I sadly left Sarajevo behind with still untold numbers of sights left to see. Again, one day is not enough in historic, cosmopolitan Sarajevo. Now on the road towards Mostar, approximately a three hour drive from Sarajevo, Steve and I fine-tuned plans to leave our Explore group one day early. The last official Explore Worldwide tour day would be in Trebinje, visiting the Tvrdos Monastery. That would be followed by 3:30a wake-up calls for a short drive back to Dubrovnik in light of the fact the Explore group had an early flight back to the U.K.
We were heading to Split on the Croatian coast for three days of R&R. Staying with the group to the tour’s conclusion would mean a taxi/bus from Dubrovnik Airport to either the bus station or ferry port.
Option One. At least seven buses leave every day from Dubrovnik-Split.
Option Two. The Jadrolinija ferry leaves at 8:30a, arrives in Split at 7:30p. Ferry would have been my choice since it makes stops along the scenic coastline. OR….
Option Three. Take a direct bus from Mostar to Split. Nothing could be cast in stone until arrival in Mostar but if it worked out, how doable that would be and missing one last monastery in Trebinje didn’t bother us at all. Truthfully, seeing sights on our own without time constraints sounded very attractive.
There was one stop on the way to Mostar at a roadside restaurant for toilets, and coffee break where a whole lamb was roasting on an outside spit. Not vegetarians, Steve and I thought (even though the head was quite macabre) it was hysterically funny and then along the road for the next half hour, every roadside restaurant was also seen roasting lamb. (It takes three hours on the spit.)
The Hotel Kriva Cuprija II in Mostar was approximately five years old, had modern rooms, Wi-Fi, but no elevator. Sinisa and drivers helped everyone with their luggage; a good thing since our room was on the 3rd floor and another good thing was a partial view of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mostar. Hotel Kriva Cuprija II was a three-star hotel and sister to Motel Kriva Cuprija built in 1998 across the street, located next to the river Radobolja. FYI: The group had a farewell dinner (without us) at Motel Kriva Cuprija and were not pleased. The Motel had the more charming location but our Hotel was the better place to stay.
Bags in room, the group followed Sinisa across the road on the way into the Old Town for lunch in a kebob place with fabulous looking doner kebobs! We’d come back for dinner. Everyone ate while we walked over to a small bakery, and bought nut pastries that were so tasty, we returned for seconds.
There was an Information Office/Agency on the road between the kebob place and bakery. A young man inside spoke great English and gave us bus details for Split. The fastest bus left at 7:00a, just a bit too early since driver Igor offered to drive us to the Mostar bus station. The next bus left at 9:15a, arrived in Split at 3:00p, involved a bus change and a one-hour wait between buses. Nonetheless, this bus was the most convenient. Bus fare was 25 km per person plus an additional 5 km for the agency to do the ticketing. He gave us a voucher and receipt along with instructions to show both with passports at the bus station tomorrow. This bus didn’t not have reserved seats and I sure hoped it was “no smoking.”
A done-deal. Without reservations in Split for one extra night, we’ll just walk to Hotel Luxe once in Split and, hopefully, they will find a place for us to stay if rooms are unavailable.
Back to the Kebob Restaurant where group had just finished polishing off those gigantic Doner Kebobs. Mostar guide Maya met us there around 2:20p and led the way into historic Mostar, past the most charming old stone houses..
…and not so charming buildings pockmarked with bullet holes, and warnings about dangerous ruins…