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Montenegro - Bosnia & Herzegovina


Stari Most brug in de avond in Mostar
Stari Most bridge at Mostar

Montenegro is a country that is not yet half the size of the Netherlands and we also notice that when it comes to distances. If you are talking about time, you can quietly drive 2 hours over 90 kilometres by car. So take your time and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The border crossing from Albania is proceeding smoothly. Wait a while, but that's the case everywhere and via the capital Podgorica we drive north-east into the country.


Ostrog Monastery

Our first goal is the Ostrog Monastery and for this we drive through a valley to the nearest campsite. Once there, the owner is happy that we want to be at his campsite, but he still advises against us. Here too it has rained more than usual. In the month of June it should be a long dream. The sun must shine, the grass must already discolour. Unfortunately it is not so. We are welcome at the risk of getting stuck in the wet and muddy grass. We drive on to be on the safe side, park the car for a while and think about what we are going to do next. Without internet 😊.



Zabljak

We drive on to Kod Boce campsite in Zadljak, directly to Durmitor Park which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This village is located at 1500 metres altitude and especially the last stretch is already beautifully beautiful to drive. It is a small village, but touristy. Four campsites, multiple hotels and B&Bs. There is a ski slope nearby and a lot is being built. (which doesn't seem to be allowed, but yes...) From the campsite we can walk directly to the Black Lake, but the neighbouring campsite does not allow that. It is possible from his campsite, but we are not allowed to use it as a passage. He apparently can't stand the owner of our campsite. The next day we will drive (part of) the route from Zabljak to Pluzine the P14. Straight through Durmitor National Park. Great views and beautiful rugged nature. It looks like the plateaus of Norway and the mountain peaks of the Dolomites.


Crno Jezero – the black lake

We still drive to the black lake via the autoroute. Unfortunately, entrance is requested, €5,- p.p. Only there do we see how many tourists there are. The last stretch to the lake can be reached via a good walking path. You walk wonderfully among the large trees in the shade. Arriving at the lake, it is special to see that on one side the mountains go up steeply. The side you arrive at is not the case. You can also walk around the lake, of which we do a bit. Misty finds it equally scary to cross a bridge, she hadn't done that in a while.



Durdevica Tara bridge

The Tara bridge (built from 1937 - 1940) over the Tara gorge, a bridge that has been widely photographed and is also a location in the film 'the guns of navarone'. The bridge is about 170 metres high and 365 metres long, once the highest arch bridge in Europe. In the Second World War, the bridge was indeed blown up, but already rebuilt in 1946.


You can raft in the Tara gorge, but at the top of the bridge you can whizz from one side to the other with a zipline from 3 places. We walk across the bridge to the other side and see people whizzing from one side to the other a few times. The employee is trying to persuade us. Rudolf agrees that he doesn't want to do it, I doubt. It seems cool to me, but also scary. Suppose.......... Yes suppose what? Then two Belgian ladies also come to take a look, they have done this before. I agree to get a helmet on and put on the gear. At that moment I hang it's not scary at all and I tell Rudolf that he can start taking photos and filming. The employee counts to three and there I go. Great when I find it I scream it out. I'm not looking down or around me, just straight this first time.



Arriving across the street, I'm still completely devised that I did it. Would I do it again: yes. Cool experience. One of the Belgian ladies asks if I am proud of myself? I am absolutely Proud of myself.


Travel day to Bosnia

We know that Thursday will be a bit worse weather and then the choice is: stay in Montenegro at 15 degrees in the rain, or continue driving to Bosnia and with 20 degrees in the rain. We choose the latter. We would prefer to go to Sarajevo right away, but Rudolf has figured out what the roads are like. I find himself looking for ways to drive on a good road. He even asks the 'ACSI' inspection sir who happens to inspect the campsite in Montenegro. Unfortunately, the inspection Mr. just doesn't know this route. I propose to go towards the coast, then drive to Bosnia towards Mostar via a good and big road. It's a bit of it, but offers certainty in terms of road. We do that and that goes very well, until............... There are roadworks somewhere in Bosnia and just the whole road consists of sand and gravel. Fortunately it's only 2 km, but the car and caravan don't look anymore. Completely full of dust and mud. And also special, google maps spontaneously chooses a different route while we have the 'roaming' off. Either we have no range in Montenegro and Bosnia. Fortunately, we have the roadmap and Rudolf another offline app, so we still drive well to the campsite in one go.



Autocamp Blagaj in Blagaj Bosnië

Tired but satisfied we arrive at autocamp Blagaj, just below Mostar. We are welcomed with a welcome drink and baklava. Finally a baklava that is not too sweet and even I eat it. The second welcome drink will follow within half an hour. Rudolf received half a litre of beer with the first and now gets another 0.3 litres. We decide to order some food right away, because he doesn't get that beer so quickly. You can sit by the river at this campsite, relax, read, eat, just do nothing. Lovely place. In the end we stayed here for 4 nights.



Mostar

Blagaj is of course close to Mostar and despite having been there twice, we are now going there one evening. This time we arrive on the 'Muslim' side. This sounds a bit silly, but the Stari Most bridge used to separate the Catholic and Muslim sides. In 2014 when we were here for the first time it was more visible than it is now. I do write about it below, so that there is a better understanding of what is true. Despite the fact that it is now much more mixed and it has been 30 years. The Stari Most bridge was completely destroyed in the 90s during the Balkan war. Now it has been rebuilt with money from Europe and debris that have fallen into the river have also been used for this. On one side of the bridge is a Catholic church with a very high church tower. There is also a large cross on the mountain behind it. On the Muslim side are several mosques with minarets. 'Fortica' has now also been built on that mountain behind it. A glass viewpoint – more on this later. It must be said, the Catholic tower is higher, they really wanted to trump the other side in terms of height.


Despite the evening it is pleasantly busy and all the terraces are almost full. We now also walk to a point where you can take a picture of the bridge from the bottom. We didn't do that last few times. The many lights also make the city really beautiful to see. If you look closely you will still see traces of the war. Several houses still have bullet holes, some are puttyed, but some do not. Just because they haven't done it yet, don't have money or because they don't know who owns the house. However, there is also a lot of new construction. The contrast side by side is very high in certain neighbourhoods.


Walk towards the 'snipertower' – a former bench used as a sniper tower during the war. By the way, this one is on the 'Catholic' side. Opposite this tower is a new school, beautifully painted yellow-orange. It seems that the different faiths go to school together here. Although I also heard that this happens at different times. So the subject is still vulnerable. Opposite the school are also old buildings that have not yet been restored and an old house full of bullet holes. Everything is at a beautiful roundabout that has been completely renewed. Double feelings to see this.



You can only visit the sniper tower during the day. There are no railings on the stairs up, there is garbage and glass. In addition, you may wonder if you want / should go up. Many artists now use the tower for art – graffity. You see the most beautiful paintings – at least I think so. I do like to photograph that. Mostar is well worth a visit and there is so much more to do than just the bridge and bazaar.



Fortica

Is a viewpoint atop the mountain with a large glass bridge that rises over the hill. You walk on glass, while you see nature below you. Rudolf dares this and I'm less good. The view is beautiful by the way. We are there on Sunday and actually there are only Bosnians upstairs (and a Belgian and a Dutchman – we). It is a starting point for hiking, mountain biking and there is also a zipline! Which was not in use at the time. The route up is narrow, but cars just pass each other with some fitting and measurement work here and there. We wonder how the Belgian came up in his camper. We have already travelled further into Bosnia. Sarajevo was also on our wish list. In the coming week we will explore this city and its surroundings. Warm regards from Sarajevo.




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