Coming to Bosnia was never part of the plan, but to be honest there never really was a concrete plan to begin with. Had I planned everything out, I can guarantee you I would not be sitting in Belgrade, Serbia writing this post right now, so therefore I am thankful for the lazy, carefree attitude, go with the flow attitude I have adapted over the last few weeks.
I started my journey north once I returned to the mainland after my weekend getaway on Vis. I knew that I did not want to stay in Croatia any longer and my options were to either go east to Montenegro or north up into Bosnia. My flight to Sweden departs from the airport in Zagreb; therefore, I figured it would be better to go north somewhat towards my final destination rather than venture off into the complete opposite direction.
I had heard great things about the city of Mostar, located just three hours north of Split and decided to go and check it out. I knew almost nothing about Mostar before I arrived, but once I got there I could see what all the hype was about. Mostar is most famous for having one of the oldest bridges in all of Europe – although it was bombed during the war it has been restored which is why it may not look quite as old as it actually is. I spent the day there wandering through old town with an American girl I met at my hostel. We explored the shops, hiked up to the top of the famous sniper tower, and had a great dinner on the river. I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with everyone at the hostel, sharing travels stories, and planning where I would move onto tomorrow.
Sarajevo was the most logical choice as it was only a two-hour bus ride away, so the following morning at around midday I caught a bus and headed up there. I would have left earlier, but I stuck around to watch a guy from my hostel jump off the bridge. It costs 35 Euros to do so, many have done it, and many have severely injured themselves. It is a 24m fall, so land wrong and you will definitely break a bone or two if not worse. Just two days before I arrived an Australian girl jumped and broke her femur in two places. Thankfully, the guy from my hostel survived the jump unscathed.
In Sarajevo I stayed at a place called Hostel Residence which was run by a local old couple who were so sweet and helpful – I would highly recommend staying there if you ever happen to find yourself in Bosnia. I went on a walking tour that people at my hostel said was good around the city in the morning. It was so interesting to learn about the Bosnian history and what happened with Yugoslavia, the genocide, and all of the wars. At my school in America we only ever focused on the two world wars, but really there was so much more to the aftermath of them. I also got to see the place where Franz Ferdinand and Sofia were assassinated which was a really moving experience. I wish I would have had time to hike up and see the famous bobsled from the Olympics, but I got a little sidetracked and ended up sitting at a cafe with three people I had met for two hours. It was still a great day regardless.
I could have stayed in Sarajevo for two more days at least, but I decided to squeeze in one last city as long as I was still in the Balkans and caught an 8am shuttle bus to Belgrade. The shuttle cost me 25 Euros and provided door to door service which was super nice because the bus station is located very far from Sarajevos center and the less time I have to spend walking around with my ever-growing-in-size backpack the better.
I arrived in Serbia at around 3pm – just in time to catch the free alternative history tour my hostel offers, but that is for another post!