I am shocked and saddened about yet another terrorist attack in the wonderful city of London. There have been three terror attacks in less than three months targeting people living their lives, Londoners must feel very vulnerable and unsafe. I hope with all of my heart for there to be peace in London and around the world.
Chris and I have spoken with so many people from different countries this past two weeks while we were traveling, and we encountered nothing but kindness and goodness from everyone. It is heartbreaking to see so much violence in the name of extremism.
We saw the aftermath of senseless violence when we were in Bosnia a week ago. It was only 20 years ago when Baltic cities were bombed beyond recognition and an estimated 100,000 people were killed in the Bosnian War. Bosnian Serbs launched a military campaign to “cleanse” Bosnia of its Muslim community which resulted in the worst genocide since World War II.
Bosnia was not in the original plan for our trip, but while doing research for our trip to Croatia, Chris read about a city called Mostar which was a short drive from Split, Croatia where we had planned to be for a couple of nights. When Chris read about Mostar, he immediately knew we had to go. Mostar is a beautiful city along a river – rich in history and culture and very recent history of war still visible throughout the city.
It’s not often that we can see the impact war has on an entire country. Visiting Mostar was a rare opportunity to see the effects of war on a town and community.
Mostar is divided into two different religions now living harmoniously together: there are Catholics and Muslims; churches and mosques that both play a dominant part of the landscape.
Chris wanted to hear the prayers coming directly from the minarets of the mosque, echoing throughout the city. He wanted to see the massive concrete buildings riddled with bullet holes and covered in beautiful graffiti. He wanted to be there and see the impact of war firsthand.
We only had one night in Mostar, which was plenty of time to walk the stone streets (very difficult to walk on) and across the famous Old Bridge, Stari Most (also difficult to walk across because it was rebuilt with a shiny slippery stone that you can easily slip and fall on). The Old Bridge was completely destroyed in the war, and then rebuilt again in replica, and it is a beautiful site to see. Mostar is known for their incredible Bazar Kujundziluk all around the Old Bridge with handmade jewelry and bags for a great price.
I heard some people refer to Mostar as a tourist trap, and indeed there were massive amounts of tourists there and strange things the locals roped the tourists into for money, like jumping off the Old Bridge into the Neretva River (said to be the coldest river in the world!). But despite the obvious tourist traps, the town is beautiful and unique and we enjoyed experiencing such a different culture from ours. We found the people of Mostar to be very friendly. They have an otherworldly sense about them, perhaps because they are still recovering from the scars of war.
And what is not a tourist trap is the three-hour walk Chris and I did around the city on our own, checking out the bombed out buildings now covered in graffiti with thought-provoking and powerful statements.
Mostar is definitely worth a night visit, and if you are driving there you will get the added benefit of seeing some of the most beautiful mountainous green landscape anywhere.
All of the amazing photos from this trip were taken by Chris Woolsey.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.