Following the Neretva River, we eventually came to Mostar. Mostar is most famous for its bridge, built in 1558 in Ottoman times under authority of Suleiman the Magnificent. The story goes that when the bridge was opened, it failed and fell into the river. The same builder was asked to rebuild it, which he did. However, on the day of the second unveiling, the builder hid, fearing that it would collapse again. It didn’t and he was lauded for his beautiful bridge!
Mostar’s roots go back to prehistory; there is evidence of Roman occupation here, too. “Star Most” means ‘Old Bridge” hence the name of the town.
Of course we climbed the bridge, noting how narrow it is! In fact, only pedestrian traffic is permitted now. It was becoming evening when we approached the bridge, and we popped into a bakery and bought some baklava, which I was carrying. Later I discovered that the box had leaked honey and had made a mess over my jeans. So be it! Anyway, we enjoyed the bridge.
Indeed, we had a beautiful evening view of Mostar from the bridge.
The next day we spent exploring Mostar with its several mosques. This was our first experience in a Muslim city and the mosques with their minarets and calls to prayer seemed very exotic.
Then we perused the Tepa Market, still selling produce since Ottoman times We had never seen bigger cabbages!
We popped into a butcher shop, noting that our methods and theirs were pretty different!
Then it was time to move quickly on, this time to the town of Sarajevo.
On the way we saw many bucolic farming scenes; the weather was still overcast and sometimes misty, but that seemed to add to the ambiance.
By and by we came to the ‘karst,’ that rugged mountainous scenery that was challenging to drive through and beautiful to view.
Our history major, Jeanne, filled us in on the terrible fighting
that the locals had waged within the karst during World War II. In the distance we could
see the ancient Roman aqueduct here.
It was only 10:30 AM when we came upon a water wheel powering roasting goat. The aroma wafted into our car and made us all hungry, in spite of our having had breakfast only a couple of hours earlier.
We got out to survey the scene and couldn’t resist it! We were seated in the small rustic restaurant and placed our orders for the goat. We were served small portions of the goat with potatoes and cabbage. It was SO GOOD, that we decided we would order more! By the time we finished all of this we were completely sated, probably for the whole day! The karst was full of running rivulets which powered these water wheels. What local color!
Moving on, we came to Sarajevo. Jeanne, our history major informed us that this is a very historic city where the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated which sparked World War I.
We’re eager to explore this historic city!
That evening when we went to dinner, we asked the waitress if we could have something besides “Mixed Grill.” Our first evening we were very enamored with “Mixed Grill”—-a luscious mixture of various meats. The second evening we enjoyed some more “Mixed Grill.” The third night we were a little tired of ‘Mixed Grill’ so Bob and I tried to think of the German word (most of the service people knew a little German) for fish and tried to order that! Unfortunately, they probably confused “fish” with “fleich,” which means “meat.” So we got some more “Mixed Grill.” However, after about three nights we were longing for something else! This short, blond waitress (a rarity in Yugoslavia) understood our problem and brought us a vey nice dinner of fish and other good things that we had not had before. We were so grateful to her!