One of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik is to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s famous for its old bridge, the separated Croat/Muslim old town, the emerald coloured Neretva River, and more recently as being the front line of the Bosnian war.
There are lots of organised tours to Mostar but I usually try to avoid that kind of thing so took a regular bus instead. The plan was to get the 8am bus, arrive at 11am, have lunch and wander around the old town, and then get the 6pm bus back to Dubrovnik. This was good in theory except when on my arrival in Mostar, I discovered that the 6pm bus was no longer running because the 1st September is the start of the low season when buses are reduced. Of course no one had bothered to update their timetables with this vital information and it’s seems quite a few people were caught out by the cancelled bus.
So on my 11:45am arrival (the bus was late) in Mostar, I bought a ticket for the 12:30pm bus back to Dubrovnik which meant I had an entire 45 minutes to see the town. That was enough time for me to use the facilities (Turkish style, of course), grab a drink, and get back on the bus. I’m so glad I got up at 5am for that. I didn’t even get to see the World Heritage listed bridge
I was able to make some observations about Herzegovina though, the most notable being how similar the country appears to be to Albania. Dirt, dust, poverty, disorganisation, filthy begging children, and corrupt police officers all being present in both countries. The main difference (aside from the language) being the lack of bullet ridden and bombed out buildings in Albania. No that any of those things bother me but it makes for an interesting trip.
I suppose I can’t really say with certainty that the police officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina are corrupt like in Albania. However, I distinctly recall my time in Albania where you would see police offers sitting by the side of the road, ready to flag down the next car so you could buy them a ‘coffee’. I saw a number of police cars set up by the side of the road on the way to Mostar and my guess is they enjoy the same benefits of their Albanian counterparts.
I was really disappointed with how the day turned out but at least I know that is a place I want to go back to. Mostar and Sarajevo are on my ‘must see’ list next time I’m in the region but there are plenty of other places to visit too.
All my photos of Herzegovina were taken from a moving bus, so apologies for the poor quality.