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Food in Mostar

02.21.18

Some groceries and a menu from a restaurant around the corner from us. Multiply the cost by 0.61 for the price in US$.

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Price of beer in a bar: US$3.01 for local craft on draft, 500ml

Song currently stuck in my head: Search Party (The Dandy Warhols)

I’m fresh out of the gym and I’ve been hitting it hard. My shoulder has been complaining for a year or two about the weighted grinding I’ve put it through, but long term travel is the best treatment I’ve found for inflammatory repetitive stress injuries. Obliterate the routine and you escape the repetition. We’ve gone off again (Krakow, Split), on again (Lviv, Mostar) with our gym memberships, but when we joined the well appointed gym in the same building as our rental (30 days for ~US$33.55/pp), I knew I was going to go for broke. I’m going 6 days a week with a standard push/pull/legs split, about 24-30 sets per visit. It’s taken this long for my shoulder to start complaining, which is probably a good sign.

I’m not going to pretend to understand what’s going on in this town. This place only has ~100,000 residents, but its built straight upward. True, it’s hemmed in on the sides by steep inclines, but I’ve seen towns expand along steeper. You can walk the whole place from end to end easily, but here in the center 6 story apartment blocks are the norm. From the outside, my building and it’s entire complex looks best avoided; broken windows, low effort graffiti, unsecured doors swinging open and shut, trash and dirt and enough varying levels of sidewalk and curb cement to make the whole thing resemble the progression of an ongoing archaeological dig. But look more closely and you’ll notice a lot of the cars are late model luxury brands (Mercedes and BMW), many of which are well maintained. If I understand correctly, a previous resident of this unit was a physician and her neighbor was some type of dental specialist. I’m assured crime is a non-issue and I haven’t seen anything to make me think otherwise.

The history here is so foreign to me that I can’t mentally trace the normal influences to reverse engineer periods of improvement or evidence of downswings. Are all of these oversized buildings the result of some type of central planning from decades past where allocation of capital defies the conventions with which I’m familiar? Fuck if I know.

The population dropped about 20% between 1991 and 2013, whether due to migration or artillery fire, so perhaps that contributes to the outsized feeling.

We’ve moved from our previous place to another one owned by our host. The building scheduled some maintenance after we’d booked and it will leave our unit without power for some unspecified number of days. The owner was incredibly accommodating and has generally been helpful beyond belief, arranging routine health appointments for us and answering any questions we throw his way. I miss that apartment though. It’s the first one about which I’ve felt this way on the trip. The internet was terrible; more like a rumor you overheard about wifi than a stable utility. The unit also lacked laundry. But aside from those two (significant) considerations, everything was near perfect. It really is a mark of how slimmed down my needs have become that they can be filled by a modest amount of elbow space spread across two rooms, a medium sized TV, a capable water heater, a comfortable couch and a comfortable bed, a kitchenette, a desk with ample square footage space and the contents of my bag.

I have friends that will read that and make fun of how high-maintenance I am, but they’re throwing shade from better climates and higher BALs.

Old Town

02.16.18

The first and last photos here are The Stari Most, a bridge built in the 16th century then blown up during the Yugoslavian Civil War in The 90s and opened again in 2004. It’s kind of a big deal. The other shots are elsewhere along the same river.

Around Town

02.14.18

Here are some shots from around The Palace, inside and out, as well as The Riva which shares a wall or two with it. The first shot has not been edited, it’s a palm tree and building bathed in LED disco lights for Christmas.

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Price of a beer in a bar: US$3.05 for 500ml of local craft draft in The Old Town

Song currently stuck in my head: All I Really Want (Alanis Morissette)

Its early January as I write this and it’s 51 F outside and I consider that a win. We’ve been in Mostar for a little over a week. Our rental is terrific, but we have to move to another building because they’re going to kill the power for several days to perform maintenance on the elevators.

In Krakow, Lviv and Split we chose our rentals based in part on their proximity to the Old Town which is usually also the city center (or something). I figured this was a good proxy for walkability and overall density. Mostar is the fist time we’ve pushed out further and we’ve been richly rewarded for doing so.

We have a nice gym in the basement and several other businesses on site; a bakery, a pizzeria, a dance club, a bar… all on the property. This place has been heavenly, except that we share wifi with a few other units and the bakery under us and the signal is often too weak to use. The hallway is bright, sterile and floored in tile and has a faint smell of chlorine. Every time I enter it I have the fleeting thought that I’m going to an indoor swimming pool and then a mild, momentary letdown as I remember there’s no pool. The whole thing is laid out as some kind of student complex and our rental is targeted to that demographic. Our hosts estimates 70% of the units house students. I don’t know why, but there hardly seems to be anyone around. Perhaps they’re on break.

Aside from the wifi, the ‘student centric’ feel of the place is perfect for us and a welcome respite after the small studio in Split. We have 3 sizable desks and more storage than I’d have thought practical. The furniture seems to have been designed for the unit, so I assume they’re all furnished like this. I’m confident in my conclusion because the trim where the floor meets the wall has been installed around the furniture. They were meant for each other. We have plenty of space to move around and a pretty good view of surrounding peaks. We have a comfortable couch and 3 comfortable beds.

The host assures us we’ll like the next place even better.

The weather has been holding, a mix of sun and gray skies, occasional rain or mist, highs in the 40s and 50s. I eat doner kabob just about every day. We had an amazing meal last night at Sadrvan, the platter of meats and meat-heavy mixtures above and two beers for US$25.01. Even that pita in the picture is stuffed with sausage and, for a sense of scale, those two spoons you see spooning are large serving spoons, so don’t be fooled by the forced perspective. It was sating and then some, even for our workout fueled aggregated hungers. We barely touched the accompanying bread basket. Pizza is ubiquitous and solid in this town and I’ve been eating a lot of it, though they’ll lay out trails of mayonnaise on top of it if you let them. I haven’t gone out for an omelet yet, but it seems to be the one breakfast item that everyone serves and its on my list.

 

Further Out

02.09.18

The housing density picks up considerably on the way out of town. These hulking apartment blocks may look dystopian at first, but I didn’t see anything to suggest they were particularly low-rent. There’s a huge, tiered pedestrian mall out in this area as well. I can’t tell how vital it is, since this is the off season. It might have seen better days or it might see them every May. The last two shots are of houses Northwest of The Palace in one of my favorite architectural styles of all time: a type of Art Deco known as Streamline Moderne.

Seeing Spots

02.07.18

Villa Spiza, Academy Club Ghetto, Marvlvs Library Jazz Bar, Academy Club Ghetto, Tavern Tri Volta