The Balkans can be a pretty feisty place. It’s pretty well documented that I’m a complete Slavophile, and most things former-Yugoslav make me a little giddy. The passion for things in particular is one of my favourite things, as when these people care about something, they really CARE about it. However, this can often spill over into silly territory, becoming a bit mindless at times, especially when sport is involved. As I’ve said before, Mostar is a divided city, with a majority of Croats living on the one side. As with the Albanians of Kosovo, it is often said that the Croats of Hercegovina are more nationalist than the Croats of Croatia. So after a battling defeat to Spain meant that Croatia were knocked out of the European Championships, it was never going to be taken too well. Having a square dedicated to Spanish soldiers was also not going to help. Unbeknown to me at the time (I walk home this sort of route after work), there were small scale riots in Spanish Square that night, with some damage being caused and people generally acting rather unruly. So how does one react to this act of mindless thuggery?
Yes, that’s right. Chocolate. In response to the football related stupidity, a local chap took to Facebook and organised a Chocolate Riot. The location would be the same (Spanish Square), only instead of anger this would all be about interacting and a great exchange of chocolate. The premise, simple. Go to Spanish Square at 7pm, armed with a bar of chocolate, and exchange pieces of said chocolate with complete strangers. Brilliant. I was absolutely amazed at the amount of people that came out for this, and the square was full. There was a small police presence, but I don’t think I’ve ever been at an event that required police less. Even they ended up getting in on the chocolate act. Everyone was smiling, despite the sugar overload and general sick feeling in everyones stomach from too much chocolate. As I predicted, it did kinda end up being a case of ‘boys giving and taking chocolate from pretty girls’, (and this being the Balkans, there are oh so many), but the feeling and atmosphere was actually really invigorating. Good work Mostar.
Then we went bowling and I got very drunk. The end.