After our lunch and my dessert of cantaloupe gelato, we headed back to the bus to travel to the Blagaj Tekke, or the Dervish Monastery near Mostar. This was an Islamic Sufi monastery built first before 1664 and rebuilt in 1851.
We bused through the winefields of Mostar and over a river (this time its appearance matched its temperature), until we stopped and arrived under a huge shelf of rock.
Through a few buildings and across a bridge…
…was nestled the monastery.
From most angles, the water was turquoise again, but it mattered very much where the light was an where you were standing.
Kayakers littered the river, making the most beautiful pictures but not winning us over for their offers of a ride. I usually vehemently oppose paying for watersports or activities that include boats because my grandparents have a lakehouse and I am thoroughly blessed to have access to those things already. Unless they offer an experience that I cannot get or recreate back in North Carolina, I don’t pay the money.
Once over the river, we entered the complex, which includes the guesthouses and the monastery itself.
With the most beautiful views.
This summer, before I signed for this program, I was going to spend a month as a monk in Nepal or Tibet, teaching other monks English. I still dream of doing that one day, because there is no place like a quiet monastery by a beautiful river to sit and think, to write and dream.
The monastery has a set of stairs leading directly to the water (as you can see above, the water looks aquamarine sometimes, and I swear I didn’t increase the saturation that much on the picture- it’s naturally like that).
And the water is frigid, so much so that it took great coordination to get these next pictures, with breaks in between. If you’ve ever been to Sliding Rock in the mountains of North Carolina, think that cold- perhaps colder (it’s been a while since my family visited).
To go into the monastery itself, you have to put a scarf over your head and a cloth around your legs, if they’re showing too much (and clearly, you can see from my outfit, mine were).
Once inside, though, it’s peaceful and quiet and so, so light. The next picture is so dark because the natural light from the outside was so bright.
I’m not religious but I believe in the world and sometimes I think that’s religion enough, and I’d build my own monastery like this to think about it in a heartbeat.
I ran into Frank being artsy (more like waddled, because of my skirt) in an attempt to get a good shot of the carved-wood ceiling.
Before heading back outside to document the life span of a pansy and a waterfall.
They have water fountains that we took advantage of:
After which we had photo ops and tea (or coffee or beer) on the edge of the river down from the monastery itself.
Tomorrow I’ll take you through the cave and home.