Friday, July 3, 2009
July 1 - Korcula to Dubrovnik to Mostar
The early morning bus hopped the ferry to the mainland and arrived in Durbrovnik with plenty of time for me to wander back to my favorite internet cafe until the afternoon bus for Mostar, Bosnia. I was excited to go to a new country. Croatia had been generous and friendly but I was done with the island vibe. I was getting the travel bug - my curiosity and the hints of the past war with Bosnia, seen in the mortar holes in the tile of my rented bedroom and in the conversations with Croatians, made me ready to move on. My time traveling alone was short-lived - on the bus I met Patricia the Canadian, in the beginning of a two month travel from Italy to Turkey.
We arrived in Mostar around 7 pm, found our hostel, checked in, and wandered down to the old bridge that gives the old town of Mostar its reason for initial existence. The influence in this country is Muslim and Turkish, with a smattering of Autro-Hungarian in later centuries. In the 15th century, the bridge across the river Natadve was built to connect the East and West traders. This geographical spot seems to be where Europe and the East intermingled. And the town of Mostar, between buildings blown up by mortar fire between the years of 1992-95 by Croats and Yugoslavian forces during the fall of Yugoslavia, still has a strong Muslim presence. For the first time, I heard the 5 times daily humming of the call to prayer from loudspeakers on the minerets of mosques. It was beautiful, like evening crickets in summer.