• Diary of a train journey…

    The following is pretty much word for word a transcript of jottings down I made on my train journey from Sarajevo to Mostar, a journey of just about two and a half hours. I’ve just added the bits before and after the actual journey. Not entirely sure why I decided to make lots of jottings, but given that I did I might as well use them for something…

    Having left the hostel at 06:00 and deciding I would walk to the station I have now successfully arrived and brought my ticket. The general consensus at the hostel was that the train left at 7 but could get very busy so best to arrive early as it only has 3 coaches. Still feel like I’ve missed out on about 10 minutes sleep. Certainly doesn’t seem to be anyone here…

    The guy in the ticket window told me platform 2. This station doesn’t seem to have English style platforms – so I’ve walked past what I thought would be platform 2, to where the sign is insisting it is. Having emerged onto the platform there doesn’t seem to be any indication of what side I want. But there is at least a train here so I’ve got on that. Ok it only has 2 coaches, but its close enough. I think one of them says Mostar?

    Bosnian locomotive with person looking at it

    I don’t think this is the train driver….

    Have settled into a compartment and managed to jam the window open to try to rid it of the smell of stale smoke. Should also help me take photos later. The scenery is supposed to be quite good. There is a plaque on the carriage stating it was donated by the Swedish railways to the Bosnians. I think it must be from the 1960’s and doesn’t appear to have been cleaned much since then. This strikes me of the kinda of “donation” you get at harvest festival (does that still exist?!) where people donate tinned food where they’ve lost the label…

    Sign in Swedish

    Sweden hasn’t just given the world ABBA. It’s also given Bosnia crap trains

    Er we’ve started moving… 06:53 is close enough to 7 right?!

    Two Bosnians have joined me in my compartment. They appear to be eyeing up the open window in a disapproving manner….

    Ok, for peace of mind I need to find the conductor to check I’m on the right train even if it means I risk relinquishing control of the window.

    Success! I’m on the right train and I’ve returned to find that the Bosnians have left the window alone!

    The Bosnians are looking increasingly unhappy at the window situation. I roll up my sleeves to try to make it look warmer than it is, and that I need the breeze.

    I don’t understand Bosnian but I’m now sure the Bosnians are openly discussing closing my window.

    The window is shut. 🙁

    One of the Bosnians has decided to celebrate his window victory my lighting a cigarette in the now draftless, closed off compartment. I believe the young people say “FML”.

    The scenery outside is spectacular as we snake across the edge of mountains and cliffs, occasionally diving over viaducts to bridge the gaps between them. Shame I can’t take a picture due to 40 years of tar and smoke making the window as about as transparent as a brick.

    Distorted image of scenary

    This photo hasn’t worked out very well. I wonder why?

    We are now going over a viaduct at walking pace. I think I remember enough about my time on the railway to know that this means an engineer thinks it’s very much just about to fall down…

    I think the Bosnian is actually chain-smoking just to spite me.

    We appear to be in the worlds longest tunnel, although as we are barely moving it could just be that we are going through a short tunnel in the longest possible time.

    I’m starting to wonder if it’s actually an unexpected eclipse of the sun or something?


    The views have just gone insane, 100’s of feet up, leaping between cliff edges, with a river running below. This knocks the socks off Fort William to Malaig or the Settle and Carlisle line.

    River in foreground, hill reflected in water

    This is a good journey to just stare and watch the world go by…

    I have taken the fact the Bosnian has sparked up yet again as an opportunity to open up the window and get some air.

    Perhaps offended by my obsession with the window, perhaps its just his stop, but the chain-smoking Bosnian has left. His colleague is now sleeping.

    Let sleeping Bosnians lie

    Let sleeping Bosnians lie

    Were going quickly now. (well everything is relative) the scenery is less spectacular but I can now take better pictures.

    The train is starting to get busier, although the draft from the window has made the Bosnian man sleep across the compartment entrance, neatly blocking it off from more passengers from joining the compartment and complaining about the draft.

    The guard has made the sleeping man move his feet, students have entered. I breathe a sigh of relief that none of them appears to be smoking. Then they begin to eye up the open window…

    They have closed the window.

    I think to myself how impressive the scenery is again outside, (we have entered a national park) and how much easier it would be to describe with a photograph…

    With the compartment now full and the heaters permanently jammed on and with no more breeze from the window it really is getting quite hot in here. Still we are no longer far from out destination

    We have arrived in Mostar. I ignore the man asking me if I need a place to stay – my hostel in Sarajevo has already arranged that for me, a guy from a hostel in Mostar will be meeting me.

    There is definitely no man from a hostel here….

    Mostar Station

    None of these people were expecting me…

    Starting to wish I had noted down the name of the hostel, or maybe its location on a map…

    I’d finally made up my mind to just wander into town when I heard an excited voice from a bicycle riding towards me randomly shout out “Dan” to anyone with a backpack. I’ve caught his attention, I think my journey to Mostar is now over…

    Stari Most

    Can’t mention Mostar without showing off a photo of the bridge again…


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