What a wonderful to surprise to have a beautifully sunny day all day in Mostar. Initially our plan was to have an active day. We thought we would do all the things we didn’t do yesterday, as yesterday was mainly spent walking about the city, but not really specifically visiting any monuments etc. We thought we might start the day by finding somewhere to sit down and read the guide book and plan the day. Bad move! We hardly moved all day.
As we read the guide book, we realised that we had already visited most points of interest the day before, without really noticing it. So instead we found a beautifully sunny spot where we drank a few espressos and I read bits from the “Western Balkans” guide book to Tim. And now we want to visit many other areas in the region. There are some real gems out there, but many still quite undiscovered compared to other Western Europe destinations. I think Albania and Montenegro seem quite alluring to us …
And I got a bit of a tan today. I didn’t really realise the sun was so hot – there is a bit of pink going on on my arm and chest.
In the meantime today, I have been making a few notes of other things which I have observed:
· It seems that most people, especially those under about 45 years of age, wear jeans.
· Today (Saturday) the city swelled as tour buses arrived and big groups of people with their tour guides milled about.
· You can’t get a diet coke in this city not for love nor money. It’s full-fat coke or nothing at all! They look at you quite strangely when you ask for it too, as if it were a strange request.
· You can tell a man’s religion by the colour fez he wears: red for Muslim, black for catholic and blue for Orthodox. They aren’t widely worn anymore though.
· Beer is cheaper than cold drinks or juice at most restaurants.
· Had we not been so full last night, we would have considered ordering the dessert which was ‘pancakes with a tint of raspberry’!
· Ćevapi is the staple food: pita bread filled with mini oblong meatballs, served with raw onions. (4-8KM, £2-£4). But the pita bread isn’t pita bread as we know it. It is more like Italian focaccia bread, but flatter. I love it!
· When you walk past the many graveyards, there are so many dating from 1993 – the height of the war, where very many young men lost their lives. It is very sad.
· When you approach Mostar by bus, you can still see the snow capped mountains in the distance.
· We spent a large part of the afternoon on the terrace of an uber cool cafe. After lunch we ordered a beer. The owner had a giggle and then told us that that was a non-alcoholic beer – the building’s owner was Muslim so he wasn’t allowed to have alcoholic beer on the menu. But don’t worry, he could offer us the ‘real thing’! And out came our favourite pivo (beer): Sarajevsko! Hurrah!
· When travelling in non-English speaking countries around the world, we may be battling to communicate with Bosnians, Croats, Thais, Indians etc. However, when I see other nationalities having to try and communicate in the only vaguely common language, English (!!), I thank my lucky stars. At least I am fluent in English …
· I saw a very unusual and surprising sight in a (closed) butchery in town – some dried meat hanging up that looks very much like biltong. I wonder what it tastes like?
· I am becoming a true Brit – I am craving a cup of tea!