Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
Trip End Oct 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Pension Skend
What I did
Mostar Bridge

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina  ,
Monday, October 8, 2012

Didn't get the full value of the notional 75M extra sleep [0700 departure]. Up before 0600 for a shower, eating a lighter brekkie than normal. Rachel wanted to use our kitchen facilities to fill her water bottle and no banter whatsoever re my suggestion an intruder would have to be reported to management.

0700 left without Bozo Ben, Zsolt having set the time. Arjan said he could have got the tickets before. Maybe so but the arrangement was 0700 departure so I like what Zsolt did, reminding Arjan the golden rule of group travel is don't hold up the group.

A fast pace to get to the train station, passing the US embassy en route. The walk took some 25M.
While we waited for Zsolt to get the tickets, chatted with Ian and Arjan about the dumbness of
political correctness, Roddy. The Local Losers were sitting together in the station, prompting me to suggest to Ian they were deciding which type of McDonald's hamburger they should next order.

The station is very old. No wonder no pictures are allowed...out of embarrassment. We were on, however, a new train, all the better in that our coach at least was non-smoking. Asked Ian about the next bucket list trip and it is going to Tibet via Nepal. Off around 0805.

The first bit of the trip was bland so Zsolt gave us some of his pictures to look at, mostly involving people. He apparently is having some exhibition thereof in Hungary soon. I not only have the sun again but also am seated backwards so can't see what is coming: double smooth move. The distance is only 125 kilometres but winding tracks and a few stops would make for a slightly longer than 2H journey.

What party animals Arjan and I sat with. Nathalie went to sleep and Rachel got out her Kindle. Since we flipped the activities re the second and third nights in Sarajevo, it did mean all the museums were closed yesterday when we were in town which was not the best thinking.

This train trip was no Copper Canyon picture taking exercise, Alan. The chances were few and the glare of the glass made any efforts problematic. Time along the Neretva River was pretty. A cousin of Rose was aboard ie wide load.

This trip is unfortunately winding down ie in a whimper rather than revving up. I think it would work better starting in Dubrovnik and ending in Vienna.

What is a boogeying geek? Bozo Ben tapping to the music of his Ipod. Rachel was listening on her Ipod, Arjan asking if she was moving to the beat [sitting opposite her, he already knew the answer was no].

Into Mostar, walking some 25M to reach the cobbled streets of the old town and then the first view of the Mostar Bridge. It was built in 1566 when Mostar was in the Ottoman Empire. Permission for the bridge came from Suleiman the Magnificent. The slippery cobblestones of the old town are surpassed by the slippery cobblestones on the highly arched bridge.

Zsolt for some reason was giving a turbo tour. After visiting the bridge we toured the new town, more for some bombed out buildings plus the new city hall built on the site of the high school, the latter now next door in screaming mustard yellow and orange colours.

The city in many ways has not recovered from the Balkan War, largely split along ethnic lines, right down to football sides.

The Mostar Bridge was bombed by the Bosnian forces, finally collapsing on November 9, 1993. A short film about pre-Balkan War tourism, the collapse of the bridge during the Balkan War and its rebuilding in 2004 was viewed. In 2005, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

Arjan thought there was too much time in Mostar, wanting to go for a drink. That was fine but why he sees the need to invite the hangovers who have been deadbeats for several days doesn't make any sense to me, quite apart from if you're asked for a drink you don't eat a dumb candy bar on the bridge, holding things up.

I was quite happy to forego the drink, heading instead to get views of the bridge from below. I stumbed across Arjan and the non-party animals on my return, having an Ozujsko, a step up from Sarajevska. The accompanying potato chips were the first I had on the trip.

Over to the nearby Sadrvan restaurant for a local [Turkish] dish of beef with grilled peppers in rice. Had a rum and coke for a change, the rum being way too sweet for my liking. Any hope for group dynamics falls apart when the six Aussies sit together, quite apart from their discussion about baseballs and coke bottles up peoples' butts. Gavin bizarrely wanted a hair cut, Zsolt looking at him as if he was crazy.

Walked back to the bus station. A little gypsy kid was begging and Arjan tried to physically move him on. The little devil assumed an aggressive stance and then picked up a stone, threatening to throw it. Calmer heads prevailed.

Off at 1500 for a bus trip return. We were on highway 17. I was tired, just wanting it to end. There were roadside honey [and vegetable] vendors. The kilometer markers never passed by fast enough, coupled with stops in seemingly every community between Mostar and Sarajevo. The Autoprevoz-bus got into the terminal about 1735, deftly getting through the local rush hour.

Arjan wanted to walk slowly but I was in no mood to walk with the boring hangovers. We got back about 1800. Out of the blue John decides for the free night he wants to organize a group dinner. I didn't want to have dinner with the boring hangovers, yet alone Bozo Ben, but my computer wasn't sending emails so I bagged dinner, Arjan misreading why [thinking I didn't want dinner with the blokes].

Off whatever number went. I did some of the diary until 1930 when I took a walk to the Sebilj fountain to take a sip, the legend being those who drink from the fountain are destined to return to Sarajevo. The city was fairly quiet, being Monday and all, many stores closing up at 2000.

Back to find out the email is working fine. Got the diary updated, selected some pix for the blog and uploaded same, all done by 2130.

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