After Croatia, I went to Mostar for a day. I literally had no idea what to expect about Bosnia and Herzegovina. My only knowledge of it was from the war twenty years ago.
Once again, I differed to my hostel’s recommendation of what city to visit. I am so glad I did. While Sarajevo might have been nice too, Mostar was amazing. I had no idea this kind of town existed in Bosnia.
I arrived in the afternoon and spent the night at Guest House Savat, which was more of an apartment than a hostel. While it was nice, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t end up in the hostel I heard about from several other travelers later on. I believe it was Hostel Nina, although I’m not completely sure. But I was told that they had a free walking tour around the town, the mom of the hostel owners would cook free lunches and dinners of the local cuisine and it was the hub for travelers in the town.
The best thing about Mostar is it’s the location of a world-class bridge. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding a higher bridge in the world that offers jumping of this kind. I think my biggest regret in my travels is going to be not jumping from the bridge. But a 22-meter jump without recent experience might not be the best thing for a knee I shattered a couple years ago. There’s nothing worse than being out of commission as a traveler. I did however get to see another make the jump. I also met several friends who had jumped within the previous couple days…and got to hear about how much they were hurting. Someday I’ll get my knee in tiptop shape and jump myself…
The town itself was spectacular. It’s rapidly becoming more of a tourist destination than a way-stop for travelers. But it’s still enjoyable and steeped in history. The old-time streets are filled with Turkish bazaars and cafes. There are mosques available to visit. The towers on the side of the bridge date back hundreds of years and can also be toured. There were many more details about the town I was unable to get only because my stay there was so short, but I know there are tours available if you plan to visit, including the one provided by the hostel as covered above.
The food is particularly enjoyable in Bosnia. There are many local restaurants to try, as well as cafes serving Turkish coffee (kahva) and tea (çaj, pronounced chai). I ate at the Food House, as recommended by my hostel. The sampler platter was about €8 and included most of the traditional Bosnian food. I was happy with every bite of it. The meal also came with a shot of Rakia, Bosnia’s home-made liquor. As far as strong drinks go, I think I preferred Talisker Whiskey from the Isle of Skye. It’s not often that you find a drink which burns so when going down, and leaves such a taste in the mouth.
If you are planning to travel to Mostar, I would recommend booking a taxi or your hostel before you arrive to pick you up. It can be hard to find transport around the city otherwise. The bus that dropped me off from Split was at a bus station on the far side of town from the hostel.
Bosnia uses its own currency, the Bosnian Mark or KM, currently equivalent to about €.50. Cost of living is one of the cheapest of all the countries in Europe that I have visited. I was quite happy about that after the UK raped my pocketbook.
Overall, I was very happy with my day in Mostar, and I would definitely recommend it to others. My opinion would be to stop there between Split and Dubrovnik. The bus from either to Mostar is about 3-4 hours. If you spend at least one night in Mostar, you should be able to fully experience the town. And for the ultimate thrill, don’t miss the bridge jump like I did. After all, how can I consider myself an adventurer without jumping? Damn knee!
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