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Published: April 24th 2015
18 April 2015 Saturday. The clouds with light rain that moved into Dubrovnik the previous evening had settled over the city with a promise of heavier rain. Rather than giving me a chance to walk the wall, we decided just to head up the coast and then inland to Mostar before ending the day in Split.
Driving up the coast from Dubrovnik the weather improved somewhat. We crossed the narrow bridge of land that provides Bosnia-Herzegovina access to the Adriatic Sea, and then turned inland to enter Bosnia proper...more passport stamps going out of Croatia and into Bosnia and then more coming back...altogether crossing the border 10 times on this trip. So on we drove to Mostar.
Prior to the breakdown of Yugoslavia beginning in 1991, Bosnia had been a multicultural country, even hosting the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs, and Muslim Bosniaks, all Southern Slavs who speak the same language, lived in harmony. Church steeples mix with minarets across the skyline. The Old Bridge, commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557, symbolized the meeting of East and West, and the integration of these societies. All that ended with the war. Bosnia bore the brunt of
the war as this was the area where the three societies overlapped the most. The bridge was an early casualty. I remember the horrible details of the war, having been the U.S. Mission to NATO duty officer when NATO started bombing the Serbs until they agreed to the Dayton Accord in 1995. After the war ended in 1995, the bridge was rebuilt with UNESCO help but the scars of war are still evident in the bombed out buildings on the east side. And the three peoples are still observing and uneasy truce. We were informed that the young people who are the hope for the future, are even more polarized that their parents...so sad.
We found a parking place near the bridge, and then joined hundreds of tourists who were walking to and over the Old Bridge. In the middle of the bridge and diver was preparing to jump the 80 meters to the river below. We kept our eyes open to see this crazy act, but he didn't dive for the hour or so that we had lunch nearby. After a lunch of cevapcici (minced meat formed into sausage rolls) we looked through the shops on the way
back to the car. I was hoping to find some Turkish Delight, which Linda loves, as I had been unable to find Cadbury's Turkish Delight at Heathrow...apparently Cadbury's doesn't make it any more! I figured the real stuff would most likely be available in a country dominated by the Ottoman Empire for five hundred years. Again no luck.
So we went on our way. Mike noted that we would be passing Medugorje, a pilgrimage site where local citizens were purported to have seen Mary. The Catholic Church hasn't confirmed these sightings, but that hasn't stopped hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from taking a pilgrimage to this site. We stopped so that Mike could see what all the fuss was about. Mike went into the church through the rain that poured down in buckets, but he braved this deluge, so must have earned a few points for his efforts.
We had a bit of difficulty finding the beginning the new coastal autoroute/autostrada/autobahn or whatever they call four lane divided highways in Croatia, which now extends to this part of the Adriatic Coast, but were eventually on our way to Split. We arrived in the Split area following the instructions
I had printed out from MapQuest, but soon found this impossible to continue as most intersections did not have street signs. I won't go into the gory details, but needless to say, we arrived at our very nice sobe about 2 hours later. The hosts were wonderful...the wide even wasted some of our laundry the next day which will be the subject of my next blog...not my laundry, but the city of Split!
Tot: 3.702s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 73; qc: 222; dbt: 0.138s; 3; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 3;
; mem: 2.1mb