Before we head to Bhutan, we made a pit stop in the Balkans to scout out a new trip offering for 2014! We began in Sarajevo and visited the Tara River in Montenegro before heading to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina (the full name of the country we Americans refer to simply as “Bosnia”).
The Stari Most (Old Bridge) located in Mostar is a Unesco World Heritage Site and perhaps the most iconic place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was originally built over 400 years ago during the Ottoman empire, but was destroyed in 1993 during the Croat-Bosniak War conflict. In 2004, divers salvaged the original rocks from the river and the bridge was reconstructed. The Neretva River below had never been paddled with a SUP, and it looked like fun so we decided to check it out.
First, we met with a local bridge jumper to learn more about the river. (In Mostar there are a handful of guys who jump off the 78 foot bridge while tourists take their photos. The jump is considered quite dangerous so there are only a handful of locals who do it.) He warned us of the dangerous whirlpools and a rock called Trokut (Triangle) that creates a dangerous whirlpool just upstream of the bridge.
Our hotel was just a few minutes walk from the bridge so we pumped up our SUPs, changed into our gear, and headed back to the river. Walking through the narrow streets of Mostar with our paddling gear and SUPs was a little embarrassing, so we made sure to stop and capture a few photos for our friends back home.
We found the river access and walked down the stairs to where we put-in. After carefully avoiding the Trokut rock, we passed a Mosque and then the Stari Most came in to full view. It was glorious paddling under this historic bridge, and probably an interesting sight for the locals and other tourists.