Mostar, Bosnia

We bring the rain. We have been rained on in 44 separate countries this trip. That is a 90% success rate of getting rained on, but we won’t melt. The forecast for the next ten days is all rain within a 200 mile radius.

Thankfully we had 1.5 days of sunshine in Mostar, and that gave us perfect weather for our backpacker tour with Bata. He told us, “We call backpackers snails because they move slow and they carry their home on their backs. Who are they? What do they want? We set up the hostel and tour to infiltrate them, and bloody hell, they pay us to do it.”

He drove our group around Herzegovina and shared the history of the Bosnian war along with his story of surviving genocide by being smuggled out of the country when the killers came for him. Many buildings in Mostar are concrete shells riddled with bullet holes, and the current bridges are reconstructions because most of the originals were destroyed by the Serbian army. Stari bridge was destroyed by the Croatian army when they double-crossed Bosnia.

The country is still deeply divided with painful scars and continued policies of segregation.

We visited Kravica waterfalls and a fifteenth century town that overlooks the river. A local grandmother made us Bosnian coffee and snacks. Our final stop was a Dervish monastery.

After spending a day with our tour group, we were all friends and decided to spend the next day together too. We climbed up the sniper tower and surveyed the graffiti. In turns it was artistic, political, angry and reconciliatory. We noticed one graffiti message everywhere “Red Army 1981.” The war was 1992-1995, but did Russia fight Yugoslavia back then? Did Yugoslavia fight someone else and the graffiti artist is nostalgic? No. We looked it up and “Red Army” is the name of their soccer/football fanclub and it was established in 1981. Go sports!

Much of the old town has been rebuilt since the war and the beautiful Stari Most is an exact replica.

Bosnian food is amazing. I can’t rank all the meals in my life, but lunch at Tima-Irma was one of the best.

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