A Travellerspoint blog

Mostar, Bosnia

Dont tread on me! Vipers and landmines

semi-overcast 27 °C

Rode from Sarajevo to Mostar today, about 120KM, but could only got about 60KM an hour so took a while. Plenty of police catching speeders. I would just chuckle to myself when people overtook me and then 2KM down the road you would see the police had pulled them over and they were getting a fine. Left earlier than usual this morning so we arrived before lunch time and had the afternoon to explore. We stopped in Mostar old town for about 10 minutes but decided to explore it fully tomorrow and headed out again to search out a campsite. The garmin and google dont even have maps here so we just winged it. We found a great place 7KM out of the main town down by the river. It is tiny but the guy here is super friendly and speaks good English. The road into Mostar is shell shocked and you can see the damage from the war even more than Sarajevo. Most buildings have mortar scars and are covered in bullet holes, unemployed seems rife but otherwise life goes on.
We are camping in Blagaj where there is a choice of 3 or 4 camp sites, ours is super cool. www.camping-blagaj.com and can highly recommend it.
We set up tent and then after a short briefing from our host we headed up to the 15th century fortress Herceg Stjepan Kosaca but the original town was built by Illyrian settlers from the 1st and 2nd century BC, it took about 40 mins walk from our campsite.
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It started pissing down with rain as we left, but it was warm so we headed off anyways. We were warned not to stray from the path as the the two villages nearby had been shelling each other in the war and there were still unexploded mines and mortars in the no mans inbetween. Also watch out for snakes. Well we saw 2 tortoises, and a big black snake. They call them vipers here and they have 2 horns on their face. Luckily I heard it before we saw it 2 feet us. I made a small poo and quickly headed away from it after warning Jennifer. Filled with adrenaline the rest of the hike was easy and the fort awesome. We could just walk around and climb on the crumbling walls with 15 meter drops, no health and safety clowns here. We also found some old bullet shells which I assume are from the war.
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Been on the road for 6 weeks now and you start to realise you dont need all the crap they advertise on TV (brings to mind the lyric
No escape from the mass mind rape
Play it again jack and then rewind the tape
And then play it again and again and again
Until ya mind is locked in
Believin' all the lies that they're tellin' ya
Buyin' all the products that they're sellin' ya
They say jump and ya say how high
Ya brain-dead
Ya gotta fuckin' bullet in ya head) .
Just having a warm dry sleeping bag or a simple meal is good enough. And nature has its own surprises like watching an ant colony for an hour seeing where they go and what they take back to their nest is entertainment enough. Life is simpler like this and I like it ;-)
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We then headed down the mountain towards the source of the Buna river which we are sleeping next to. It comes out of a spring which flows out of a cave at the bottom of a cliff. Quite dramatic! You can take a boat inside the cave as well. Also there is a Dervish house from the 15th century situated at the cave entrance. Also they found evidence of man above the cave from 2800 BC so all very exciting.
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We had a local meal of cerpacici and then waited for the rain to stop. It didnt so we walked back to our camp past some old houses and graveyards, mosques and a blown up church.
Once back at the campsite I had a swim around 8pm in the 8 degree water, refreshing! Then warmed up with some apple Rakija.
tomorrow we explore Mostar

This is the view from our intimate campsite now. the guy at the bar across the river proudly brought his motorbike out and gave it a rev when he saw I was a biker too, very cool to be made welcome like that.
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Posted by XJR1300 11:44 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Tagged bridges motorbike bosnia mostar touring Comments (1)

Sunny Sarajevo

sunny 28 °C

The road from Jajce to Sarajevo took us through many small villages. Houses were either old and crumbling, unfinished but inhabitated, or empty and delapedated. Seeing those still living in BiH's rural areas was like stepping back in time. People tend to their land in a backbreaking manner, automated equiptment is nowhere to be seen, and every inch of land is used to grow crops. Cars are very old, so the sight of two foreigners on a huge packed-up motorbike was usually met with awe. We received many looks, nods, smiles and waves along the way, and even caught some taking pictures of the bike.

Sarajevo is a kaleidoscope of culture, history and religion. The scars of the war are still visible, for example in the bullet perforated old buildings. As the country's capital it's no surprise that Sarajevo is more cosmopolitan and vibrant than other parts of the country, but on a more modest scale than we are generally used to. In this city, especially in the old town, there is a beautiful image of East meets West, shaped by the country's turbulent past of Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Yugoslavian and Independant rule. Some quarters may quite easily be mistaken for somewhere in Turkey or the likes. Many restaurants and cafe's do not serve alcohol, although we're unsure if it's due to licensing or religious reasons. However, coffee is served in abundance.

During our stay we have indulged in some fine local food and drink. We have become great fans of Burek, filo pastry stuffed with delicious fillings (meat, cheese, spinach/cheese, onion, etc). Cevapi, seasoned mince-meat 'fingers' served in somun bread and with kajmak butter, are great for a tasty snack or cheap meal. Traditional Bosanski coffee is an experience in itself, as the coffee is served in a beautiful decanter which you pour into a small cup. Sugar and turkish delight balance out the strong, thick coffee. Finally, Sarajevsko pivo is a smooth and thirst-busting local beer.

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Posted by The Minion 05:45 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Tagged coffee bosnia sarajevo Comments (3)

Rocking out in Bosnia

semi-overcast 21 °C

Got to bosnia safe and sound, not at all what I expected...not sure what I expected? But it is beautiful, mountains and green. Although some of the buildings and houses are wrecked the people are friendly and curious about us and the bike. feel like a rock star here, people stare and take photos, especially when we go off the main roads. The locals are super friendly and stuff is good value for money, even cheap compared to London standards. Not sure what else to say, so I will let the local rikeja talk for me! Went to Jajce and went to the Mountain top fort were the Bosnian kings were crowned and also saw the catacombs, then took the bike and rode down an awesome canyon until we got to a church that survived the Ottoman era conquests but not NATO bombs so they rebuilt a new one out of concrete, also plenty mosques here. Then had a braai Bosnian style on raised bricks and checked out the river and waterfalls. I will let the photos explain. So far very impressed and not sure why people dont come here. Oh ja the roads are befuckt, good quality and windy, windy, so good for bikes. Checked some guys on a big trike, they were straight out of the eighties, like from mad max, with the big mirrored sun glasses and Mowhawks! Anyways the girl at the campsite has just got us some local cakes from her friend and bought us a local beer so better get back to having a good time.
P.S meet some bikers from Czech republic and we couldn't understand each other but the blue berry schnapps was the common ground. haha. Have a good weekend everyone and remember your lifestyle determines your death style...so party hard
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Posted by XJR1300 12:24 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Tagged bosnia jajce Comments (1)

More of Croatia

sunny 25 °C

We said farewell to Premantura (Pula) on monday and headed towards Zadar. We gathered we wouldn't make it quite that far so agreed to stop somewhere along the way. The road (partially untarred due to road works!) took us through mountains, the motorway, and finally along the coast. As soon as the buttock-cramps started to set in, we pulled over at a lone, sea-side campsite. Although a bit worn, we had a comfortable and fun two nights at this random place. We spent our time lazing at the camp's bay, and swimming of course (Greg even went skinny-dipping). Greg explored the little cove and found weed plants growing in abundance! The plants had just started to bud so were still a few weeks away from harvesting. It must be a popular place for campers to wind down with a little toot. We wound down with a quiet drinks on the rocks, watching the sunshine glister be replaced by the dim light of the moon.
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Wednesday we moved on to Split, a large coastal town lower down the Croatian cost. The old town of Split is built within a ancient roman 'retirement home'. The great structure was inhabited by several high ranking individuals over the years, until the local inhabitants of Split decided to build homes within the castle walls for protection. It's a wonderful sight; a true maze of thin, winding streets with the ancient structure still present. Before the main gate is a large statue of Gregorius of Nim, it is believed that rubbing the statues big toe brings luck. We couldn't leave without a quick rub. We spent the day walking through the old town, the new town, the harbour, the promenade, up the hill to the city panorama and more. We are sure we will sleep very well tonight.
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Tomorrow we'll be moving on again, we'll be crossing the border into Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Posted by The Minion 13:28 Archived in Croatia Tagged croatia split Comments (0)

Still loving Croatia

boobs, brandy and blue blue sea

sunny 26 °C

Still in Croatia, loving it here!Good value for money and great weather...scrap that, the heavens have just opened.But it is still warm, low twenties and I have moved under cover. Spent the day doing the same thing as yesterday...nothing, but chilling on the beach. Ok we walked for about an hour and a half to the end of the penisula, which is like a reserve, so no houses or anything, except a 'safari bar' at the tip. Which was like an Alice in Wonderland experience. Lots of lush vegatation and straw on the ground with ramshacke tables and chairs. Plus toys, like ping pong tables in the middle of bull reeds and tight rope walking cables, plus some swings and a giant hamster wheel for humans, also a wierd slide made out of moving wheels? Very cool, in an LSD trip kind of way. HAHA.
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After two cokes we walked to the bottom of the rocky hill where there were small cliffs into the blue clear sea.Some people were cliff diving, other were just tanning naturist style. There were also some caves that you could swim into. The water was warm and inviting, so went swimming before hiking back to the campsite.P1050637.jpgP1050640.jpg

Our secluded campsite in the pine forest, lots of red squirells and hares scamping around
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&So far the trip has been awesome. although yesterday someone added a window to our tent and stabbed my mattress so had an uncomfortabe sleep, they also helped themselves to my phone. Luckily they didnt get the items they were after as they were secured in my Givi box. We got to meet the local police and 'CSI' team, who were friendly...it felt weird being on the right side of the law for once. Shit happens and we tried not to let it get us down, by enjoying a great meal and some local brandy and grappa - which is strong and should not be downed!P1050629.jpg

going to try head towards Zadar and then Split and Dubvronik before crossing into Bosnia.

Posted by XJR1300 12:27 Archived in Croatia Comments (1)

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