It’s very obvious that we are a rarity in the suburbs of Bosnia. Everyone is starring at us and they don’t look away when you catch their eye. It feels very different from Croatia, definitely more eastern European. Lots of big Bosnian brutes with shaved heads and missing teeth. Although we do have a few friendly waves and smiles as we pass through the small towns.
Just past the border we pass endless car workshops loaded with partially stripped cars. Don’t know what the deal with cars is here but everyone seems to a mechanic near the border. We seem to be the only ones on a motorbike, so maybe that is why everyone was staring.
We headed for some waterfalls which are billed as the top tourist attraction in Bosnia. When we arrive we are one of only two or three other visitors. The Kravica waterfalls were pretty spectacular but luckily for us it seems Bosnia has some work to do on their tourism strategy.
It was hot but started to rain as we left the waterfalls. The road from the waterfalls to Mostar was high up over the mountains and snaked around bends constantly. Just a few km from Mostar we were in a line of traffic going slow, took a bend and the back tyre slipped from under the bike. We came off and slid down the road.. We both immediately got up.
The two cars immediately behind us didn’t stop to help, just drove around but the third guy blocked the traffic from passing and helped Paul lift it and checked we were ok. It happened so quickly and there was absolutely no warning so nothing Paul could have done to counteract it. Just after we’d got our stuff out off the road, a car coming up the hill wheel spinned and went completely onto oncoming traffic narrowly missing the car and then continued to wheel spin up the road. Therefore we think we came off because of a combination of poor roads, the bend, rain and just having the back break pad changed so perhaps they were a little sharper than normal.
Luckily the right pannier and the padding in our jackets/trousers took all the impact so absolutely no injuries. The right fork, the side plastic bit and the handles bars all got a bit scrapped when we slid but all only cosmetic. We need to bash our the pannier as it’s got a dint on the inside which is putting pressure on the bracket. It defiantly showed the worth of protective gear. Between us we felt nothing.
After that, we still had to drive on the same road surface and around numerous bends. Paul took it extremely cautiously into Mostar. We parked up near the famous Mostar Bridge and encountered our first parking angel. Not much of angel though, he’s quite an ugly guy and completely ripped us off for his Angel service of looking over our bike. We took a quick look around, the most noticeable thing is the Turkish influence in the old part of the town, complete with waiters dressed in traditional Turkish get-up. We quickly found somewhere to stay as Mostar was hot.
Mostar looks very different from the rest of Bosnia. It feels a mix between Mediterranean and Asian rather than eastern European. There are lots of mosques as the main religion in Bosnia is Muslim. We were both young when the war was happening and we knew very little about it so decided to watch a couple of things on the internet.
For a country which was at war less than ten years ago, it feels remarkably weird that we are here only a few years later and staying in the exact area the fighting took place. Just walking down the street the signs of gun battle can be seen very clearly, every other building is covered in bullet holes. Despite this it’s a very beautiful little city and the people are friendly.
We treated ourselves to a meal by the river but choose a restaurant with a strange menu which had on offer ‘cheese’ as a dish. On further inquiry it was a dish of ‘the white cheese’ we didn’t go for it.
We left early the next morning and went to a monastery and cave nothing that spectacular as the monastery looked like a modern day villa. The scenery in as we pass through Herzegovina is amazing but the road conditions are probably not what you want after crashing the day before. Just before we crossed the border back into Croatia we met an Austrian couple on a BMW and gave them the last of our Bosnia cash. They insisted we took the equivalent in Kuna.
The Croatia border was easy -a quick nod and we’re back in. We spent less than 24 hours in Bosnia but worth the detour just shame about the crash.