Crossing the border in the middle from Montenegro to Bosnia & Hercegovina, we realised we had just ticked off our 50th country – 153 to go (depending on how you count it!) Other than a fancy bridge in Mostar, we were unsure of what to expect. Growing up in the 90’s we remembered what was televised during the Yugoslavian War, but since then it has been off the radar, so to speak.
We were dropped off at the local bus station, and made our way through the small streets to a recommended hostel, Hostel Majdas. One thing we noticed driving in and while walking the streets, were all the buildings that had obviously been showered in bullets and shrapnel, a small insight into how dangerous it must have been living there. Walking through the gates of Hostel Majdas is like walking into your own home. We sat in the garden, just outside the living room where we checked in, were given a delicious piece of cake, taken to our rooms and shown the bathroom/toilet area (which so far, unlike a lot of the other Hostels, was clean, had four times as many toilets and three times as many showers!) We headed out to small café behind the city mosque and ordered some lunch – a Becka Snicla (Veal ‘Schnitty’ Schnitzel).
We wandered through the old city centre towards the Stari Most, The ‘Old Bridge’. It was old; originally built in 1566, but was unfortunately blown up in the 90’s during the war. It has now been rebuilt to the same detail as the original, and continues to house the Mostar Diver’s Club. Basically, a club of crazies who, for the right price, will stand at the peak of the bridge in teeny tiny speedos and jump 27 metres into the freezing Neretva River below.
It is also attracting brave tourists, who after five minutes of ‘training’ and 25 euros, they too can take the 30 meter plunge. We met 2 other people in Croatia and Montenegro who had done it 2 days earlier. One used an office chair on castors to get around, while the other sat in the same seat all night unable to move, so we thought, we would take photos instead. When we are back in BiH, maybe then we will have the courage to jump, what will no doubt be by then, 43 metres into a freezing river. We waited a while for someone to jump but it did not eventuate, instead we decided to walk down Boulevar, which was the frontline during the Bosnian War. Still remaining, 20 years later, are buildings destroyed from bullets and blasts that are untouched. Noticeably, all the buildings on the ‘Bosnian’ side are untouched, but on the ‘Croatian’ side, all bar a former 10 story building that was used as a sniper base, look to have been renovated, or replaced with a shopping centre.
We bought some supplies for dinner and wandered back to the hostel where all the guests were chilling in the lounge awaiting their daily 5pm Bosnian Coffee. Not coffee drinkers, we opted for a nice warm shower and an ice-cold beer. The town of Mostar is not that large, so when the owners of the hostel asked if we were interested in the ‘Special Tour’ we said yes. We had heard it was good, and involved swimming at waterfalls, but everything about it was kept a secret, so we were intrigued. It can last 12 hours, so we had dinner, a couple of beers and headed to bed.
The following morning, we woke to Majdas cooked breakfast and waited for the tour to begin. At 11am Majdas brother, Bata, appeared and we went on a tour that was absolutely brilliant. Here is what we can say:
It is a tour.
It is run by Bata.
You do swim at a Waterfall.
Take some snacks (not to much)
Pack a passport.
It’s a shame not much can be said about it, you just have to go to Mostar, stay at Majdas and go with Bata.