Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bosnia With Kids

We are wrapping up our posts on our dear friends trip to Croatia with a day trip they took to Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. A huge thank you to them for sharing their experiences and their photos of such an amazing adventure!

Day Trip from Dubrovnik: Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

While Croatia is amazing, the weather during our trip was unseasonably rainy. We planned a sailing trip one day in Dubrovnik but had to cancel due to the weather. So my husband and I decided to head out of town for the day and visit the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina, kids in tow of course!

We picked Mostar because it was relatively close and home to a medieval old town and beautiful Stari Most (a.k.a. old bridge) that was originally built in 1566. Unfortunately, the bridge was badly damaged during the war but has been rebuilt and still captures the essence of this medieval old town.

View from the Stari Most, or Old Bridge

View from the Stari Most, or Old Bridge

The bridge spans the beautiful green-blue waters of the Neretva River. There are many cafes and restaurants overlooking the water and nestled into the trees along the shoreline. There is also a mosque on the Neretva with stunning views of the bridge and the city. You can climb the minaret for an aerial view unless the mosque is being used for prayer. The Mosque, called Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque, also suffered damage in the war but has been rebuilt. The minaret is not an easy thing to do with children in tow and it was closed when we visited.  So take that into consideration when stopping by.

View of the Neretva River at Koskin-Mehmed Pasha's Mosque

View of the Neretva River at Koskin-Mehmed
Pasha’s Mosque

View up the river

View up the river

View of the Stari Most

 

 

R in the old town of Mostar

R in the old town of MostarR, W, and D with the bridge in the backgroundR, W, and D with the bridge in the backgroundOld Town MostarOld Town Mostar

We wanted to sit along the river for lunch but were hard pressed to find a safe seat for our 18 month old so we settled on a ‘restoran’ off the main thoroughfare called Restoran Sadrvan where they dressed in traditional Bosnian garb and served giant platters of grilled meats and sausages. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and they had a baby seat! Score! The Convertible Mark is the currency of Bosnia-Herzegovina but they will take Euros and the Croatian Kuna. But check before you go, Croatia was slated to join the EU July 2013 so they should be on the Euro soon enough.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is still a great value since they have yet to join the EU. Most hotels and restaurants are moderately priced and the people are eager for the tourists to come. Unfortunately, the country still suffers from the effects of the Bosnian War. They haven’t rebuilt completely, there are still some buildings that bear the wounds of war and I felt a sadness in some of the Bosnians we met. But they are resilient. And they are excited for people to see their country and to show them the beautiful mosques, mountains and waterfalls.

On our day trip we only visited the town of Mostar. The rain followed us up the coast and the two-lane highway was slow at times. We also had a couple of border patrol check-ins that helped to slow us down. But, there are a couple of other places in Bosnia-Herzegovina to visit that are close by and could even be accomplished in one day.

Not far from Mostar (approximately 25 km.) is a Catholic pilgrimage in the town of Medjugorje. It is believed the Virgin Mary appeared and spoke to some teenagers in the village in 1981. For one of the children, now a grown adult, he claims he is still visited each day by the Virgin Mary. Medjugorje is not officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church as a miracle or a pilgrimage site, but that doesn’t stop people from making their way to the town for their own spiritual journey.

In the Herzegovina region are the Kravica Waterfalls fed by the Trebizat River. They are crystal clear and beautiful and a very well known swimming spot. You can grab a bite at the outdoor café or bring a picnic. If you want to make more than a day trip out of it there is a place to camp nearby. And in the town of Ljubuski you’ll find culture, museums, a monastery and a winery. Certainly enough to fill your agenda for a day trip! For more tourist attractions in Bosnia-Herzegovina visit the national website.

Once again, we only wished we had more time to explore. The beauty of travel, especially with your children, is inviting them to experience these beautiful places with you and seeing the world through their eyes. Our trip to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina certainly met and exceeded our expectations. Our 5 year old is still talking about it and has decided he would like to see Japan next. It really has widened his world-view. I can’t say enough about all the kind people we met along the way and the azure blue waters still appear in my dreams! If you are thinking of taking your family to experience these countries for yourself, I say go. I don’t see how you could be disappointed.

 

Photography: Going Old School

We are nearing the end of a two week beach trip, made possible by my parents who own a house at the beach, and it is amazing to see the transformation of my 5 year old, F, in the water over the last 11 days. He has gone from swimming pretty well to swimming really well, from not being able to go to the bottom to pick stuff up to being able to go all the way to the bottom of the deep end, from wanting to hold our hands when he jumps in to, well, this amazing cannonballing, belly flopping, jumping boy. It be stills my swimming heart.

So, in wanting to capture as much as I can for his dad to see (traveling without my husband for almost two weeks is a post on its own…I’m tired!) I have tried various ways to best capture this emerging fish of mine.

The DSLR of mine was never a choice. Too big, too clunky, too very easily dropped in the water and ruined forever. My iphone was a pretty good substitute – while the pictures aren’t as good the phone is protected from water splashes by my ever-so-big-but-I-love-it-anyways otter box – and I did manage to get what quickly became a series of photos for my instagram page of him jumping in the pool over and over.

Belly Flop!

Belly Flop!

But when I was watching him under water, and seeing his smile, and how happy he was, I really wanted to capture that. I went to the store and looked at all my options for underwater cameras, generally ranging from $99 to $400, and was tempted to go for a lower price model when I decided I would go retro instead and bought, wait for it, a disposable underwater camera. Yes, they still make them. I did have to double check that I could actually get film developed somewhere in town, but for $13 I couldn’t beat the price, even if it was more work than a fancy little camera.

We jumped in the pool while my 2 year old was napping, and we snapped away. He posed, he danced, he jumped, he asked if he could see the pictures and if I could delete some and had a very hard time understanding that this wasn’t a digital camera so no, he couldn’t see them and no, we couldn’t delete them, but in the end we took 27 pictures in about 6.5 minutes.

After dropping them off for 1 hour developing (yes, it still exists!) and returning to pick them up I was pleasantly surprised. They were better than I thought they would be, but not quite as good as I had hoped they would be. But, at the end of the day, F got to see what he looked like under water and I have some photos to take back of our amazing adventures at the beach. I have learned that sometimes thinking out of the box, or perhaps in the past, is a good way to create memories of traveling.

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This post is part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippycups and Walking On Travels

 

Instagram Thursday: Unfiltering The Cannonball

While we are beaching it up in Florida we are in the unique position to spend a lot of time in the pool. And a lot of time in the pool with three boys who love to swim and jump and splash means a lot of opportunity to get some pretty amazing pictures.

Unfortunately, along with the splashing comes water, and water isn’t very good for my ‘nice’ camera. So what can I do to take pictures that capture the essence of what this trip is all about (which has turned out to be swimming, swimming, jumping and more swimming)? Bring out my iphone, relatively safe in its clunky otterbox and snap away, post to instagram.

In other words? Unfiltered pictures of the cannonball. They may not be the highest quality, and I didn’t make them look pretty, but I did capture the joy, the fun, the memories, exactly as they were.

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This post is part of the new Instagram Travel Thursday linky, hosted by Skimbaco LifestyleDestination UnknownChild ModeHines Sight BlogLive.Do.Grow.House of AnaïsLuxury Travel Mom. Click on any of the above links to check them all out!