One final escape
DUBROVNIK, MOSTAR, & WAY TOO MANY PASSPORT CONTROLSIt was our last weekend in Split, and we decided to go out with a bang. Of course in this case, "bang" meant leaving town to Bosnia and braving 5 passport controls in one day. Let's just say it was an ambitious weekend trip. Disclaimer: I did not do much on this trip. Sadly, I got sick the first day and was fighting a fever the rest of the journey. Needless to say, I opted out of several excursions. Not to mention I lived on granola "breakfast cookies" from Kaufland and didn't get to appreciate nearly enough of the Bosnian cuisine I was so looking forward to!
5 days, 3 cities, 5 long bus rides, 2 Airbnbs
DAY ONE, PART ONE: DUBROVNIKWe started bright and early Friday morning, taking a bus to Dubrovnik. It was a bumpy and windy road through often desolate landscapes down to the southern town. The thing is, in order to get there, you have to pass by a short strip of the coast that is technically Bosnia. So for the record, let's count. We began in Croatia, entered Bosnia for about 20 minutes, then re-entered Croatia on the other side. That's two. Passport controls, that is. Eventually, we made it to King's Landing. Of course, I have never watched a single episode of Game of Thrones, so it meant little to me (sorry GoT fans!). Also, it was drizzling and we were only staying for a few hours so we had to carry all of our stuff as we trekked around the town.
DAY ONE, PART TWO: BACK TO BOSNIAThen it was back on a bus, back into Bosnia, and then 20 minutes later into Croatia, and then shortly after, into Bosnia again. In case you're wondering, they announce passport controls by shouting it at full volume over the intercom. Yes, I did seriously consider recording it and making it my ringtone (it's very effective). It was getting dark and we were stranded at a random bus station in what seemed like rural Herzegovina, waiting to switch buses. I was deliriously rambling to myself. An American backpacker a few rows up was laughing at me. When we finally made it to Mostar, our amazing Airbnb hosts were there to pick us up because it was raining. I've had great Airbnb hosts before, but Maja and her husband went out of their way to help us out. Our bus ended up arriving an hour late, but they were already waiting for us. The car only fit 4 at a time so they took two trips to drive us back to the house. Huge shout out to them for being the warmest welcome to Mostar! Mostar is the "capital" of the Herzegovina region of the country. Demographically and geographically, it is distinctive in that about half of the population is Catholic (Croat ethnicity) while the rest is Muslim (Bosniak ethnicity). The city is physically divided and there are so many visible reminders of the war. But from a visitor's perspective, there seems to be ethnic harmony and blended culture in the historic cobblestone streets. An aromatic Turkish coffee, glass and copper shops, mosques and minarets silhouetted in the landscape. The language may be the same, but this is a whole new world from Croatia.
DAY TWO: MOSTAR
To be continued...
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