unexpectedly charmed by the low key Mostar, Bosnia.

5 ā€“ 8th in Mostar

We walked to the place our host asked us to meet her. We waited for 10 minutes, wondering, if she doesn’t turn up, where will we sleep tonight? I wouldn’t be able to sleep outside in this cold anymore but there doesn’t seem to be any hotel or hostel about. The town was eerily quiet. Finally she appeared. Relieved, we walked with her back to her apartment. After getting acquainted with the two cats, a hot cup of tea, we happily went to bed.

We woke up to a stunning view. Our host apartment oversee the river that run across the small city of Mostar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mostar) . Although the view was breathtaking this story was not- the river separated the Christians/Croats on this side, and the Bosnians/Muslims on that side. They have a hospital, a university, a post office for each side. It didn’t feel like the war has ended. Then again,we have a lot of discriminatory elements in Malaysian society too and it has been more than half a century since our independence. Since we were so tired, we woke up late and went out for a late lunch. We strolled around and entered a nice looking restaurant which served a typical Bosnian fare. Like our economic rice fare, we choose from the dishes already prepared at the country. It was then heated up and brought to us. Some of the memorable food was meat rolled in cabbages, mashed spinach and stew. I think we spent around 5 euros each to a very hearty and delicious meal. We then explored the place, walked towards the famous bridge. Bought some figs at the market we passed, chill out at a mosque overlooking the river. It began to drizzle when we got nearer to the bridge. The bridge apparently was destroyed in the war but was rebuilt again in the same way and using the same material as it was made in the 15th century. It began to rain heavily as we crossed the beautiful stone bridge. We found a restaurant had tea and coffee in the evening downpour. We didn’t stop for long as we had to braved the rain, buy some groceries so we could make dinner for us and our host. After dinner, Klara (our host who is an English Lecturer from Czech) took Jamban and Gadis Rempah to check out the night life. Not really a drinker or party goer, I stayed home to request for couches and also plot a new plan for my last 10 days in Europe.

The next day, our lovely host had some time before her class and took us for a walk around the town. We went up an 10th floor high building that used to be a bank before it was bomb and left some concrete floors and stairs. I think I only went up 5 floors while the rest go up all the way. There were hardly any walls around so it was quite windy in this valley town. The sight was awesome as we can see the whole city all the way to the mountains surrounding it. It was surreal standing in war-torn building and admiring the beautiful view. Although the forests around looked inviting, we were reminded that they are a lot of uncovered landmines still around and not to venture off the road. We had a lovely lunch at a nice restaurant, a lot of fish and grilled meat. After the late lunch, we strolled around looking for a cup of traditional coffee (similar to turkish coffee). After that, we went home and made dinner. Again, the rest went out to party and I opted to hang out with the cats. I discovered that we could stay with a friend in Budapest, woot woot! I finally decided to fly back to London on the 16th and not risk overstaying in Europe.

The gang came home late, even Klara came back first because she has classes the next day. In the morning when people were able to pull themselves out of bed, we packed our bags and left, not for Budapest yet but for this other river that we heard was nice to have fresh river fish for lunch. We made our way there by bus, had a lovely lunch on a roof of this small restaurant by the river that open just for us. And I meant that for real, the owner/chef saw us poking about so asked us if we wanted food, as true Malaysians, we had to say yes! We had lovely grilled fish with sun in our face, wind in our hair and a view to die. Again we lamented, why are we leaving? We had to leave, to catch a bus to Sarajevo to catch a train to Budapest. On the local bus back to Mostar town, we realised we were running late so we ran home to grab our backpacks, said quickie goodbye to our host and ran back to the bus station. As the slowest runner/walker, the rest held the bus for me. It was fully packed when I reached, people were already standing. So we stood as well, in the 6 hours journey to Sarajevo. We played some spotting games. But I was quite tired, sat on the floor of the bus and dozed off, leaning my head against someone’s chair. Along the way, the bus stop, people get off and on and then we had seats. We reached Sarajevo train station with a few hours to spare. Jamban made a friend while looking for a cashpoint and he took us to a nearby fast food place where they served grilled meat. We had dinner there and then board the overnight train to Budapest.



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