Cambodia, Israel, parts of Europe), but none as recent as this. Driving through the country you see evidence of the war everywhere: shelled out buildings, bullet holes, wrecked infrastructure. It was very sad, but also encouraging that people are moving on and rebuilding.

The drive to Mostar was stunning. The Croatian/Bosnian coastline is one of the most beautiful places I've seen. Just past the border, we stopped in an old Turkish settlement called Pocitelj. We had a fantastic lunch at the top of the hill underneath a canopy of grapes.

Mostar is most famous for its 16th century Ottoman bridge. Unfortunately the bridge, which had been standing for more than 400 years, was destroyed in 1993 during the civil war. The reconstructed bridge was opened in 2004.

I really enjoyed sitting on the "beach" watching people swim in the turquoise water. Though Mostar can be done as a day-trip from Dubrovnik, we opted to stay overnight. It was great spending more time wandering around this old city, and having a more leisurely drive on the way back. If you plan on going, stay at Casa Mostar. It was wonderful!

Read more about this trip:
Bay of Kotor Towns
Dubrovnik in a Day

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