A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 6: Mostar Day Trip

The previous instalment on Dubrovnik’s Old Town is here.

Well, Mostar, what can I say… It’s beautiful, its vibrant, its where east meets west, where the European Union meets the old Ottoman Empire, where Christianity meets Islam, where a river divides and a bridge reunites.. Where one Border Collie met a mate… I could go on but the sense of deep history does pervade this place and even a dog can feel it.

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Me and me Humans set out for our days adventure from Dubrovnik quite early (for us) at around 9am thinking 2 or 3 hour trip to Mostar, no worries… Well the roads and Bosnian drivers (who are even worse than Croatian drivers and that’s saying something) conspired against us so what was supposed to be a lunch time arrival turned out to be an afternoon arrival. Oh well it was a fascinating trip through Bosnia-Herzegovina that’s for sure.

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Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a European Union member although it is a potential candidate within the next few years and EU investment here is huge.

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It needs it as the country is extremely poor by European standards.

Evidence of the Balkan wars and the breakup of Yugoslavia are everywhere.

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Ethnic divides show in defaced road signs where the Serbian Cyrillic writing system is crossed out in favour of the Latin script. The tensions with neighbouring Serbia are still very strong.

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Mostar Central Markets

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Mostar city centre is quite small and compact around the famous bridge with loads of really interesting markets and food stalls on both sides of the river, nothing tacky here.

 

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There were hardly any other dogs that I saw in Mostar but I did meet this guy and we became great mates for the day!

 

 

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OK, I’m on the Mostar Bridge, are we done?
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Get a move on, this thing looks like it will crumble any minute. It came down once before ya know…

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But is it safe?

Actually the bridge known as the Stari Most (meaning Old Bridge and origins of the cities name, Mostar) was rebuilt in 2004 based on the foundations of the original old bridge which was destroyed in 1993 by the Bosnian Croats during the Balkans conflict. There is a brief  YouTube video from the BBC of the bridge coming down here.

 

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Loads of tourists but where are the famous Bosnian boy divers diving into the river for money?

 

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“Don’t Forget”.

A poignant reminder of what happened here in 1993 and the continued conflicts in the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina that lead to ethnic cleansing and finally culminated in the Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 mainly Muslim Bosniak men and boys in July 1995…

 

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Its interesting to see which countries pitched in to pay for the rebuilding of the Mostar Bridge…

 

 

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As is usual for us late in the afternoon, we crave some sustenance and this brilliant little restaurant, Babilon, perched on the bank of the Neretva River fit the bill perfectly as it allowed dogs in too, well at least on the outdoor tables.

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Now I just need to order off that spare menu, hand it over…

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Ba! Once again I get the scraps under the table… Excellent view at least.

 

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And that’s it folks, I wont bore you with the long haul home to Dubrovnik in the dark suffice to say we made it in one piece!

In my next instalment I think it’s time to move on from politics and conflicts and on a more positive note focus on me BC belly! I try mussels and oysters and visit the Great Wall of Croatia!

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 2: Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Previously: View Hofheim to Zagreb Here

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After an early morning start we hit the road for our 8 hour drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. The scenery is fantastic, we all would like to spend more time but Dubrovnik calls. My Humans resolve to come back to this part of inland Croatia. One of the places we missed out on seeing on this trip was the fabulous Plitvice Lakes National Park which is a wonderful national park, one of the best in Europe, missed in part due to our time constraints and something to do with having a dog with us… what? I don’t see the problem… What do they think I’m going to do, eat a brown bear? I suspect it would be the other way around!

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Its a long and winding road… as me Humans are fond of saying.

And as the day wears on, nature takes its course and I’m busting for a pee

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Help, I’m stuck!

Bloody hell these safety straps and all are a bit over the top, me Humans… Get me outta here so I can go checkout some greenery.

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And the never ending journey continues until its, what? only lunch time… Anyway it’s a longer stop to stretch the legs and have a look around. This time we have stopped just off the E65 motorway at a little town called Skradin.

 

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Himm… what’s down there then? Worth a quick squizz…

A nearby Christian Religious Shrine, the Gospa od Puta. It reminds my Humans of the religious difficulties in this region including some rather big recent wars when Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990’s and Croatia become independent. Yes Croatia is a very young country.

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Dubrovnik, you’re not so far…

Back on the road again and finally we see Dubrovnik on the road signs, was beginning to think it didn’t exist…

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Klek. In the far background the cityscape is the little (and only) part of Bosnia that has a coastline.

Finally we hit the Adriatic coast at the little Croatian town of Klek. This is where it gets a bit weird because although we are travelling in Croatia and heading south towards Dubrovnik one of Croatia’s biggest cities, we have to hop briefly into another country! When I mean briefly I mean about 8 km, that is it! Even weirder that country is Bosnia Herzegovina and it is not in the EU. That means border controls and passports and all sorts of faffing about. Well as the resident Border Collie I was pretty much ready for this of course…

I will blog more on Bosnia Herzegovina a little later when we went to visit the old city of Mostar as a day trip from Dubrovnik. What really disappointed me now was the fact I was all geared up to bark at the Border Officers and put them in their place  but as we approached there seemed to be no body interested in people with Aussie passports or even a famous dog with a UK Pet Passport. We passed the kiosk window and the Border guy was too busy reading his newspaper to even look up at us, just waved us through with a flick of his wrist. Now these guys need proper Border Collie border management training I reckon. Perhaps they need to employ the services of The Cop?

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The Croatian and European Union Border

Within a few minutes we were through Bosnia and at the Croatian Border, this time I guess because the EU insists on some form of Border Protection, our passports were inspected and we were waved on back into Croatia.

After all this international travel me and me Humans were a tad hungry and with still an hour to go before we would arrive in Dubrovnik a vote was taken that we should stop for dinner. Me and me Humans except Grumpy-Human voted for stopping. Now it has to be said that Grumpy had been doing most of the driving and he lovers driving  so if he didn’t want to stop  we could well end up not just in Dubrovnik but across the next border and on in to Montenegro and beyond! My solution, a bit of judicious barking to make it known… a stop for food would be good and a pee in the car probably not very hygienic, not to mention the smell eh!

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And we stopped in a lovely town not far from Dubrovnik, Slano. It’s beautiful and the food brilliant – or so me Humans said after scoffing down mountains of local fish.

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Me, I was stuck with me usual crappy German dog food bought along especially for me… how thoughtful of my dear Humans…

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You may well laugh Curly but I’m on holiday and need real food, not German dog biscuits.
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I hope you’re going to fill me bowl with fresh seafood.

Finally we rolled into Dubrovnik, more specifically Lapad Bay where we had rented an old villa for two weeks.

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Ahhhh finally I can relax, I’m even aloud in the villa which was something I worried about seeing as Croatia is not particularly dog friendly.

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Having said that the villa owners couldn’t have been more helpful to me although I did spot a certain Putty Tat which must belong to them, himmm…

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Next time I get back to blogging about this adventure I’ll fill you in on Storms and Bubbles in Dubrovnik!

R

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