On the way to Mostar, you can witness to the natural beauties of this country: on a beautiful spring day, everywhere is colored with every tone of green. You start to be immersed to this natural beauty until you suddenly realize a mass grave with its snow-white gravestones; and then, another one, and then another….all showing the same year, as the year of death: “1993”. From Sarajevo on the way to Mostar, you should not expect to see flower fields….
But you should see Mostar absolutely. It’s easy to go there by bus: you can find almost every hour a bus going to Mostar. The old Ottoman stone bridge, which resisted to all kinds of natural disasters for about 400 years, could not stand to the attacks and was demolished by the Croatians. This is one of the important symbols of Bosnia and the war…In 2004, the restored bridge was opened…..and the Old Bridge of Mostar is now listed on the Unesco World Heritage List.
Mostar is a small but “picturesque” town; you can see the small stone bridges dating the 16.- 17. Centuries, admire the Neretva River and the beauty of the town from the top of one of the hills; take a rest on a bench in the middle of mass graves (yes, the death and the life are intertwined here, you should get used to it!), or to join to the happiness of a new-wed couple reminding us that the life still continues for who survives….
After a few weeks from my China trip, I had an occasion to see West Thrace for a couple of days. I love this part of Greece maybe because of my family roots. Before writing you what I saw there, I want to tell about my strange road adventure.
How many hours can you wait at the frontier of a country? 4 hours? 6 hours? When I left Turkey to cross the Turkish – Greek customs, I wasn’t having an idea about the limits of my patience to wait. Then I passed almost 15 hours waiting in the long queue of cars and buses. Yes, I waited for 15 hours to pass the frontier! That day was a special day because most of the Turkish families living in Germany and other European countries were heading to their homes after having finished their annual vacation in Turkey! Thus, I had an opportunity to observe sociologically the 3rd or 4th generations of Turkish on the roads! These are my observations:
– all Turkish families were having latest model cars full of fresh vegetables and fruits
– all of them are apparently used to pass lots of time on the roads, hence were very well organized: at the time of dinner the women prepared meals and shared these meals with others…
– new generations, ie, kids, don’t know very well Turkish, they were even pronouncing their Turkish names with a ‘German’ accent!
-all Turkish people are proud of themselves about how speed they will go to their homes in Germany. One man was saying to another: ‘after I pass the Greek frontier, I will go to Munich in 15 hours!’. After the Greek frontier, most had parked by the side roads to have a nap!
In sum, it was a different travel experience for me, when you spend almost one day on the road without moving, you have plenty of times to think about your life!
It’s extremely hot in Beijing. This was my first impression when I queued in the long awaiting visa hall. And the airport is crowded as well. It took almost two hours that we finish everything with the visa employee.
Then I headed towards the official taxis waiting at the exit of the airport. I showed the name and the address to the boy who tries to organize the taxi queue. He said something in Chinese to our taxi driver. Then on the way to the city center we found ourselves with the worst traffic jam in the world which I’d ever seen. The taxi driver stopped the car and asked me something in Chinese. He didn’t understand the place of our hotel. I showed him our address paper. He doesn’t understand one word in English! Thanks God, I have the phone number of the hotel which I pointed to him. He called the hotel to get the right directions. My second experience: few Chinese people do understand English. And the third experience: few of them knows Beijing, and that’s true for the taxi drivers. The conclusion: don’t take a taxi if you don’t know Chinese and the directions!
Finally we arrived to hour hotel, which is one of the oldest and well-known in Beijing (not well-known for Chinese taxi drivers of course!) . It was at the corner of the famous pedestrian Wangfujing street.
In the lobby we got the address of the famous roasted duck restaurant which was only one block after our hotel and we rushed to there!
Again with some difficulties of English communication, we finally ordered the famous duck! A chief brought the whole roasted duck in front of us and started to cut it in small layers and pieces, it’s a real show! And the decor of the restaurant was amazing like the taste of the roasted duck! I’m sure everybody would love this taste!
Back to the Wangfujing street, it started to rain and we felt some freshness which made us feel good.
The first hours in beijing on Wangfujing Street, on a very smoggy afternoon!
Live street performance on Wangfujing street
Dad Dong Restaurant, famous for the roasted Pekin Duck in Beijing
Happy ducks waiting to be roasted 🙂
Wangfujing on a sunny day!
This gallery contains 2 photos.
now I’m on the air, flying from NYC to San Francisco. Shabby had chic walkings in the last 2 days. We’ll post the photos later because all the pictures taken are in my checked baggage! But meanwhile I leave you … Continue reading
If you want to learn more about Shabby, please visit the site “About Shabby”. This is my opening blog, and after twenty years of trips around the world, as my friends suggest me, now it’s time to write Shabby’s travels and share his experiences with you. In the upcoming blogs, you will discover the world of Shabby, a taste of all the places which he visited, faces of different people and cultures. And a bit of history, music, colours and daily lives of those people around the world!