Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Off to Mostar, Bosnia

Ivi, the hostel founder and a delightful tour guide in his 30's took Andres, a 27 year old engineer and great traveling companion from Chile, and me on an 8 hour tour today.

It was incredible!

We headed north on a road overlooking the Adriatic. Soon we had to stop at border control to enter Bosnia Herzegovina. Then in several minutes we were crossing the border again into Croatia.

Why? Because the Ottoman Empire negotiated a small swath of land so that they could have a port on the Adriatic. They controlled Bosnia but not Croatia.

Adriatic Oysters

Our first stop was a road side stand where we sampled oysters from the Adriatic. Similar to what we get in the states, but quite salty. The view of the Adriatic continued to enchant. That plus there are over 1200 islands in the Adriatic which are part of Croatia.

The falls

We drove further coming to a large falls. It was a lovely view as the falls were wide, some creeping around rocks to get to the drop. We did not realize we were just starting.

After taking pictures, we began walking down. First we can to a mid level behind the falls. It was spectacular.

Then we began a steep and somewhat difficult descent. The stone walk was steep, wet and very slippery. We literally inched along. It took about 5 minutes to go about 100 feet.

Safely at the bottom, we stood across the the bottom area of the falls. Again an opportunity for pictures.

Finally, we made our ascent on a much safer stone path.

It is hard to describe just how breathtaking it was.


Later we entered Bosnia proper and stopped at Medjugorje. This is a site where locals feel Mary appeared, similar to Fatima and Lourdes, except the church does not recognize it as valid.

I did not know we were going there. We saw the local church of St. Jacob and then made our way further toward Mostar.


We stopped at a well known local place where they serve a set meal.

1st we were served a small cherry brandy. Very delicious.

Next, we were served a plate of figs, peppers, and cheese. The cheese was stored in sheep skin for one year. What a treat.

This was restaurant began by two widow sister serving soldiers in the fights against the Bosnian Serbs. They had both lost their husbands in the conflict.

Our next course was the main meal. It included lamb, salad, and the most amazing potatoes accompanied by a red wine.

What a wonderful lunch we had.


Old Mostar is the site of an well known bridge, pictures to follow, as well as a lovely medieval Muslim town. We enjoyed Turkish coffee and a jelly treat in the house overlooking the bridge and the steep drop below.

For many years, tourists have paid local men to make the jump into the river. We talked with one jumper who has been doing it for 23 years. He offered to jump for us. Egad, the water is really cold. They charge twice the rate in winter to jump as it is quite dangerous. we said, thanks, but no. Andres and I were not about to encourage someone to jump from such a height in such dangerous conditions.

After our coffee, we made our way into the other side and enjoyed a nice walk and a bit of shopping.

At 7 p.m., we finally began the two hour ride back.

Both Andres and I felt it was a very wonderful day with an excellent Croatian your guide.

My advice, come to the Balkans. It is wonderful. My hope is to bring Laura and Jay here next year.

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.