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August 1st 2009
Published: August 1st 2009
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DAY 106

Dubrovnik to Mostar to Split?! VIA Makarska

We have decided to take the 8:00 AM bus to the Split this morning via Mostar, Bosnia & Hercegovina. It's about three hours to Mostar. We drive along the coast of Croatia is the most beautiful of all coastlines. The little villages tucked into the valleys and the small marinas scattered along make this such a scenic picturesque drive and we then head inland.

The border crossing is uneventful and we don't even get a stamp in our passport. Nobody even knows that we have been there. The customs officials look at our passports for a second and nod. We want a stamp to add to our collection.

11.30am and Mostar. We check the bus time tables to see if it is feasible to go to Medugorje. This is the town where the six young children witnessed the Virgin Mary not too many years ago. A few of the children, now adults sometimes visit the site and talk to the tourists about their experience. Anyway, the times departing fitted in with our schedule although the bus official didn't know the times that the buses would return to Mostar and there weren't any direct buses to take us to Split from Medugorje. So cancel that idea.

Next, the bus from Mostar to Split departs at 12.45pm and 11pm (this would put us in Split at about 2am). Bad idea to get accommodation at that hour. So we buy tickets on the 12.45pm bus. Oh my goodness (and other expletives) we have one hour, repeat 1 hour to get to the bridge and back to the bus. 38C / 100f again. We put our bags in storage and we off. Which way to Stari Most (the bridge) that way. Finally after several people continually pointed in the right direction we arrived at Stari Most. 20 minutes down and counting. It's all part of the experience.

As France has the Eiffel Tower, so Bosnia and Hercegovina has the slim, elegant Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar as its icon. So dramatically destroyed in the war, it's been quickly rebuilt to stand as a symbol of reunification. Flanking the bridge is the old Ottoman quaer, a haven for the city's artists and craftsmen along with 16th century mosques, old Turkish houses and numerous cafes. On he western side restaurant terraces hug the steep rocky banks, jostling for perfect views of the bridge and river.

Stari Most was originally built in 1556 to replace a nearby wooden bridge. Stari Most translates as Petrified Moon, a reference to its slender and refined beauty. In summer young men earn a living from tourists by plunging off the bridge 21m into the icy river.

Well, we did see what we just mentioned, but only at a glance. And we did walk across the bridge and watch a few men jump from a diving platform not far from the bridge, take a few photos, walk through the old cobble stone streets of the old town, not even stopping to buy our souvenir patch and pin. We race to the street and get in a cab back to the bus station. We have 10 minutes to spare. We get water, a post card as proof of our adventure and our luggage.

On our way to the bridge and back to the bus station we saw the remains of the war ravaged town. Many of the building bore the scars of the war of the 1990's. Some being demolished and many others with artillery damage and pock marked from the shells.

The bus is late and finally about 45 minutes later it arrives. Then once on board, the bus made a stop at the garage for gas and for what looked like some oil. Doesn't anyone in the Middle East and Europe know that you don't smoke whilst filling up the petrol / gas tank We sit trapped in the bus talking about our escape route if something goes wrong and if we have an opportunity to do anything,. Well, we are still here to tell the tale, again. Now we just hope that the bus doesn't have any mechanical problems.

Again, one of our mottos is, it's all part of the experience.

We cross the boarder from Bosnia into Croatia and still no stamps in the passports. We ask for a stamp and the customs official says no. So as far as is official, we were never in Bosnia. ??

The days wears on and we see the sign that said Split as we pull into the station and most of the bus is getting off and we follow. We get our luggage and head off towards the center of town and look for a place to stay. It's about 5pm and we try two travel agency for private accommodations with no luck. So now we head for the beach front and the large hotels. The one we first set upon was a 3 star hotel and they did have a room. We were so weary by then and it was over 38c / 100F we just wanted to get settled. We had to pay an enormous sum of euros to stay here in a room on the 3rd (really 4th) floor with no elevator (lift) and Fran had no luck using their phone and had difficulty getting Wi-Fi (but was successful later).

So Francine was looking for the hotel number to give her sister to ring back when she discovered that we were not in Split but in a town called Makarska about 1 hour away from Split. You can imagine our surprise!!! We figured out the the sign we saw must have been some type of advertisement for Split. Well at this point what do you do? Laughter. And, well we went to the beach. It was just a short walk away. Angie jumped in to enjoy the Adriatic Sea and Francine sat enjoying the sights from the beach. It was a really nice beach even though it was stoney. The water was rolling with nice waves and very comfortable temperature. We strolled back towards the hotel and stopped along the way for pizza. There is a big Italian influence here along the coast with Italy just across the way.

Our room had a nice terrace with a table and chairs but when we got back to the room the wind had picked up and was whipping the awing around, we thought that it was better to roll it in than to listen to is flap all night.

Francine bought a small bottle of Drambuie when in Turkey and has been carrying it around for over a month unopened. Until tonight. We have a fridge in our room and ice. So we open it up and have nip over ice. Mmm. Another sacrifice to lighten the load in Fran's bag. We drink. We get a good nights rest and look forward to finding Split tomorrow.


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VIEW FROM STARI MOSTVIEW FROM STARI MOST
VIEW FROM STARI MOST

Stari Most is the famous bridge
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STARI MOST BRIDGE

Frangie is in there somewhere too. We're all rushing. Got a ticket to ride - a bus
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BACK IN CROATIA

Heading into Makarska, as we now know it
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We would love to be on the yacht & moored here
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That or sleep on the beach
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This time we are sure ?


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