I never imagined I would have an opportunity to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. When I was growing up in the 1990's I remember watching news reports of war and massacre in this part of the world. Little did I know that I would be walking down the same cobblestone streets a few decades later. This fledgling democracy still has a lot of tension in the air between the various factions that govern it.
The Old Bridge at Mostar (Stari Most)
Spanning the depths of the river Neretva this bridge has become a symbol of strength for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the original structure stood for over 400 years it was destroyed during the Croat-Bosniak war in 1993. This war brought great pain to the people of the Balkans. Symbolic of the solidarity that the bridge stood for, it was reconstructed with international effort and completed in 2004. It was designated as an UNESCO world heritage site and rightfully so. We certainly felt the power of this place and recommend that you do as well.
Sarejevo is the capital and the largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While we did not get a chance to visit, I highly recommended it to the history buffs out there. With a rich history as a cultural melting pot of the region, Sarajevo is infamous as being the epicenter to the start of many wars including World War I. Since the creation of Bosnia and Herzegovina this city is said to have made huge strides forward and is emerging as a top travel destination. I suggest wandering around the old town and checking out the war tunnel museum.
A quaint town in the southwest part of the country which has emerged as a pilgrimage destination for Catholics who believe that the Virgin Mary has made appearances there. Apart from the church, it also is a great place to shop for local crafts and lace products.
The walled town of Pocitelj dates back centuries and is another UNESCO heritage site. It was a thriving urban development for centuries. We enjoyed a hike to the top and were rewarded with views of the countryside and the river Neretva. After the hike we tried some amazing fresh locally grown figs from the fruit stalls at the base.
Cevapi are like little Bosnian kebabs or small grilled meat sausages made of lamb and beef mix; served with onions, sour cream,Bosnian pita bread. They are a staple in all former Yugoslavian countries. They could be considered a street food and you could find them in small cafes around Mostar.
Burek is a meat-filled flaky pastry, traditionally rolled in a spiral and cut into sections for serving. There a plenty of options when it comes to the filing of the Burek. We tried the cottage cheese burek called "Sirnica" and a chicken burek. These treats are quite greasy so have plenty of paper towels handy. They have local stores where you can try burek and they are called Bas Burek.
Bosnian Coffee or Bosanska Kahva
Coffee drinking in Bosnia is a traditional daily custom and plays an important role during social gatherings. The coffee here closely resembles Turkish coffee. The water is brought to a boil and then roasted and ground coffee beans are added to it while the ground coffee settles, it is then filtered and drunk. It is served either hot or cold.
While we were in Mostar watching the great bridge jumpers leaping off a 79 foot bridge, we had an opportunity to try some great local fish. We got the set lunch menu which came with a side salad, an entree and a dessert. The fish itself was a delight. Very lightly seasoned and cooked to perfection.
Restaurant: Cafe Bella, Mostar 88000.
It is a fried batter soaked in syrup, similar to churros. It is made from unleavened dough piped into its shape then deep-fried to a golden brown, then sugar syrup is poured over it when still hot. It is eaten cold. It reminded me of an Indian sweet called "Gulab Jamun".
Restaurant: Cafe Bella, Mostar 88000