18-19 September 2011

I made it into Mostar about 2130. Better late than never I say.

I found a hotel near the old town. It looked ok so I checked in.

Mostar is not quite Dubrovnik but any bed at the end of a long day in the saddle is welcome. It was not that far really. Only about 365 miles (590 km) but it included three border crossings. Apart from stops for petrol or at borders I’d only stopped for about 30 minutes all day – so I’d probably been riding for close on 10 hours. This is a long time to concentrate on a bike. I’m just glad the Family Truckster is so comfortable.

It didn’t help that parking the bike at the hotel was a bit of a hassle. There was about 15 minutes of “put it here, turn it around, move it closer to the wall” before I was asked to move it to a yard in front of a house about a quarter of a mile away. At least it was secure but turning it around to get it out in the morning would be an issue. I was tad annoyed when I got back to the hotel, declining the welcome drink they offered me.

Distance travelled today 366 miles (589km), cumulative 8,016 miles (12,901km).

Breakfast in the morning was fine at least and I had about an hour to explore the old town before hitting the road.

I hadn’t seen much on my arrival the night before but in the daylight the effect of the war, now some 20 years ago, was still very apparent. In many ways the rebuilding of this town was a remarkable achievement, but I’d never seen dereliction of architecture caused by shelling before. I found it all a bit shocking really, but that’s the recent history of this town and this country.

The old town was very reminiscent of Turkey and displayed a strong Ottoman influence. There were several Mosques in the area and a bazaar like souvenir shop zone leading up to the old bridge, now rebuilt since being severely damaged during the war.

But my attention was continually drawn to the buildings that had not been repaired. Houses, commercial buildings, and semi modern shopping centres, all lying empty with the fatal scars of war clearly on display. Maybe when the money becomes available they will be restored to their former glory. Right now this seems a long way off.

I’d better get on my bike.  Still a long way to ride to make it back to London on this Turkey motorcycle tour.