Page 13 of CStephens Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East » Sarajevo July 7th 2014

I'm going to keep my description of today's events slightly more brief, for two reasons. One, not a ton happened, and two, I want to discuss the economy and housing briefly. First, today's events. We went over to AUBiH (American Univ. in Bosnia and Herzegovina), where we had the opportunity to speak with Bogić Bogićević, also known as "Mr. No." As the Yugoslav crisis escalated in the early 90s, and republics and citizens were nearing independence declarations, the State Council of Yugoslavia, which acted as Head of State for the country, held a meeting. The purpose, unknown at the start to most of the members of the Council, was to vote on declaring Martial Law, to allow the army to quell the uprisings. They needed a majority vote of the 8 members to enact it, but ... read more
Jewish Community Center Windows
Jewish Community Center Ceiling
Jewish Community Center

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East » Rogatica July 6th 2014

Note: Rogatica is simply the closest city I could choose to were we actually were. Srebrenica is approximately 3 hours ENE of Sarajevo, or 1.5 hours NE of Rogatica. There are so many things I have to say about today, and so few ways to say them. We visited the memorial to the Srebrenica Massacre, which is one of the emotionally heaviest sites I've ever visited, barring perhaps the Boston Bombing Memorial (likely because that was my city). It didn't help that our leader for the day was a woman who lost her father, grandfather, and much of her extended family in it. The power and extent of the massacre and memorial are hard to get across in words, so refer to the pictures for more context, but I'll try. For a bit of backstory: Srebrenica ... read more
Prayer for Srebrenica
Planning Boards
Planning Boards

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East » Sarajevo July 5th 2014

If you've never studied The Balkan Wars, don't. I've studied my fair share of wars, and the stuff that these people went through is some of the worst. Tomorrow we visit Srebrenica, the site of a massacre/genocide. Today we visited The Tunnel of Life, which was an 800 meter tunnel dug under the airport. It served as the only lifeline for the entire city of Sarajevo for the more than 3 years it was under siege. It was 1.6 meters high and about 1 wide...see the picture of me squatting in it for better reference. And remember, this is how they got all their supplies: military, food, etc. All through this little tunnel. After that light and easy morning, we paid a visit to the Bosnian Springs. These actually were really cool. It's a system of ... read more
Height Comparison - David (6'0)
Height Comparison - Me (6'4)
House at Exit

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East » Sarajevo July 4th 2014

July 4th. American Independence Day. Also known as: The Day the Bosnians Couldn't Care Less About or The Day Chris, Dave, Ian, Hana, Nick, and Karis Had the Coolest Server Ever. We went to a Jazz Bar called Monument (apparently in the "posh" area of town. If a 4KM bottle of beer is posh, I'm moving to Sarajevo). Our server not only spoke English, but spoke it well and had been to the States. He taught us new drink names (like a Tom Collins...apparently called a Gimeš here), and we in turn taught him new drinks (a Jägerbomb is apparently very American. I shouldn't be surprised). We talked with him, watched the soccer (sorry, football) game, ate Burek (remember that food I didn't know the name of the first day? That's it!), and just bonded with ... read more
Tom Collins for the World Cup
Sarajevo at Night

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East July 3rd 2014

Things to know about Sarajevo: this is not Boston. First, Boston has good drivers. Laugh if you will, but this is ridiculous. As any of my friends know, I have no fear of jaywalking in Boston. I will not do it here. By my professor's words, "the drivers don't have the same regard for human life as we do." There's also, apart from the main streets, no sidewalks wider than perhaps 2 or 3 feet. A bazaar around the corner sells hundreds of knock-offs of Michael Kors, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Mosques litter the city, a synagogue is around the corner, and at one point a block from our hotel you can stand between the architectural remnants of 2 empires, centuries apart. Also, their gelato puts literally everything in the US to shame, both in terms ... read more
On Top of the World
Bakery Bread

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East » Sarajevo July 2nd 2014

There's nothing quite like your first morning waking up in a new place. Particularly when you only got 8 hours of sleep after 2 almost-sleepless days, and, according to your body, it's approximately 4:00 am. Although the realization that breakfast is almost over does wake you up quite quickly when your stomach is grumbling. We went from breakfast on a walking tour of Sarajevo. While we certainly didn't hit all the city - I went further on my own the day before - it was interesting to get a local's perspective. Mo, our guide, was quite knowledgeable and enjoyed telling his jokes...which were that much better with his broken English. There are so many things about this city, like any, that you simply wouldn't know (or at least understand the gravity of) without a guide. For ... read more
The Car that Started WWI
The Start of WWI
Sarajevo Skyline

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East » Sarajevo July 1st 2014

Today was quite a busy day. After landing in Sarajevo around noon local time, we all hopped on a bus and headed to Hotel Sokak, our home for the next two weeks. I'm rooming with Zach, who is a student who took this trip last year and is coming again as an assistant. The rooms are moderate; I was lucky enough to land one that has two twin beds. Several kids on this trip are sharing a king with another (no worries to all you parents...genders are split by room!). Between the 7 hour flight to Munich, the hour layover, the hour and a half flight to Sarajevo, and the half hour bus ride, there was plenty of time for bonding. I know at least know the names of pretty much everyone on this trip. Some ... read more
Sarajevo Hills
White Fortress
Sarajevo Hills

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Boston June 30th 2014

After a day full of (stressful) packing, due to my somewhat excessive procrastination - maybe, in retrospect, starting the night before wasn't my best idea - I made it to the airport just before 5 to meet up with my fellow Dialoguers! While I only had met two of them ahead of time, this kind of experience pushes people together very well and I met a whole range of students going to Bosnia. Most are female, and there's a definite skew towards International Affairs or PolySci majors (unsurprising given the political nature of this trip), with a surprising plethora of first-years. After grabbing a snack, we headed over to the boarding area, where I met a few more who caught up with the group at the gate. I'm now posting this from onboard my Lufthansa flight, ... read more

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