#36: On to 2018!

2017, you’ve been… interesting, filled with numerous ups and downs, but the experiences and opportunities I’ve had made me grow exponentially both at a professional and personal level.

I’ve had to experience death on two occasions this year, and these serve to remind me of the inevitability aspects of life. You really never know what could or might happen, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to live life to the fullest. Got that city you haven’t visited? Go! Got that person you haven’t met in ages? Pick up the phone and reach out.

This year, I’ve traveled to new places, and had “adventures” which made me realise that there are just too many things that you cant control in life. Learning to let go and accept things for what it is would be the best thing you can do for yourself. That is also the only way that you can grow.

My favourite trip of 2017, was my trip to Eastern Europe. Really missing the me time and those introspective conversations I had with myself when I went hiking. Learning more about different people, and how they are made up by their history was definitely a very fascinating moment.

The world is too beautiful. Being obsessed with what you don’t like or hate about life would only hinder your full ability to appreciate the things around you. This is one thing I am definitely going to work on for 2018! Looking forward to 2018 and the surprises that will be coming!

 

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Destination: Mostar

Whilst in Dubrovnik, I decided to do a day trip to Mostar, which is about 2.5 hours away by car. I decided to join a tour group with Adriatic-Explore for this trip and I think the experience was absolutely great! I was in a mini bus with just 3 other people, and the guide was very knowledgeable, sharing very interesting bits of information throughout our trip. And, they do have quite a few pick-up points around the hilly city, which I thought was a great bonus! Besides Mostar, we also did short stopovers at little towns along the way, such as Pocitelj, Neum and Medugorje, which I thought was really cool.

Where is Mostar?

Mostar is a city in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, straddling the Neretva River. To be exact, it is actually located in the Herzegovina region. To get there from Dubrovnik, the drive included driving out of Croatia to Neum, and then back into Croatia before reaching Bosnia, which means you have to clear customs for a total of 12 times to and fro! This is because Neum, a little resort town, which is Bosnia’s only access to the Adriatic Sea, cuts Croatia into 2.

What is in Mostar?

#1 : The Stari Most (Old Bridge)

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Photos of this bridge (Instagram!) got me really intrigued to visit Mostar. Mostar got its name after this Bridge, or more precisely after the bridge keepers (Mostaris) who used to guard the bridge.

The best view of this bridge is from the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque’s minaret. It costs 6 Euros to climb up the bridge and it gives you a panoramic view of the city. Definitely worth the money if you are looking into taking photos of the town and the bridge!

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#2: Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque

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This mosque was built at the beginning of the 17th century by Koski Mehmed-Pasha. From the Stari bridge, you will be able to see the reflection of the mosque in the river.

#3: Melting Pot of Cultures

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Walking along Mostar feels a little like Turkey. The architecture and souvenirs they sell are mainly Turkish in nature. There are loads of Turkish influence in the area due to the fact that the Ottoman Turks ruled the area. You will even structures in typical turkish towns dotted all around Mostar. You will also see some remnants of the Bosnian war, with some buildings outside the old town covered with bullet holes.

#4: Bosnian Coffee

In my opinion, the taste of Bosnian Coffee is similar to Turkish Coffee. It is served with a Bosnian candy which is similar to the Turkish delight. Basically what you do is to place the sugar cube on your spoon and pour the coffee over it. The coffee melts the sugar and brings a tinge of sweetness to the very acidic and thick Bosnian coffee.

Oh, I had my lunch at Urban Grill ( I know, it sounds totally western), and the Ćevapi and Bosnian Coffee was pretty good! Of course, the view of the bridge from this restaurant was too amazing to miss!

#5: Jumping Off the Stari Most

For 25 euros, you can either choose to jump off the bridge or get the staff to jump. My choice was to stick to being an audience this time round, as jumping off the bridge was not something I was ready to do on this trip. At the top of the bridge, tourists chip in to make the 25 euros for the staff to jump off the bridge.

#6: Bosnian War

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As a history major, I have to admit that we did not learn much about that in school. Considering how recent the event was, I am surprised that I actually have little knowledge about the war.

The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. The Bosnian war was fought because Serbs and Croats living in Bosnia wanted to annex Bosnian territory for Serbia and Croatia respectively. Up until today, I think the 2 groups still do not get along that well. I remember driving past this road which divided the 2 sides during the war, and this division actually still exists even though the war has ended. Our guide was a Bosnian Croat, and he spoke fondly of Tito’s time, because what followed after the dissolution of that was essentially the Bosnian war.

My Thoughts..

I spent about 3 hours in Mostar and managed to explore most of the city. However, I kinda wish I had at least 2 more hours to explore a few more museums. I really enjoyed my time in Mostar, and the trip made me very intrigued to read up more about the history of Bosnia. With its influence from the Ottoman empire, the Austria-Hungarians empire and its time under communist rule as Yugoslavia, this little town is really a melting pot of cultures and I would definitely recommend anyone who is in the area to make a trip to the city!