Bosnia & Hercegovina (BiH): Sarajevo, Mostar . 18.08.2009
Bosnia & Hercegovina (BiH)
We arrived BiH on narrow winding mountain roads from Montenegro through spectacular Tara Canyon, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and after 10 hours on a shitty bus, Sarajevo was finally in sight.
At first Sarajevo seemed like a typical east European poor town, but it turned out to be quite different!
Central Sarajevo is situated around the historic Bascarsija, the Turkish quarter. A delightful center with marble lanes and open courtyards full of restaurants, cafes, souvenirs & jewelery shops, mosques and copper workshops. And of course, plenty of tourists…
As it was Sarajevo film festival this week (did we know?? no…)it was hard to get accommodation, but luckily, the Sarajevans are helpful people, and someone might know someone… We ended up renting a quite big private apartment at the end of the Turkish quarter, cheap and central..niice.
After enjoying a delicious meal with local specialties like burek and cevapi, it was time to explore the narrow streets with all its hidden wonders…special shops and interesting buildings everywhere!
We went inside one of the copper workshops and got to see how they work and perform this traditional type of artwork. And of course we bought a souvenir;) The small shop was run by a young woman and her father. Really nice people who showed us how they worked and gave us a lot of information.
Sarajevo was the Olympic city in 1984, and you can still see signs of it. In spite of mines & war ruins its supposed to be a very good ski destination during the winter.
During the 1990s conflict, more than 10 000 Sarajevans was killed, and many of them are buried at one of the white-stone cemeteries in town, sad stuff…We vent for a look, and left with a bad taste in our mouth… It s hard to think of, that only a decade ago,people was shooting each other at this very place..
Its difficult to describe the reasons for the war. The Balkans has a dramatic history going back hundreds of years, But to say it short; the break up of Yogulsavia, where all the countries wanted to be independent led to a devastating war between the neighboring countries and lasted most of the nintees, killing thousands of people and destroyed many cities and villages….
After a couple of days in Sarajevo it was time to move on to Mostar. The most war-destroyed town i BiH.
The 3 hour train ride was amazing, going alongside fish farms in the Neretva River, small villages and 65 tunnels!
Mostar was a beautiful city, despite all the ruins. The old town and the famous Stare Most bridge has been built up after the war, just like it used to be for hundreds of years..
The Neretva River runs straight trough the old town, and on both sides there where plenty of cosy restaurants and small shops with souvenirs, art and war memories. And if you
e lucky you might see a guy or two jump from the Stare Most river and into the ice cold Neretva river.. But remember, they wont jump before they have collected enough money… We waited for ages and finally one crazy guy jumped!!!
In Mostar we stayed in the home of a girl and her mother that met the train at the station. (Hostel Nina) Their family actually lived in Norway as refugees during the war. After the war, they returned home to a find a city where everything was ruined or gone.. Luckily everything is going the right way now, and their hostel is nice, clean and cheap!
Our time in this wonderful country came to an end, but we most say that Bosnians are really nice people, the food & coffee is great, and the country itself is beautiful!
From Mostar we jumped on a bus going to Croatia and Split, which will be our next blog.
Our travel route in the Western Balkan: