30 May 2016

Holiday time!

Ahoy hoy. You know when everything just seems to get a bit too much - you need a break - you need to relax - you need some sun. Well that's how I've been feeling, so me and the lovely wife booked a last minute holiday and jetted off to Croatia.

Croatia is a really beautiful country, it's full of huge mountains and lush green countryside, as well as crystal clear sea water. We went on an all inclusive deal so it meant we really could just relax and not worry about anything, and eating our evening meals on a balcony with views like this and dolphins swimming past certainly helped.

But hang on, this isn't anything to do with craft or crochet? You can't just come here showing off your holiday pics! Don't worry, we'll get to it!

So, whilst on holiday, we also went on a day trip over to Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically to the city of Mostar.

The Stari Most bridge is the main pull to this area that is a real tourist hotspot. I'm not gonna pretend to be fully versed on all the history (as it's pretty complex), but basically the bridge dated back to the Ottoman empire, but was destroyed during the war in 1993. It was rebuilt in 2004 using many of the techniques used in the original construction.

Although the bridge was rebuilt there are visible reminders of the war everywhere. As soon as you start walking around the city you notice that there are bullet holes everywhere.

Obviously I found the history fascinating, but another reason I was interested to see Mostar is because it's a real mix of cultures, with a rich mix of Christian and Muslim people and architecture, but also with heavy Turkish (from the Ottoman Empire) and Mediterranean influences.

The tour guide took us around to a few tourist sites, like into a mosque that was clearly not used by practicing Muslims anymore but purely for tourists to take pictures in - it had nice carpets though.

We were also taken into a 'traditional Turkish home' - another tourist trap, but I did spot this ancient wool winder next to a rather decrepit looking 'machine for making carpets' - that's a loom to you and me! It had a carpet thrown over it and I could see it wasn't set up underneath, but I did find this other little loom tucked away in a corner.

Anyway, (you can see the craft coming in now can't you), finally we were able to ditch the tour guide and explore perhaps one of the biggest reasons for visiting Mostar - the bazaar! The lovely wife was getting a bit too hot, so we stopped in at a bar so we could get some shade and I could have a massive beer, and then, on with the shopping!

The bazaar was quite intriguing, there was a lot of tourist tat, and lots of the stalls/shops had exactly the same tat, so it all started to blur into one. What was really odd was that it wasn't somewhere where you needed to haggle (everything was dirt cheap anyway), but there was a bit of pressure. If you even stopped to look at something someone was standing there next to you trying to show you more within a second. We didn't let this stop us though and pushed on through.

I spotted one stall in particular that sold loads of crochet items and instantly thought of all you lovely followers.

Most of it was very delicate work done with cotton. There was a crudely written sign saying 'hand made in Mostar', which for some reason I did think believable, but who knows. It was the only stall selling anything like it so I would like to think it was genuine.

There was some other crochet I saw, but couldn't really photograph. On the walk into the city we walked past the odd lady that was selling crocheted tablecloths. It wasn't like they had a stall, this was a side of the road job. It looked like well done filet crochet, and I wondered to myself if they had personally made it themselves - the cynic in me doubts it.

Anyway, like I say there was loads of stuff to keep me busy in the bazaar. It was difficult to tell what was genuinely made in the area and what was reproductions, but the one thing I did notice was the odd wall that had rugs thrown over it, with no prices. Something made me suspect that maybe these were more legit, but I couldn't tell - either way they're pretty.

I was getting a bit confused with money and the exchange rate, but everything was so cheap that it wasn't too much of a big deal. I got a couple of scarfs/pashmina's, a bowl, a hat and some earings for the lovely wife...and still I don't think it came to any more than £15!

So there you go, we got to the craft stuff eventually. We had a really nice holiday, I drank lots of beer and ate far too much food, and I even swam in the sea (something of a rarity for me). Back to normality for now though, until next time.....

....peace out y'all!

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