Mostar drops nicely into an Balkan itinerary; most people arrive from Sarajevo on the train which is direct, fast, and gives great views towards the end of the journey.
One night here is plenty to get a feel for the city and take in the famous Stari Most before getting back on the road and heading further south to either Dubrovnik or Kotor.
Tourism in Mostar has grown rapidly over the last five years or so but despite this the city has still managed to hold onto its identity which makes it a cool place to visit.
As we only had a night here so we forced ourselves into a rare early start and got the 7am train down. It only cost 12BAM (€6) so it was a really efficient way to get around. As Mostar is such a compact city there wasn’t much walking at the other end either which is always a bonus for a short stay.
Towards the end of the journey the views were really scenic as we went through the mountains; sadly my amateur hour photography didn’t capture any of the them so you’ll have to take my word for it.
Let’s get it out of the way then – the Old Bridge in Mostar Old Town.
I wasn’t expecting to be impressed but I really liked it!
Depending on the season and the water level the bridge is about 20 – 25 metres high, although it was probably closer to 20 metres when we were there. The guys who work the bridge work from the little hut at the top of the bridge; it’s now big business.
The bridge boys have someone at the top and bottom of the bridge collecting coins from watching punters. Once they’ve got enough money then one of them takes the plunge!
Due to the popularity of the bridge they don’t have to do much jumping these days as tourists line up to have a go themselves. Three guys in our walking tour (unsurprisingly all Aussies) were all brave enough to take the plunge; as a result they had to spend an afternoon learning how to dive and fork out A$50 for the privilege but they all looked pretty chuffed when they returned to the hostel so it seems like money well spent.
It won’t come as any surprise to anyone that I had absolutely no intention of jumping, but I did manage to find a good vantage point to watch the jumpers. Coincidentally my viewing platform just happened to be in the shade and serving beer.
We found that the bridge was worth a visit at night; as well as it being a lot cooler and more quiet than the day it also gives some good views of the old town all lit up.
Mostar Old Town
Mostar old town is a quirky little place. Below is a statue of Bruce Lee that someone has installed for no apparent reason:
If martial arts aren’t you thing, you can still find all the usual amenities that you get in a lot of Old Towns; cobbled streets, souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants. You know the drill by now.
In addition to all the cheap crap that they try and flog to tourists in the old town, we also found a shop that made hand made copper products. We can’t carry much in the way of souvenir’s on this trip but Carissa was able to fit these in.
Things Redneck’s Say at Hostels
Our stay in Mostar enabled me to roll out the first instalment of what will hopefully be a recurring blog feature entitled ‘Things Redneck’s say at hostels”.
Over my time travelling our good friends from across the pond have given me plenty of material to pick from. Here is the features’ first instalment:
Redneck: ‘I usually take a knife with me whenever I go out’
Rest of the Group: ‘I’m sorry….what?’
Redneck: ‘Yeah, well you know there’s some places now where they don’t let you bring your gun with you’
Rest of the Group: *Stunned silence*
Pleasingly the ‘Land of the Free’ isn’t on the schedule just yet; I’ll stick to the safer locations of Albania & Macedonia for now……
Back on the road
Most people go from here to Croatia and Dubrovnik, but we’d already been there a couple of years ago on another trip so we decided to go straight to Kotor.
We stumbled upon a handy tip for those going from Mostar to Kotor, which is to get a private transfer with 360 Monte (€30, four hours) rather than the bus (€25, six hours).
The bus journey down here stops in Dubrovnik which makes the journey considerably longer as you have to stop for two more border crossings as you go in and out of Croatia. Given that we are running short of time now on this trip we were happy to pay the extra €5 to get us to Kotor a few hours quicker.
So off we went, leaving Bosnia behind. Bosnia and Serbia have certainly been two of my favourite places that we’ve visited and we are looking forward to a return to both of them.