Monthly Archives: October 2013

From Mostar to Sarajevo

Mostar-Sarajevo

Mostar-Sarajevo

We started very close to the hostel we stayed in, on the only road that goes to the north from Mostar, in the town. We didn’t wait too much and a local woman with her two children drove us to the main road where there are big commercial areas on the outskirts of Mostar. She let us in a very nice spot in a huge gravel shoulder with a small typical fruit shop. Pulguita had been very calm during the small trip, so we where quite confident.

Fruit road shop

Fruit road shop

Pulguita on the car

Pulguita in the car

We waited a little bit, around half an hour, and a car stopped, it was a nice guy who worked selling computers around Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was a very interesting driver, because he spoke perfect English and he knew the land well. The road led all the time by the river Neretva, so we were almost all the time in a narrow valley with very steep cliffs around that were shaping an impressive landscape.

Neretva Valley

Neretva Valley

The driver explained us that in the north of Herzegovina (that is more or less the south of the country, being Mostar the capital) is very typical to eat roasted lamb, and he showed us all the restaurants preparing it on the road.

Roast lamb restaurant

Roast lamb restaurant

He was going to let us in Jablanica because he was supposed to meet his clients from Sarajevo there, but as they were late, he decide to drive us a little bit further, to Konjic.

Konjic downtown

Konjic downtown

Heavy weapon marks

Heavy weapon shot marks

Heavy weapon marks II

Heavy weapon shot  marks II

It was a small town in between the hills, where you could see a lot of old buildings full of holes remaining from the war. We decided to walk a little bit following the river and in 15 minutes we were out of the town and stopped in nice spot suitable to hitchhike again. Before that we decided to feed Pulguita, that surprisingly stayed calm and seemed to like to be in cars.

Crossing the river

Crossing the river

Pulguita drinking

Pulguita drinking

After a while a big truck stopped, he told us to go in but first we wanted to show him Pulguita’s travel box. At first he said “no way, no animals”, but he finally agreed when we showed him how small Pulguita was. Once we got to the truck he put the music so loud that we couldn’t even hear him, then we started to ask him some questions and he finally decided to turn down the radio  a little bit .

Bosnian typical landscape

Bosnian typical landscape

At some point of the ride we let Herzegovina behind and we entered Bosnia region and then to the city of Sarajevo. The day was cloudy but in the end we arrived to Sarajevo in the evening and the sky was covered in beautiful colors, we had great expectation for that city. The trucker left us in the outskirts of Sarajevo but close to a Tram station.

Hello Sarajevo

Hello Sarajevo

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Categories: Animals, City, Hitchhiking, Sightseeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pulguita

We had to leave the room before 10, but we were hanging around the guest house till 11, trying to use the computer. The children were using it and the grandma didn’t speak English at all. We went out to the fence and we turned left heading the end of the town and the road to Sarajevo. But 10 meters away we found  something on the floor moving in all directions and smashing a shops’s glass door. When we looked more carefully we realized that it was a small kitten, very frightened and with eye boogers in its eyes that prevented it from seeing. Aleksandra grabbed it instantly, it first tried to escape but finally felt protected and stayed calm.

Pulgui firsts pictures

Pulgui firsts pictures

Pulgui firsts pictures II

Pulgui firsts pictures II

We thought that it probably lost its mum and we started to look around for her, and ask in the businesses nearby, including shops, bars and our hostel, but no one had seen this cat before. Aleksandra insisted on carrying it to a veterinary. I had to admit that in this first moment I was not so convinced about the idea, Mostar was full of cats, and I was more inclined to let it in a safe place far from the road and maybe with some food. But it was so cute and Aleksandra was already so involved that we decided to look for a Veterinary. We where asking young people, where we can find a veterinary clinic in Mostar, but people looked at us as we where crazy and said that they didn’t know, becausethey rather eat animals than cure them. Finally, we asked to a heavy metal dressed teenager and she politely showed us the way, but it was quite far. We decided that I should stay in a coffee shop as an Internet Support Counselor (ISC), so Aleksandra went alone with the cat. It had to take long because I had the time to write 3 posts. In the end she arrived with a pet box, food and a spray for fleas, in that exactly moment I realized that the idea to take the cat with us was serious and we had a new trip member.

Pulgui in her cage

Pulgui in her travel bag

Pulgui in her cage II

Pulgui in her travel bagII

With that scenario the trip was becoming more messy but funnier at the same tame. In my role of sceptic I was pointing out the bad consequences of bring it  with us, but it was already too late. To not change our tradition we decided to call it Pulgui, but it was a gril, so the full name is Pulguita. We were very excited. Pulguita too. So much, that she didn’t stop to meow in the whole walk. She only stopped meowing when Aleksandra, who was developing a new maternal instinct, took her on her hands. We wanted to arrive fast to the hitchhiking point to see what will be the Pulguita’s and, above all, the drivers’ reaction…

 

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Mostar

We woke up tired, wet and surrounded by shit, but who cared, we were hitchhiking around the Balkans. We had just enough time to fold  our  tent and it started to rain again, but luckily the Australians let us have the breakfast in the van and then drove us to the city center. There, already alone, we stopped in the first café we found. At some point the waiter, that looked like he was no more than 20 years old, started to speak in Spanish with me, I took the opportunity to ask him for a shopping mall because the sky didn’t seem to be interested in changing. During the walk we saw one small poor kid hooked on drugs asking for money, we didn’t give him nothing but we remained with a very bad feeling. It was very sad to see someone so young like this. We walked around 40 minutes under the rain and finally around destroyed building we discovered an enormous and modern commercial center with its correspondingly big and colorful McDonald.

Abandoned building

Abandoned building

Nice wall

Nice wall

We had a coffee and a hamburger, in that order, and we went down to buy some supply to the supermarket. Just before entering one  woman approached us and asked If we were looking for an accommodation. Normally we skipped those kind of offers, but this time we wanted to know at least the price, because we were in a city, it was raining, and hitchwiki suggests not to wild camp in the area, because of the mines – remainings after Bosnian war. It was 10 euros per night for an individual room, so it didn’t took as too long to accept the offer. She even offered to drive us to the place. Once there, we took the most satisfying shower in the whole trip(even though without any soap or shampoo)  and cooked some classical hitchhiker pasta-soup.

Guest house Mostar

Guest house Mostar

Guest house Mostar door

Guest house Mostar door

Then we went out hoping to finally discover Mostar on our own. It was worth it,  because this place is impressive: full of little enchanted streets, beautiful colorful houses, the Arabic styled old town, and above all the Old Bridge over the Neretva river. The feeling when you are on the top of the bridge and think that not so long ago it was destroyed, is very difficult to explain, It’s definitely a magic place with storng energy in the air.  The young locals jump from the top of the bridge following an ancient Mostar tradition of entering the manhood. and collect money from terrified voyeur tourists (the money is invested in the bridge’s conservation). There is even a special school, the Mostar Diving Club, where the professional jumpers learn how to jump and not die like some amateur drunk tourists.

Old town streets

Old town streets

Old town streets II

Old town streets II

Bridge stairs

Bridge stairs

Mostar Bridge

Mostar Bridge

The town is in a valley surrounded by soft hills and with lots of green areas, it’s quite small but full of tourist. It is also full of restaurants, souvenir shops and that typical Balkan bars with enormous sun umbrellas advertising local beer.

Bar

Bar

In Mostar we started to realize the mix of cultures that coexist in Bosnia. There are Muslims, Serbian (mostly Orthodox) and Croatian (mostly Catholics). It is fascinating to see how from some points of the city you could see at least 5 minarets from mosques looking on the same direction. That’s the proof:

Minarets and Bridge

Minarets and Bridge

Minarets

Minarets

In the evening we where too tired so we decided to come back to the hostel and have a good dinner (noodles) on the terrace. We still didn’t know that the next day we were going to make a discovery that will change our trip…..and our lives.

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From a random Croatian beach to Mostar

Now, after checking on the Internet I know that we were somewhere between Srebreno and Mlini, a little touristic villages five kilometer before Dubrovnik. We walked from the main road down to the sea following a narrow stairs through a forest and we arrived to a seafront promenade full of hotels and restaurants, but quite calm and depressing at the same time. To give you an Idea, a mature man was singing old american country and soul hits in a very peculiar way, while the people his age applauded him . We had spent the days before quite intensively, so we were tired and the ambient didn’t help, whole families staring at us as we were from a different planet. We had our traditional ham and cheese sandwich with beer, and then we moved to a park near the sea with perfect hidden and flat places to put our tent. We did it carefully because we were warned that it was going to rain. Indeed, it started to rain at some point of the night and it didn’t stop until the late morning, including thunders and lightnings. It was the first full exam for our new tent and it passed it quite well. The terrain and the position of the tent on a slope also helped. The next morning we decided to leave Croatia straight away, it was so touristic and expensive, and we had to return to Zagreb Anyway. Before leaving, we got to one last (and first) Croatian cafe. There, Aleksandra got a delicious frappe, while I drank a disgusting espresso and then we started to hitchhike. We didn’t have to wait to much and a nice Croatian guy (Paul) who also worked in the tourism sector gave as a lift from there to an intersection, where we could catch a ride to Bosnia. On the way we saw Dubrovnik from the car… so sad. Suddenly a grey morning changed to a very hot afternoon. We were hitchhiking for a big while and we already started to be worried, when we saw a strange van full of colors approaching us quite fast. When the guys from inside the van saw us they jammed on the breakes and stopped literally a few meters from us . It was an old English school van, decorated with colourful graffittis.

English school hippie van

English school hippie van

Attention to the sign on top

Attention to the sign on top

Three big blond guys came out from the van and invited us to go inside, they were clearly “happy”. There was also a girl who turned out to be a girlfriend of the most drunk one. We instantly received a beer and we tried to get in their mood as far as possible, I started to play the guitar while the craziest one decided that pissing from the van door while it was driving, was a cool idea. Of course we were stopped at the border, but there’s nothing that money couldn’t fix. By the way, they were Australians travelling around the world.

Australian people

Australian people

Their intention was to jump from the Mostar bridge and mine was not to die. When we arrived, it started to rain again but we already realized that Mostar was a very beautiful place, and also, that Bosnian people don’t like drunk foreigners.  The first thing that caught my attention was all the walls with bullets marks from the war.

War survivor wall

War survivor wall

Sad but very interesting. The “aussies” wanted to have a dinner in a restaurant so we joined them, but we only had a beer. In contrast, they ate a big meat grill plate that looked very tasty, as well as the bill. Then they moved to an open space out of the town and went to sleep. We were used to start the party at that time of the evening but we didn’t have more choice than to put our tent near the van and try to sleep. Unfortunately it was not a very good place for that, it was full of rubbish, stones and cars doing strange movement and in addition to all that it started to rain. This time we couldn’t put the tent so well so the front top got wet. Tent 1 – Rain 1. It was probably the worst night in our trip, but still interesting to remember.

Categories: Beach, Hitchhiking, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Kotor to a random beach in Croatia

Winter was coming

Winter was coming

After two days we were looking forward to be in the road again. We started to walk by the exit of the town which leads to the north. Some meters away we found another hitchhiking couple trying to get a ride. It was a Spanish-German couple. Kotor is definitely the most “hitchhiker friendly” town we found in our trip. Unfortunately it started to rain, so we decided to hitchhike from under a little corner shop’s roof. It was not a very good place but we needed only a few minutes to catch the first car. It was a middle aged woman (Vesta) with a good car and a perfect English that drove us to Perast, a little bit further than her destination. During the short journey the sky started to cover up in a very scary dark gray color.

Raining cats and dogs

Raining cats and dogs

I didn't care about the rain

I didn’t care about the rain

The heavy rain was waiting for us so we had to run to the nearest cafe. We didn’t have time to admire the view and that little village was really charming.  It was much less touristic and smaller than Kotor, so instead of big cruisers you could see little fisherman’s boats and transparent water, with the same crazily beautiful mountains around. We stayed in a cafe at least three hours.  It didn’t stop to rain all that time. I tried to bargain with the owner to exchange my guitar to another exposed in the bar as a decoration but my efforts didn’t have any reward.

Come on, sell me the fucking guitar!

Come on, sell me the fucking guitar!

After the storm a beautiful sunny color impregnated the whole bay, it was a magic moment. In the way back to the main road we had the time to make some beautiful pictures of the bay and the little fisherman boats.

Beautiful landscape

Beautiful landscape

Already there, we realized that there was no place to hitchhike in our direction, so we tried out the more risky hitchhiking mode: “the reverse hitchhiking”. It was fucking hard… That’s not true. We needed two minutes for a car to stop.  That’s when we met one of the main characters in our trip story: Habib. At this time he was with another Turkish friend, Emir,  and he drove us from Perast to Herceg Novi. He also gave us two CD´s of Turkish music: Burhan Öçal & The Trakya All Stars  and Gönül Sayfam . Once there, we stopped to buy something to eat in a very small corner shop with a smiley old woman that actually give as a tomato for free. She was so nice that we decided to hitchhike few meters away not to block her entrance. Soon other hitchhikers arrived to this place, leaving us in a less advantageous position. Anyway, we were caught before them by an interesting Montenegrin guy with a ruined old Golf. He drove us to the border with Croatia and, by the way, with the European Union. We crossed the border walking again and there we found another of our animal friends. We very originally called him Pulgui 3. There he is:

Pulgui 3

Pulgui 3

He was specially trained to bark furiously and try to attack all the car that ignored us, specially the Germans. We finally got a ride from a very friendly Bulgarian couple whose car was already full without us. From Christian (the driver) we learned about “Dubioza Kolektiv”, a Bosnian band that we liked a lot. They wanted to leave us in a proper Camping site but we didn’t find the way to explain them that we were wild camping. After leaving them we felt a little bit upset, because we had the impression that they wanted to spend an evening with us (If you are reading that, sorry anyway). We finally were in Croatia but we weren’t very sure where exactly.

Categories: Beach, Hitchhiking, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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