Trebinje, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Muezzin and dentists. Today I will tell you about my visit at the Bosnian dentist. But let’s start with the border crossing. Shortly after cycling through the most beautiful landscape so far in the Dalmatian hinterland, I crossed into Bosnia and Hercegovina. From the first moment this country was making a good impression on me. Not only was the border police surprisingly friendly – almost all Bosnians along my way were smiling and waving as I passed. The mountains got steeper and I eventually reached Mostar.
What a beautiful city! With half the population Muslims and the other half Christian this town has an interesting architectural mix to offer. There are buildings from the Ottoman Empire as well as relicts from the Austro-Hungarian occupation. Although it all got destroyed during the Bosnian War in the 90s, they did a good job at restoring it. As I was standing on the world-famous Stari Most (Old Bridge), I heard for the first time on my journey the Muezzin shouting his prayers.
The next day was a resting day but it should get quite messy: As I was having lunch my tooth suddenly fell out (no worry, it’s a fake tooth), so I had to search for a dentist. Thus began a long cycling tour through the city and a quite interesting experience. Finally finding a dentist practice I got sent to the only doctor speaking English. She was very interested in my story and so we talked for about half an hour while she was trying to put my fake tooth back into my mouth. There was a very nice atmosphere in the room as she was translating for the other doctors who apparently all stopped working and built a circle around me. At the end of the process the doctor said something like ‘eh... just give me 5€ and that’s fine.’
That was fine for me as well but as I was biting in that same piece of bread again a few hours later, my tooth fell out again. ‘Really?’ So I went back there the next morning and the doctor put it back in again. This time she used a stronger glue, she said. And it was for free. Let’s see how long it lasts because I have the feeling that this problem will stay with me for a long time…
So I moved on towards Montenegro. Bosnia is truly gorgeous but the mountains are incredibly steep! And the worst thing is, Bosnians seem to hate serpentines. They just search for the steepest hill and build a road straight up. Yesterday I had to push my bicycle several times in the hot afternoon sun.
One last example for why I really like Bosnian people: Yesterday I stopped in front of a bar because I wanted to ask for directions. I realized too late that all these men sitting there were pretty drunk and couldn’t even distinguish east from west anymore. What they could do in fact was inviting me for a beer. So I sat there for a while listening to the only guy who could speak a little bit of English. But I really couldn’t follow his conspiracy theories about Jacky Kennedy and after a few minutes he had to leave because apparently there was a problem with his kids at home. He stumbled to his car and drove away. I thought that it can be very dangerous to cycle on these streets on a weekend when a lot of people drink and drive. Then I finished my beer in the afternoon heat, said ‘Hvala’ (Thanks) to everyone and stumbled to my bicycle.