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War-torn Bosnia

June 2, 2016 0 Comments

We’re in Bosnia Herzegovina, have been for a few days. Boy have these guys had a tough journey. About 25 years ago they were in a brutal civil war, separating Muslims and two strands of Christianity. We tip-toed about it a bit, but when questioned, the young ones are very proud of their country.

Bosnia 8There is constant reminder of the civil war, with bombed out or shot out buildings widespread and there are more beggars in the streets. In Mostar the shop windows and doors beyond the tourist haunts are tight with steel grills – not a good look. And there was one teenager’s mischievous manner…

In Mostar, which I think is their second largest city, there is a desperation visible in the trade to extract the maximum from the tourist.

There’s also a famous bridge which was rebuilt in the late 1990s after the civil war. It’s a 20m drop to the river and local swimmer-clad men lurk about. If someone will pay money they’ll jump. It’s not a fast or lucrative trade, as I jumped myself and we didn’t see any others in the three hours we were there. The area around the bridge, the Old Town, is a tight mesh of small stalls acting as a dumping ground for Asian knock offs you see everywhere from Thailand to Istanbul.

The country roads are a bit narrower than previously encountered and the country traffic is a bit more desperate to pass. A dangerous cocktail. Brings back memories of driving in Iran. The minor roads themselves are in good condition, although through the villages no one has thought about a footpath for the locals. The bitumen just runs up against the building.

The countryside is relatively moderate undulating limestone and short, spiky scrub in the area we are travelling. I’m not sure what the basic export industries are for this country, I’ll look it up.
The shopkeepers away from the tourist haunts are pleasant, patient and understanding. The young chap who fixed my leaking tyre was nice, although a bit short on experience, but I’ve found that’s a common attribute.

The mechanic who adjusted my wheel bearings was skilled, though the language barrier meant they got adjusted and not repacked.

The pissy little dog that bit me moved quick enough away that I couldn’t place it in its master’s arms from 20m!

We like B/H, it’s awesome. I know the above notes may not paint the bluest of skies, but I think I want to remind us of the trauma these people have been through. This whole region is a very complex place that I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

Makes you appreciate how good Aust/NZ is.

The Auto Camp where we are staying is fantastic. Gorgeous people, right on a clean river, beer on tap for one euro per 500 ml, home-made red wine one euro, honey… all local produce.

Hard to beat!

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