Balkans Day 10 - Sarajevo

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September 20th 2018
Published: September 20th 2018
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Today is going to be smelly. We have run out of clean clothes and yesterday’s car troubles put paid to our laundry plans. So we will be driving to Sarajevo with the windows open.

3 things I know about Sarajevo; (1) Franz Ferdinand was assassinated here, an event which sparked World War I, (2) during the Bosnian War the city was under siege for several years and (3) it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.

This morning entails another scenic mountain drive, much of it along the valley of the beautiful blue-green Neretva River. We stop in Jablanica, site of a WW2 battle where Tito’s Partisan forces took out a railway bridge to thwart the advancing Germans. The bridge still lies upended in the river as a monument to those who fought.

On the outskirts of Sarajevo we stop at the Tunnel Museum. During the Siege of Sarajevo, when the city was cut off from the rest of Bosnia, a tunnel was built under the airport to smuggle in supplies. Now it’s a tourist attraction and you can go into the tunnel to see how it operated. Rails were laid through the tunnel and then trollies, wheelchairs, stretchers etc were adapted to fit the rails.

First stop in Sarajevo is the Laundro Lounge. It’s run by the lovely Juliet who combines her passion for metalwork with a laundry service; so you can wash your clothes, browse her jewellery collection, or just have a chat and get some travel tips.

Once we have clean clothes we take a wander round Sarajevo. We walk through the aptly named Pigeon Square, along the riverside, stopping at the point where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. Here you can find a plaque and an illustration of the monument which once marked the spot. We return via the cathedral, art gallery and mosque. Sarajevo isn’t what I expected of a capital city. It’s somewhat down at heel with a rather war torn look. I’m surprised how many of the buildings are still peppered with bullet holes almost a quarter of a century later.

We round the evening off with beer and kebabs and retire pending a full tourist onslaught on Sarajevo in the morning.

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