Monday, August 30th we left Korcula and headed off to the mainland by way of ferry. There was a cruise ship that had moored in the harbour and transported it’s passengers into Korcula. The town was crowded with pedestrians walking on sidewalks and on the streets. Cars were parked everywhere because the island was not set up for automobiles, it was absolute chaos again but we made it to the ferry. It was another beautiful day, sun shining and the sea sparkling. After landing on the mainland we headed off to the Croatian Border to exit and then enter into Bosnia. Our final destination was Mostar, Bosnia.
As we drove along the shoreline once we got off the ferry, we had the water on one side of us and beautiful homes on the other side. The streets were lined with palm trees, it was very beautiful. Many of the houses were advertising apartments for rent. Since the early 90’s and the collapse of Yugoslavia most of the people rely on tourism for their income. Their money is called kuna’s and it is 5 kuna’s to 1 Canadian dollar. Prices are very reasonable.
We stopped at a little town called Orabec. The “c” has an accent over it so it is pronounced as “ch”. Lots of oleander trees lined the streets, they were in full bloom with white, pink or red flowers. We found a really great wine here in Croatia called Dingac (the “c” has an accent over it, so it sounds like Dingach, Olga kept calling it Dingbat to help her remember the name). That is the wine we have been ordering since we discovered it. Just past Orabec was a huge wall which looked very much like the wall of China. It climbed up and over the mountain and went for miles. There were also ruins at the base of the wall. Turned out to be a Turkish wall. The Turks managed to conquer this area in 1492 but they did not get to Korcula, thanks to The Holy Mother (see previous blog comments). The Turks were also called the Ottomans during this period.
As we drove along we saw many oyster farms in a protected areas of the Aegean Sea. Many metal canisters were floating on top of the water. Just past the oyster farms was the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We drove up to the border and told the girl in the booth that we were with the car (Russ’ car) in front of us and she said “Cool” and waved us through. We didn’t show our passports or anything. Very easy. Why Canada and the US need all the security at our borders is beyond me.
As we entered Bosnia we passed a beach resort with sandy beaches and modern looking houses. The houses at this spot looked more modern than the houses in Croatia. Maybe it was a new settlement. There was lots of construction going on as well.
Then as we drove away from the Sea and further into the mountains we were surprised to see how rocky the soil was. There were stone fences everywhere with foundations of ruined houses. Whether these were casualties from the war or older ruins I do not know. We passed a cemetery which was neat and tidy but the interesting thing was that all the caskets were above the ground. I guess this was because the earth is rocky and it is too hard to bury the caskets. Signage in Bosnia are in both Latin and Cyrillic. The Bosnians and Croats use the Latin alphabet whereas the Serbians use the Cyrillic alphabet.
The most interesting thing about Bosnia is that it is called Bosnia and Herzegovina, not just Bosnia. AND it is made up with three different types of people and religions! The Bosnians are Muslim; the Croats are Roman Catholic and the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox. The Bosnians and Croats make up 51% of the population and the Serbs make up 49%. The Bosnians live in the capital and the more populated areas, the Croats to the West and the Serbs to the East, “generally”. ALSO they have a presidency; not a president. There are three presidents, a Bosnian, a Croat and a Serb. Each president leads for 8 months and the other two are his advisors. At the end of 8 months one of the other two is the president for 8 months, etc. Very different way to rule a country. It seems to be working for them at the moment.
As we drove into the centre of Mostar to where our hotel was located, we noticed many of the buildings were damaged from the war. The outskirts of the city was not welcoming or very pretty but there are new houses being built up the mountain around the city which should improve things for the future. Thankfully the old part of town was wonderful.
It was pouring rain when we went out for dinner but that did not stop us. We grabbed umbrellas from the hotel and went into the city centre for a typical Bosnian Dinner. It was lots of fun and very wet.