Around the Adriatic: Bosnia - Mostar, Friday, 2019 April 5

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April 5th 2019
Published: April 12th 2020
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Unmarried and engaged, at the Konavle  Museum Unmarried and engaged, at the Konavle  Museum Unmarried and engaged, at the Konavle Museum

Status shown through clothing
Rain poured down this morning, putting the final kibosh on the boat trip around a nearby island park that was originally on the itinerary but is now closed. I was happy because I didn’t want to go on the boat trip anyway. Yesterday’s anti-motion pill made me foggy enough to lose my glasses, and a repetition on a boat was too much to contemplate.

Much better was the substituted visit to Čilipi and the Konavale ethnographic museum where fabric arts displayed ordinary life in history. The knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide spoke at some length about the embroidered and woven items in a woman’s dress. Each item, such as belt, apron, vest, and head-covering, conveyed certain information about her, for example, if she were single, engaged or married. Even within one day, she might change some of the garments to indicate that she was doing housework, visiting, or going to church. The decorative patterns were associated with these “status updates”. The museum had about thirty drawers with artifacts collected from older women.

The existence of the museum itself was due to the smart actions of the staff. When the fighting from the 1991 war came close, they hid all their artifacts in a disused dry cistern in the kitchen, thus saving them from the destruction of the building by bombs.

On the way to Ston, we stopped to look at two magnificent, huge plane trees that seemed to have escaped most of the ravages of war. A park surrounded the bigger tree, and a substantial cement pillar supported one of the thick branches. (Not very different from Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia.) Here we made a group photo.

The rain had changed our lunch plans, which had included a ten-minute walk in Dubrovnik. Even a one-minute walk would have soaked us. Thus, we had accelerated our schedule to visit Ston. Before lunch, the lightening of the rain allowed us to take some photos of the astonishing 15 century wall that climbed high into the surrounding hills - the second longest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. After lunch the rain poured again, and the planned walk on the wall had to be cancelled.

Lunch was wonderful! Menka had chosen the restaurant from the internet while we were busy admiring the embroidery at the museum. The menu of Backus Restaurant was almost exclusively sea food. Mussel farms were
Ston Walls 15 century Ston Walls 15 century Ston Walls 15 century

Steep climb, too much in the rain
in the water all along the calmer inlets, and I was delighted to order them for lunch. All the dishes were gigantic; at one kilo, my mussels in a garlic butter sauce was one of the smaller offerings (because so much of the weight is shells). This Pelješac Peninsula is known for its excellent red wines, and I did my own research, enjoying the tannic, fruity flavour.

In the pouring rain we took a short walk to a local grocery store, which resulted in the buying and eating of chocolate. Very satisfying.

Back in the bus, I noticed how much lusher was the vegetation in this region and saw the trees covered in the white flowers again. Vineyards were quite visible because they hadn’t grown much yet this year and looked like wide slashes in the landscape.

The main road from Dubrovnik to Mostar (and Split) crosses borders three times. Bosnia has a narrow neck to give it access to the sea, but the road continues along the coast and before turning inland. Croatian passport control and customs let us out, Bosnia let us in; twenty minutes later, Bosnia let us out, Croatia let us in. Half an
Villa Fortuna, Mostar Villa Fortuna, Mostar Villa Fortuna, Mostar

Modern hotel in the old city
hour later, Croatia let us out and Bosnia let us in.

Bosnia is mostly inhabited by Muslim Serbs, although there are many Christians, too. Minarets immediately came into view as we entered the main part of the country. Quite few spired churches were evident, too. Towns lined the highway. The houses were fairly similar to the ones in Croatia, perhaps with less pitch to the roofs. In one town, garbage was strewn, not seen anywhere else we have been. Actually, it looked like the aftermath of a flood, and the roads were somewhat flooded from the rain.

At the hotel Villa Fortuna, no other guests were present. Don’t know why. This made changing rooms easy when the manager discovered a leak in the bathroom where Elizabeth and I were to stay. We lucked out, because the new room had three beds, giving us space to put things.

After about an hour’s rest (or writing notes in my case), we met in the lobby to walk to Tomato Restaurant right beside the old Mostar bridge, now rebuilt since the war. Fortunately, the rain had subsided to a trickle and had produced a rainbow, beautifully lit by the evening sun
Old Bridge, Mostar Old Bridge, Mostar Old Bridge, Mostar

Built 1567, rebuilt 2004 after the war
over the hills across the river. Dinner was a jolly event, featuring Bosnian food: roughly chopped tomato, cabbage and lettuce salad; stuffed peppers, vine leaves and cabbage rolls in a light tomato sauce; fresh fruit and Bosnian cake soaked in honey; plus, local red wine (quite light).

View map of trip to date.

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


Croatia weaving Croatia weaving
Croatia weaving

Reminiscent of the roofs of Dubrovnik
Historic loom Historic loom
Historic loom

narrow loom, as found around the world
Croatian weaving Croatian weaving
Croatian weaving

man's decorative bib
Lace scarf Lace scarf
Lace scarf

As fine as a spider's web
Roadside townRoadside town
Roadside town

Slano, Croatia
Vineyard on the Peljasac Pennisula Vineyard on the Peljasac Pennisula
Vineyard on the Peljasac Pennisula

Long tradition of excellent wines
 Bosnia  Bosnia

Historic amidst the new
Neretva River, Mostar Neretva River, Mostar
Neretva River, Mostar

Spring flooding
Mostar Mostar

Old city by the Neretva River
Tomato restaurant, MostarTomato restaurant, Mostar
Tomato restaurant, Mostar

Historic community ambiance

12th April 2020

Lovely sights and images from the Croatian weaving like the roofs of Dubrovnik (wow!) to the engineering of the Old Bridge in Mostar (whose V-shape speaks to a day before some advance in arch building that I likely should know the name of but don't), . Interesting, too, to read of a menu that sounds reasonably similar to Greek, Turkish and Lebanese foods I have known.
12th April 2020

Diving off the bridge on a cold day in Mostar
Got to see people dive into the frigid looking water far below if enough tourists gave tips.
14th April 2020

Am I going to enjoy this! You will have recorded all the little details in your diary which will have escaped my aging memory, and will bring that excellent adventure back to life!
I remember visiting the ethnic weaving and lace-making museum in pouring rain! Such beautiful work, reminding me of my old relatives, whose hands were never still, and who also had several outfits for each day's activities, as a lot of work was dirty (scrubbing floors, prepping dirty parsnips and potatoes, emptying out fireplaces etc, not needed now. Then change clothes to walk down town to shop. Then clothes for afternoon visiting, and also the dark restrained outfit for church, All nearly the same design, but coarser or more delicate fabrics, lighter or darker colours, depending on use. And they were the same, year after year. Knitted winter vests, socks and sweaters, winterhats and gloves. Then embroidered tray cloths, tablecloths, firescreens and napkins. Just as beautiful in their own way, but less lovely colour. I loved Mostar, the bridge and its' history, the boys diving in from the arch, lovely objects in the little shops, the pebbled roads and excellent food, again!
16th April 2020

Knitting and sewing in my grandparents' time.
My grandmothers, greataunts and friends were never without embroidery, knitting, sewing or mending in their hands, except when taking a mouthful of tea. Most was utilitarian but all excellent in quality. They did not make fabric, that was more in the north, and they did not have such gorgeous colours ( but think tweed and tartan) but I think all women in the world find some way of making clothes and using colour , both practical and beautiful. This was a gorgeous selection!

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