Islands And Bridges

When you are driving around a country, staying a night here and a couple of nights there, you end up doing a lot of loading, and unloading, of luggage.

In our case DH does a lot of the loading and unloading. DD1 is old enough to help him. I can pull a wheelie suitcase while wearing a backpack and carrying a couple of extra bags with the best of them, but my sore knee make it very difficult for me to carry stuff down stairs, so I’m usually on child care duty.

Both DH and I have remarked that we don’t think we have as much luggage as we have had before. Two big suitcases, one medium and a couple of decent sized soft sided wheelie bags. Plus a back pack each, and a few carrier bags full of car activities and screens for easy access.

Most of the places we’ve stayed at have had parking right outside the rooms but the hotel we were staying in on Tuesday night was on an island and we had to park about 15 minutes away. That’s a whole lot of ferrying luggage back and forth in temperatures in the high 30s (C).

We stayed the night on Trogir, a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Čiovo, about 27km West of Split. Our hotel looked old from the outside, but had been totally renovated internally in 2006. It had comfortable beds, good showers, air conditioning and room for three people per room. We all slept well as the previous couple of nights had been spent in much less luxurious surroundings.

Trigor itself was full of cobbled streets, restaurants and tourists. Tourism is a very important part of the economy and you can see why; it’s a gorgeous place with a medieval core of a preserved castle and tower and a series of dwellings and palaces, all surrounded by walls. We wandered around in a bit of a daze, admiring the old structures as well as the fantastic luxury boats and street entertainers on the water front.

Trigor looking back from waterfront

There was also plenty of choice of restaurants for somewhere to eat. And plenty of icecream stands for dessert…

But the next morning we had to pack everything up again and drag it halfway across the island to the car. We stopped to buy more cheap sunglasses on the way, but we were all gasping by the time we got back to the car.

From Trogir, we drove down to one of the major borders and drove into Bosnia. Our car insurance doesn’t cover non EU countries, so we had to purchase some 3rd party insurance in the no mans land between the borders.

To be honest, it seemed the bloke checking the paperwork couldn’t have cared less.

Now we are in Mostar, where we will stay for two nights. We are staying in a very comfortable Pansion with three rooms, of which we have two.

It’s very hot here at the moment, almost 40C during the day, so we have only gone out in the morning and in the evening. The rest of the time we have spent in our A/C rooms trying not to overheat.

Mostar is another city with a past. Between 1992 and 1993, after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia, the town was subject to an 18 month siege.  During the conflict, the Old Bridge was destroyed but has since been restored, along with the surrounding structures and historic neighbourhoods. This rebuilding project was initiated in 1999 and mostly completed by Spring 2004.

The restored Old Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia

We have not over exerted ourselves in Mostar. Time has been spent time watching the divers- young men who leap from the bridge, but only after enough tourist Euros have been collected, wandering the slippery cobble stoned streets in search of fridge magnets and postcards, watching busloads of tourists wander around in untidy groups and stopping frequently for cold drinks, and ice cream.

shopping in Mostar

When the heat has proved too much, we’ve retreated to our rooms, 50m from the Old Bridge, and read or watched TV until it cooled down again.

We’d liked to have explored a little more and perhaps gathered a little more information about the now not so recent conflicts that tore this city apart. You can see the scars and old wounds everywhere in the form of ruined buildings and bullet holes. When we explained what we knew to the kids, they were a little bit scared, but also excited by being able to see the evidence of what went on for themselves.

Tomorrow we leave for a week in Montenegro, but we’d like to revisit Mostar and Trogir sometime, touristy as they are.

Maybe we could come back sometime when it’s not so hot?