While in Dubrovnik I spotted a picture of what seemed to be Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings. But it wasn’t, it was Mostar, Bosnia – a fairytale like city only three hours south west of Sarajevo. I knew that at the very least I’d have to make a stop there for pictures. And that such a plan was possible since it was in-route back to Split. However, Micky and Dallas soon after saw a similar picture and became just as enchanted as I was.
After our night-out in Sarajevo we embarked on a self-guided tour of the city and snacked on gourmet Bosnia nuts before driving to Mostar. Our host said it was a three-hour drive; however we made it in two. And that includes the time we lost from getting pulled over by the Bosnian police for speeding.
Yes, my reckless driving had finally caught up with me. Two cops were wide-eyed by me passing three cars on a one-lane highway at 50km over the speed limit. And their reaction did not come from being impressed. Though after a long game of shrugs vs. smiles I rolled away both ticket free and my wallet un-raided.
It actually was quite entertaining. You see I have this translation app on my iPhone. And it does a pretty good job. Neither of the cops spoke English, nor me Bosnian, so I ended up getting out of my car to squat next to theirs while they smoked cigarettes and I taught them how to use the app. It was obvious that they wanted a bribe; however they weren’t assertive enough to ask for it straight up. So instead of pulling out wallet, I played dumb and innocent.
He had written on a piece of paper a word that I assumed meant ticket, and next to it the numbers “€100-€300”. And he repeatedly pointed at his scribble, each time following it with a shrug – his face holding an expression of, “what are we going to do about this?” On the app I had learned that the ticket must be paid in the court of Sarajevo, which was now an hour drive behind us. So I gaily asked the cop, “will you please write me a ticket so that I may pay the court in Sarajevo for my violation?”
I watched their faces as they read my message and knew I had taken the upper hand. They wanted cash, not justice – and I had reminded them that tickets were paid to the state, not the officers. After a few minutes of listening to them argue amongst themselves I translated this paragraph.
“It was wrong of me to speed. I understand the problem and will now drive at an appropriate speed. We were following large trucks that were moving slower than the speed limit. That is why I passed the cars.” He handed me my license and we drove off.
One hour later we had found our AirBnB apartment in Mostar – a private room on the upper level of a marble floored house just a minutes walk from the city center. It was a small city – one without much to do besides eat, drink, and look. And without a doubt, looking was the best part.
The granite bridge in the city center connected with a brilliant rise the two halves of the city. Looking as though the river wore tiara. Elevated over each bank small restaurants peppered the cliffs – each one of them relying on their views for business in replace of food quality. After drinks and nargile, as well as meal that was both visually stimulating and palatably dull, we decided that our energy would be better spent on an early morning rather than a late night. So back to our room we walked, looking forward to an early morning excursion.