|"bosnian coffee," mostar, bosnia|
with a combined use of english, bosnian and german michelle and i managed to get a taxi ride out to blagaj, a small, very old town about six miles down the valley from mostar, where we were staying. oh, and a return pick up arranged for hours later. the driver lived in germany for a few years and he and i managed to communicate using all three languages. by the end of the drive the driver and i were throwing out all the words we knew and i was proud to leave him with a smile.
|herceg fortress, our destination, blagaj, bosnia|
out. in. the. middle. of. nowhere. blagaj, bosnia. wow, just beautiful, scrubby and hot, with limestone formations poking out of the dirt and no one around. approaching town we could see a fortress on the mountain looming over town: our destination. i pointed to it and the driver, with a slightly worried face, said "nur laufen." only walking, no cars. for a moment he thought we wanted him to drive us all the way up.
after an hour climb up the backside of a small mountain and we were staring down on blagaj with a fair part of herzegovina splayed out before us. after the illyrians and then after the romans, this was duke stjepan herceg's fortress. the name source of "herzegovina," the southern territory of "bosnia and herzegovina." we found ourselves clambering through and over a 14th century fortress all by ourselves. there's been a settlement up here since the 3rd-4th century along with human remains found in the valley that date back more than 12,000 years. there was no admission fee, no safety, no nothing even resembling an american fear of injury liability anywhere. just us and an old ruin on a hill. great hike.
|from the top of a 500 year old minaret, mostar, bosnia|
|bolivar, mostar, bosnia|
we're back in croatia, grumpy waiters be damned, and camping out in zagreb, the capital. we came through here on the train to the coast a few weeks ago, spent a lovely couple of hours in the park, and decided to return if we could. over the last few weeks, many people commented "oh, have you been to zagreb? no? you really should." so we did. got a GREAT apartment in the middle of the city and, for the moment, we're living like a couple of 'poor ol' big dogs.' we'll report back.