06 June 2012


We did a day trip to Mostar.   Mostar is about 2 1/4 hours by regional bus from Sarajevo, and the scenery is breath-taking: up the valley,  over a mountain pass, down the incredible river valley on the other side, and then past two lakes (well, dams for hydro projects) and into Mostar.

  And it's not just glimpses.  For a considerable portion of the journey we were gazing out of the bus  windows in awe.


Mostar itself is, well, "the" bridge, and it certainly is impressive.    On either side, there are cobbled streets full of souvenir shops - actually, all quite tasteful and not as bad as it sounds.  I heard more Australian voices in half an hour wandering the streets than I have heard since we left Melbourne (Mostar is certainly on the tour group itinerary).  Yes, it's in quite a pretty valley, but a day trip was all that was needed.   Obviously, we had to have had lunch at one of the many restaurants that have a view of the bridge!   May I discreetly add that some thought went into choosing the side we had lunch on, but of course political correctness wasn't the motive (would we be like that?)  Rather, the more ready availability of a beer was taken into account (not all faiths condone the drinking of alcohol)!

Actually, our plans nearly didn't work out.    We left the hotel an hour before the scheduled departure time of the bus we were aiming for.  Normally, there is a tram service direct to the bus station, but at the moment they're reconstructing the tram tracks and there's a replacement bus service.   We just missed one replacement bus, and for some reason there was a 15 minute delay before the next (very crowded) one came along.   Then it got stuck in the traffic snarl caused by the tram works.  By the time we got to the point where we were supposed to transfer to the regular tram, we had less than 15 minutes remaining!    Hence, a quickly flagged taxi, hardly any queue at the bus station booking office, and we were on the bus with a sigh of relief and a few minutes to spare!  I might mention at this point that our experience of the regional buses so far is that they invariably leave on time - sometimes a minute or so early.

It's also worth mentioning that we have often been assisted by locals.   Two particular cases were (a) when we asked for directions in Mostar as to how to get from the bus station to the Old Bridge, not only were the girls we asked very helpful, but when they saw us again again down the road, they came up to us to confirm that we were on the right track; and (b) when we got off the replacement bus at the transfer point on the way to the Sarajevo bus station, not only did the bus driver tell us which tram to catch when we asked, but when we didn't seem to be doing the right thing (we were looking for a taxi instead of the tram), he came up to us again to make sure that we were OK. And we have always received polite responses to all our numerous enquiries for directions in the street and elsewhere. 

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