Part 14: From Dubrovnik to Mostar
Dubrovnik is pretty but is also one of the most touristic places I have ever been. It is great to walk around in the evening/night because during the day there are just too many groups of tourists walking around.
I decide to leave Dubrovnik just before lunch time. It is not really a place where I want to stay longer. It is too expensive and too crowded.
Mostar will be my destination for today. The best border crossing is a bit north of Dubrovnik. I will drive the Jadranska Magistrala back north and then somewhere turn right in the direction of Herzegovina.
Again, I do not have to show any documents at the border. Is Bosnia and Herzegovina maybe part of the Schengen area?
The landscape changes quite rapidly. I drive on narrow mountain roads and there is so much stone here! It is mainly grey and green, but there are no really tall trees.
The last couple of weeks I was able to drive a good amount of kilometers per day. That’s something that will change now. The condition of the roads become rapidly worse after the Croatian – Bosnian border. It is still very driveable but more difficult to predict. You never know if there are potholes or gravel hidden behind the bushes that prevent you from viewing through the corner.
I have seen less than a handful of people since I crossed the border a couple of hours ago. All villages seem deserted. ATM’s are nowhere to be found. I exchanged my Croatian money for Euros when I left Croatia so the only currency I have left is Euro. Probably impossible to use in this country. That would be my second worst problem though. I expected to see some shops, gas stations, or any other places that could provide me with food. There is none of that. I have enough water with me to survive a couple of days, but I ate my last food this morning.
After a while I see someone leaving a building on the side of the road. It could be a bar, but it could also be a restaurant. I stop and the woman who just left the building walks towards me. She asks me where I am from and I tell her briefly about my trip. She tells me a bit about Bosnia and that she actually lives in Dubrovnik. All the young people (and everyone else who could afford it) have left during and after the war 20 years ago. The country and economy were destroyed. Nobody came back to rebuild the houses that were destroyed in the war.
This is hard to imagine, coming from a safe place as Holland and not having seen any remains of (any) war. I enter the bar and explain that I am looking for food. Obviously it is not a restaurant but the owner is able to provide me with some bread, cheese and local ham. I tell him that I was not able to find a bank (and Bosnian currency) yet. The guy tells me there are no banks nearby and that he also accepts Croatian Kuna. I tell him I only have Euros and he tells me that Euros are fine as well.
If you are ever passing by this place, Konoba Oblat, say the guy “hi” from me!
The rest of the village looks like all the villages I have seen today, just a bit bigger. I am not sure if this place is actually deserted but it definitely looks it. Many buildings are covered with bullet holes.
It is weird to be in a (ghost?) town like this. I do not want to be a tourist who takes photos of other people’s misery but I am also very intrigued by this place. I need to learn more about this country and about the Bosnian war. I know bits of it, but now I am actually here I really want to know what actually “Herzegovina” is, or what “Republika Srpska” is. So many things to learn and discover!
The rest of my route is actually quite similar to the part where I drove the last couple of hours. Some major roads are actually in mint condition but I think I enjoyed the “bad” roads more. Today the gravel roads sometimes end up absolutely nowhere and make me turn around, but they are still very enjoyable and interesting. I see parts of the country that I otherwise never would have seen.
Again, pictures say more than words. I took the photos below on my way to Mostar. Destruction but also beauty are everywhere:
Thank you for reading!
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