We had signed up for a one day organized tour to Mostar but that was cancelled for lack of interest, so we rented a car and simply did it ourselves. North up the coast into Bosnia-Herzegovina, back into Croatia, and back into BiH, heading inland. Mostar is a beautiful city, and both like and unlike Dubrovnik. It is similar in that it is built against hills, though over a river, not at a bay. It is similar in that it sustained serious damage (probably more) during the war in the 1990s, but while the Croats were victims in Dubrovnik, they were the aggressors in Mostar. The “Old Bridge”, which had stood for five centuries, was blown up and fortunately later rebuilt.

The big difference is the Muslim presence. From the Old Bridge you can see at least half a dozen minarets, and while we there I had the pleasure of, for the first time in my life, hearing the call the prayer in person. We had already run into the Muslim presence some way outside Mostar, in P…., a 15th century town with a mosque, and castle high up a hill. I only visited the mosque which was charming. Like old ladies sold fresh cherries and dates, of both of which we bought some.

And on to Mostar, again a city with large height differences, and mosques everywhere. The Old Bridge seems to have been a precursor of Venice’s Rialto bridge. They look remarkable similar. Unfortunately, the original Old Bridge, having survived 5 centuries and armies up to and including the Nazis, we destroyed in the civil war in the 1990s. It was rebuilt, entirely in the original design and with the same materials, and is now a Unesco monument.

The area immediately around the Old Bridge is very touristy. Thanks to our Rick Steves guidebook we found a restaurant that was just a short distance from the crowds, nicely secluded, and that served some amazing meat dishes for very reasonable prices. I had, eh, breaded meat filled with meat and meat and cream cheese. Delicious.