My journey to Mostar

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February 8th 2016
Published: February 10th 2016
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It's Monday morning, time to leave Podgorica and visit my friends in Mostar. Weather is not ideal for hitchhiking but comparing to Tuesday morning, with several warnings for wind and heavy rain issued, today is the day to say goodbye to Podgorica. There's 232km in front of me and with some luck, it's doable in one day.

I got my backpack packed after breakfast and waited for rain to stop so I can start walking to my first hitchhiking spot. It didn't look like it's going to stop so I decided it's time to go despite the rain. On my way to a spot I bought some bread and water for my journey and picked some cardboard from shopping centre so I could make my signs up. I was at the spot just before noon. My first sign was NK for Nikšić (53km from Podgorica). It took me nine minutes to get my first lift and fifty minutes later I was dropped near Nikšić. It was pretty quiet ride during which I made my other sign, this time for Trebinje, the town on the other side of the border. I said bye to the driver and was ready to walk to the spot near Nikšić when the guy stopped and started reversing. I was wondering why, until I realized I left my phone in the car. I'm one lucky guy! It took me around ten minutes to find a spot on main road heading to the border, with enough space for cars to pull over and pick me up. It was still drizzling and the traffic was very quiet so I knew that 57km trip to Trebinje will be a different story than my first ride. After twelve minutes I got a car but the driver didn't go all the way to Trebinje but only near the borders (better than nothing).

I need to tell you, it was some ride. After few minutes in the car I noticed the guy (Jovan) is not completely sober and when he pulled a bottle of beer from under his seat I knew I was right. Radio was blasting Montenegrin music all the way and I was told it's guy's uncle singing. At one point I was holding a wheel to make sure we stayed in the line until guy finishes his big sip of a beer and lightens up a cigarette. He was pretty talkative even though he didn't speak English at all. I understood he was in jail for five years and also had a chance to see his prison tattoos. He told me he had a chance to think about his life in jail and that he is a good boy now (obviously). After twenty minutes I was out of the car, and it was amazing feeling. Jovan told me it's 5km to the border so I decided to walk towards the borders and trying to stop cars on my way there. My friend from Mostar warned me that in low season the traffic in that region is desert low. And he was right. Jovan's 5km to the borders turned to be 9.5km and I did see maybe three cars altogether. None of them stopped for simple reason, there was no space to pull over which meant I will have to walk all the way to borders. Whole way was uphill and I was grateful for the rain at that point as it was cooling me down. All sweaty and tired I reached Montenegro border crossing point just after 4pm. Police officer who was checking my passport looked very surprised to see a walker. He asked me where I'm coming from, so I said Nikšić. His jaw dropped cause he thought I'm walking all the way from Nikšić so I had to tell him I was dropped 10km from the border. He offered I can wait for a car at the border which looked like great idea but with the density of traffic I'd be still there even now. I spent few minutes there just to eat some of the bread I bought in Podgorica. Then I started to walk to Bosnia and Herzegovina border point. I did take the opposite direction ride in the past and I could remember the beautiful scenery around but didn't really have time to admire it. This time it was different and I was absolutely astonished by the views. I spent few minutes looking at the beautiful mountains and valleys lying deep under the point I was standing. I took few pictures and moved towards Republika Srpska (part of BiH) borders. Police officer was as surprised as his counterpart on Montenegro side. I was asked usual questions like where are you heading, do you have someone in Trebinje, where will you stay, where will you go after Trebinje. When I was asked where are you going question, the police officer was like: Are you going to walk there? I told him that I'll be hitchhiking but if no car will stop I may walk all the way to Trebinje (25km). And to be honest, at that point I really started to believe that that will be the case. With 20kg backpack and blisters on my feet I reckoned it will take me six to seven hours to reach Trebinje. Which also meant I won't make it to Mostar the same day. Anyway, police officer gave me a tourist brochure about Trebinje and a waffle and wished me luck. I also asked if I can get some water to refill my bottle but the only water there was rain water. So I said good bye and started my descent to Trebinje. Few cars passed me but none of them stopped until after 7km from the border when I saw black Mercedes going my way. Thinking, there's no chance a Mercedes owner will let me sit, all wet, in his car I was very surprised when the car stopped. Two gentlemen took me all the way to bus station in Trebinje. It was second time I was in Trebinje so the ride through the town was very emotional as I passed places which brought up very nice memories in my mind and a grin to my face. I got to bus station just before 6pm and cause I already knew I won't be able to continue with hitchhiking (primarily due to blisters on my feet), I bought a ticket for a bus to Mostar. The bus was leaving at 2.50am so I had eight hours to spare. The only thing I wanted to do at that moment was to sit and have a beer, so I walked to old town and found a place with beer and WiFi. The old town was deserted. Low season at its peak. I sat in the pub till almost 11pm (pub closing at 11pm) which was absolutely great as it was raining outside the whole time. I spent the time there updating my diary and letting my family and friends know I'm alive.

I got myself ready for the situation coming, I'm going to spend almost four hours at the bus station. When I got there I found station locked so I based myself in front of it. The roof kept me out of the rain and free WiFi from station kept me entertained. After the longest four hours the bus arrived. It was actually a minivan with only one other passenger on board. I picked a seat, sat and fell asleep. I woke up few times, mostly at the stops but I had some sleep so I was happy. I had a dream during ride where I was on my way to Mostar, I checked clock and still had three hours of driving ahead which meant more sleep for me. Shortly after that someone started to shout hey, hey, hey. It was a driver, in reality, who was trying to wake me up and to let me know we are in Mostar. It was shortly after 6am. I grabbed my backpack and sit down at the station waiting for a friend to pick me up.

And that's the story how I got to Mostar. It was exhausting journey but I'll never regret I decided to take it.

Now I have few days to spend in Mostar (one of the places I call home) with great people.

Take care and bye

Slovenska verzia:

Je pondelok rano, cas opustit Podgoricu a navstivit priatelov v Mostare. Pocasie nie je idealne na stopovanie ale s porovnanim s utorokom, ked bolo vydanych par vystrah pre silny vietor a husty dazd, dnes je ten spravny cas rozlucit sa s Podgoricou. Caka ma 232km cesta a s troskou statstia sa to da zvladnut za jeden den.

Po ranajkach som si zbalil veci a cakal som kym prestane prsat, aby som sa mohol vydat na miesto, kde zacnem stopovat. Kedze to nevyzeralo na to, ze dazd utichne, tak som sa rozhodol, ze nastal cas ist aj napriek nepriazni pocasia. Cestou som si kupil chlieb a flasu vody a vyzdvihol karton, v obchodnom centre, aby som si mohol spravit cedule na stopovanie. Bol som na mieste tesne pred obedom. Moja prva cedula bola NK, teda Nikšić (53km od Podgorice). Trvalo iba devat minut, kym zastavilo auto a dalsich priblizne patdesiat minut, kym som vystupil blizko Nikšić. Bola to kludna a ticha jazda, pocas ktorej som si vyrobil dalsiu cedulu, tentokrat s napisom Trebinje, mestom na opacnej strane hranice. Podakoval som sa soferovi a bol som pripraveny vyrazit na dalsie miesto, kde by som zacal stopovat smerom Trebinje, ked tu zrazu sofer zastavil a zacal cuvat. Najprv som sa cudoval, ze preco, az kym som si uvedomil, ze som v aute zabudol telefon. Tentokrat som mal stastie. O nejakych desat minut som nasiel miesto na hlavnej ceste, veducej do Trebinje, kde bolo dost miesta pre auta na zastavenie a vyzdvihnutie ma. Stale poprchalo a premavka bola velmi slaba, takze som tusil, ze 57km dlha cesta bude uplne ina ako ta predchadzajuca. Po dvanastich minutach mi zastavilo auto, ale sofer mi povedal, ze nejde celu cestu az do Trebinje ale len blizko hranic (lepsie ako nic). Musim vam povedat, to vam bola jazda! Po par minutach som zbadal, ze sofer nie je tak uplne triezvy a ked vytiahol spod sedadla flasu piva, tak som vedel, ze som tusil spravne.

Celu cestu z radia revala Cernohorska hudba a chalan (Jovan) mi povedal, ze v kapele, ktoru pocuvame spieva jeho stryko. V jednom momente som dokonca drzal volant, aby sme nevysli z pruhu, kym si Jovan daval riadny dusok piva a zapaloval cigaretu. Bol celkom zhovorcivy aj ked po anglicky nevedel ani slovo. Rozumel som, ze stravil pat rokov za mrezami a mal som tu cest vidiet jeho vezenske tetovania. Taktiez sa zmienil, ze vo vazeni mal cas nad sebou premyslat, a ze teraz je uz dobry chlapec (zjavne). Po dvatdsiatich minutach som vystupil a poviem vam, bol to skvely pocit. Jovan povedal, ze k hranici je to iba 5km a tak som sa pomaly vybral smerom k hranici, s tym ze po ceste nieco stopnem. Moj priatel z Mostaru ma varoval, ze premavka mimo sezony v tomto regione je takmer nulova. A mal pravdu. Z Jovanovych 5km sa nakoniec vyklulo 9.5km a za celu cestu som videl mozno tak tri auta. Ani jedno z nich nezastalo a to z velmi jednoducheho dovodu, nebolo kde. To znamenalo, ze budem musiet absolvovat celu cestu az k hraniciam peso. Cesta viedla smerom dokopca a ja som bol rad, ze poprcha, kedze dazd ma schladzoval. Cely spoteny a unaveny som tesne po stvrtej dorazil na hranicu. Policajt na cernohorskej strane hranice vyzeral byt prekvapeny, ze vidi chodca. Opytal sa odkial idem a ked som povedal, ze z Nikšić tak mu skoro spadla sanka, myslel si totiz, ze celu cestu idem peso. Tak som mu povedal, ze idem peso iba poslednych 10km. Ponukol mi moznost pockat na hranici na najblizsie auto, co v tom momente vyzeralo ako vyborny napad. Sadol som si pod strechu a dal som si z chleba, ktory som kupil v Podgorici. Ako tak posilneny som sa vybral na hranicny prechod na strane Bosny a Hercegoviny a som rad, ze som tak spravil, pretoze ak by som cakal na odvoz tam, tak tam sedim este dnes. V minulosti som touto trasou isiel, ale opacnym smerom, a v aute, a pamatal som si, ze vyhlad bol naozaj nadherny. Tentokrat som mal ale cas si tento vyhlad vychutnat. Bol som upne ohureny vyhladom na kopce s udoliami, hlboko podomnou. Spravil som par zaberov a vybral sa na hranicnu kontrolu. Policajt bol prekvapeny takisto ako jeho kolega pred nim. Opytal sa ma bezne otazky typu, kam mam namierene, ci poznam niekoho v Trebinje, kde budem ubytovany a kam mam namierene po Trebinje. Ked som odpovedal, ze idem do Trebinje policajt sa zacudovane opytal, ci tam idem peso (25km). V tom case som bol pravdu povediac zmiereny s tym, ze to tak naozaj bude. S 20kg batohom a pluzgiermi na chodidlach som pocital, ze by som mohol byt v Trebinje tak za sest az sedem hodin. To samozrejme znamenalo, ze sa do Mostaru nedostanem za jeden den. Pan policajt mi daroval brozurku o meste Trebinje a napolitanku a zazelal mi vela stastia. Ja som sa este opytal, ci by som si mohol naplnit flasu vodou od nich, ale jedina voda navokol bola iba ta dazdova. Tak som sa pozdravil a zacal som so zostupom do Trebinje. Cestou kolo mna preslo par aut, ale ani jedno nezastavilo. Po siedmich kilometroch chodze som uvidel priblizovat sa cierny Mersedes. Bol som presvedceny, ze ani tentokrat nebudem uspesny, kto by predca pustil do svojho Mercedesu zmoknuteho turistu? Na moje velke prekvapenie auto zastalo. V aute boli dvaja pani v mojom veku. Boli velmi ochotni a zaviezli ma az na autobusovu stanicu v Trebinje. Bola to moja druha navsteva tohto mesta a pocas jazdy jeho ulicami sa mi v pamati vynarali krasne spomienky, ktore mi vycarili usmev na tvari. Na stanici som bol tesne pred siestou hodinou vecer a vedel som, ze v stopovani pokracovat nebudem (vzhladom na bolest chodidiel), tak som si zakupil listok na autobus do Mostaru. Odchod prveho autobusu bol pred tretou hodinou rano a tak som mal priblizne osem hodin do odchodu. Jedine, co som v tom momente chcel, bolo si sadnut a dat si pivo a tak som zavital do centra. Mesto bolo vyludnene. Nasiel som podnik, kde capovali pivo a mali WiFi. Sedel som tam takmer do zaverecnej (23:00) a citil som sa skvelo, kedze vonku prsalo a ja som si pohodlne sedel v teple. Cas som stravil pisanim dennika a pisanim sprav rodine a znamim, aby som im dal vediet, ze som v poriadku. Psychicky som sa pripravil na to, ze skoro styri hodiny stravim na stanici a pobral som sa tam. Stanica bola zamknuta a tak som sa zlozil pred nou. Strecha budovy ma chranila pred dazdom a bezdrotovy internet zo stanice mi pomahal zabavit sa. Po najdlhsich styroch hodinach dorazil minivan. Bol v nom iba jeden dalsi pasazier a tak som si mohol vybrat, kde si sadnem. Vybral som si sedadlo, sadol som si a po chvilke som uz spal. Parkrat som sa cestou zobudil, vacsinou na zastavkach, ale bol som rad, ze som si mohol pospat. Dokonca sa mi snivalo, ze cestujem do Mostaru. Pozrel som sa na hodinky a mal som este tri hodiny cesty pred sebou. a tak som sa tesil, ze si mozem este pospat, ked tu zrazu niekto krici, hej, hej, hej. Bol to sofer, ktory ma budil aby mi oznamil, ze sme dorazili do Mostaru, Bolo kratko po siestej rano. Vzal som si batoh a posadil sa na murik pred stanicou, aby som pockal na priatela, ktory ma mal prist vyzdvihnut.

Tak a toto bol pribeh, ako som sa dostal do Mostaru. Bola to vycerpavajuca cesta, ale vobec nelutujem, ze som sa rozhodol tak, ako som sa rozhodol.

Teraz par dni stravim v Mostare (jedno z miest, ktore nazyvam svojim domovom) s uzasnymi ludmi.

Drzte sa a zatial cau.


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