Monday, July 18, 2011

Blagaj and Trebinje

(Note: I will be trying to catch up on prior destinations before they get old. We were in Trebinje over a week ago.)

Leaving the friendly confines of the home of my MIL, we grabbed a bus from Bosnia to the junior sister of the country, Hercegovina.

(Allow me to briefly summarize the political and geographic subdivisions of BiH. Bosnia is the larger, more green and northern part of the internationally recognized country. However, the political settlement from the war remains the governing structure of the country, so about half the country is part of the Bosnia-Croatian "Federation," including the part that the Mrs. is from; the other half of the country is called the Repulika Srpska and it is run by the Serbs. There is no correlation between Bosnia vs. Hercegovina and Federation vs. RS, in other words, both parts are shared.)

Rather than spend the night in the touristic nightmare of Mostar, we headed to a small village called Blagaj (Blah-guy) which holds the source of the Buna river. Next to the cave where the river begins to flow is the Blagaj Tekia, long a stopover for travelers across Hercegovina. Literally attached to the rockface, it is quite a sight. We spent the night in an old Turkish home, built the same year the US was declaring its independence, along a peaceful stretch of the Buna.

Early in the morning, we bused back to Mostar, to see the quasi-historic bridge. Long a symbol of where East meets West, and the tolerance of the city shared by Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosnians, the original 400 year old bridge was destroyed when Croatia and Croatian Bosnians briefly waged war upon the Muslims of Bosnia. While the bridge today is a reconstruction, it is a lovely one, as the photo at top right of the blog suggests.

From Mostar, we moved on Trebinje, another lovely Hercegovinan city, although this one in the Serb controlled parts of Bosnia. (The only difference I noticed was they do not use the official national BiH flag and they drink Serb and Montenegrin beer, and none from the Federation.) A really lovely town, however, and we hung out with the separatist Serbs for a couple of nights, did some laundry, then moved on to Dubrovnik in Croatia. I will try to get to that next time.

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