Still feeling like I’d only just arrived in Croatia, at 8am and after only a couple hours sleep I left Dubrovnik and was on the road to Bosnia for the day. Admittedly I was quite unprepared for this day trip, with no maps, plans, local currency or even 100% sure on the language they spoke. But as soon as I arrived these worries disappeared as my host picked me up. After a quick car tour of the city as he drove me to the apartment, we sat in his garden and drank homemade loza & cherry brandy and ate his mum’s homemade cake while he told me everything I had to do and see and try while I was in Mostar. The hospitality I’ve seen since being here is really amazing; everyone I’ve met so far has been more welcoming than in any country I’ve ever been to.
Most of the afternoon was spent wandering around and exploring the city, seeing the famous bridge and trying the local ‘delicacy’ cevapi – I swear I’ve only eaten Bosnian food since being here! – and of course seeing the city’s much loved Bruce Lee statue. Because of the city’s religious and political divide, no one could agree on a famous figure to have as a statue in the park – but apparently everyone loves Bruce Lee and that was the only thing they could agree on. Mostar is simultaneously a stunning city and one that is clearly still recovering from the Bosnian War which ended almost 20 years ago. It still feels very raw and can be seen in the stark contrast between ruined buildings still sitting next to brand new, glass office blocks.
As the sun began to set and the call to prayer rang out across the city from the mosques, I figured I’d have a drink and wait til it got dark as I wanted to photograph the bridge at night. There are a number of bars and restaurants with terraces overlooking the river and bridge so I headed up to one to investigate, where I was asked to join a group of Slovenians who were there on business. Cue the beginning of a very strange night, although it did involve free wine and a beautiful view while the sun set, so ups and downs really. After escaping I was wandering the street and got talking to a backpacker from the US, and as I had nothing better to do we spent the evening together, which involved getting candy floss at a fun fair, getting in trouble with the police for climbing on the Bruce Lee statue, exploring dodgy bars and meeting the weirdest girl who led us half way across town on a search for food, all the while showing us photos of her dead dog on her phone. Like I said, it was a weird night.