First full day in Bosnia.
Ready for my first day in Mostar? Well, I am, so let’s go on. Mi battle plan for to today is to spend some time in Mostar in the early morning then to find a way to reach Blagaj, a village at about 20 kilometres from Mostar and then to spend some more time in Mostar. There are many possible issues in the execution of this program. First one is the weather that according to forecast should be rainy but luckily there only few weak clouds on the horizon. Second one are the local public transports. I heard some vague assumption about Blagaj being connected by a local bus, but this must be confirmed and furthermore I don’t even know exactly where the bus stop is. However, life is made of priorities and now, mine is to eat something for breakfast 🙂 .
Accomplished this critical task, I do a little walk around the old town on both Neretva banks trying to do some shoot supported by the morning light. Unfortunately the centre is already full of tourists. Many of them come by bus from Croatia for a day trip. Meanwhile I asked some locals (hard to find some) about the bus stop and based on their hints I’m now heading in the hopefully right direction.
Number 10 is the bus that leads to Blagaj according the bus stop timetable and it should leave in about 20 minutes. So I start to wait with many other local people. This seems to be a small hub and therefore many buses are stopping here. In a few minutes I start to share the ‘waiting experience’ with other tourists, all directed to Blagaj. Other two, are going somewhere else but they tell us some “heart-warming” word about some possible huge delay of this bus. They waited about 1,5 hours yesterday. In the middle of a talk about travelling topics with one Italian (me), one guy from Singapore, one Dutch, one Czech and one British, the bus number 10 to Blagaj appears and almost on time. The program proceeds smoothly…
The village of Blagaj is quite small. The touristic area lays on both banks of the river Buna, a minor tributary of the river Neretva. There is some old house mainly on the right bank but soon the scene is taken by a lot of small nice restaurants with tables on the riverbanks. The main attraction of Blagaj is the Tekke or Tekja, a Dervish Monastery from the 17th century built exactly at the source of the Buna river in a very scenic location. The house can be visited (without shoes) for fours Bosnian Marks or two Euros since it seems that at least in the tourism related trades, both currencies can be used with a fixed exchange rate of two BM for one Euro. The place is absolutely enchanting but is small so I’m soon looking for something else to do. I then decide to go to the Fort, on the top of the mountain. From where I am, it seems to be just a bunch of ruins but maybe it’s better. Let’s go and see, then.
Reaching the Blagaj Fort or, as it is locally know, Stjepan grad is not complicate, from the river just follow the road that gently goes up around the mountain. Once in a sort of parking place, there is a serpentine path allowing to complete the last and hardest part of the hike and reaching the fort at its 310 mt. No ticket is required. From here, I can see that the fort, of medieval origins, is actually in much better conditions that I thought looking at it from the village. Most of the walls are ok. The view of the plain from here is very nice. There are two ponds unfortunately with some garbage on it that are the house for several frogs. I spend some minute trying to take some picture of them. I decide that it’s time to visit the third attraction of Blagaj, after the Tekke and the Fort: restaurants by the river so, before coming back to Mostar I have the chance to taste some fried trout.
Back to Mostar.
The bus keeps the trend of punctuality and it leaved from Blagaj on time. Weather is still fine and so once in Mostar I walk some more time in the town. Still time to take some nice picture of the old bridge from the nearby Lučki most and then I go to the long distance bus station to check if there is any chance to go to Počitelj tomorrow. Unfortunately no service is planned for tomorrow. It is Sunday and even a special one: Easter Sunday. So I will stay all day in Mostar.
I spend the evening eating at a restaurant with view on the old bridge and taking some shoot of Mostar by Night and this way my 15th day of trip around the world is over.
Here is the gallery with Blagaj and Mostar pictures.