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Published: September 17th 2009
Belgrade to Sarajevo
En route to Sarajevo
Friday July 3rd- We took an 8 hour (airconditioned...yes!) bus to Sarajevo, Bosnia from Beograd, Serbia. Tages and I were overwhelmed at how beautiful Bosnia was. We didnt know much about Bosnia and didn't know what to expect because it is not in the one large guide book we decided to bring. I felt like my breath was taken away when seeing Bosnia out of the bus window. The landscape slowly started to change from flat fields to green forests, valleys and cliffs. The sights were incredible. The mountains, winding rivers, and small mountain roads were gorgeous.
We arrived at a bus station mid-afternoon that was far outside of the city so we broke down and paid for a taxi. This is only the second taxi we have had to take on the trip, not too bad! The driver got lost trying to find our hostel so we had him call our hostel and they were kind enough to drive to where we were. We waited on a windy small road when putt-putting along comes a little old 1950s french Renault car to pick us up. The driver was a man in his 70s who we found out later was the
overlooking the city from the bus
father in the Sartour family who ran the hostel we were staying in. We had found this hostel online and as we had started to realize in Serbia...sometimes in the former Yugoslavia the cheapest hostels are not exactly a traditional hostel but someone's house. In the case of the Sartour Hostel, this was true. Our room was still being renovated, no doors or windows but it was good enough for us and fairly cheap, too. The Sartour family (a father and two older sons) who ran the accommodation lived in the house, too. We really loved their dad so much. He didn't speak much English but he would always say to us 'LET'S GO' and 'I LOVE AMERICA' and 'BRAVO'. And he would always offer us fresh fruit from their amazing garden.
We spent our days wandering around this absolutely amazing city. This is the first city I have ever been in where I could hear the Muslim call to prayer all over the city. There was a mosque spire outside of our window so we could hear the loud speaker very close. It was so interesting! The city is in a valley in between mountains and was cool and
rainy for the most part. Our room didn't have windows, just plastic covering over the holes so it made the thunderstorms even cooler!
On Monday, we took a guided driving/walking tour led by one of the Sartour sons. The tour was very interesting and we learned alot about the Bosnian War and Seige of Sarajevo. The Siege of Sarajevo is the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. Serb forces of the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska and the Yugoslav People's Army (later to become the Army of Serbia and Montenegro) besieged Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from April 5, 1992 to February 29, 1996 during the Bosnian War. Our tourguide was in highschool at the time and told us all about life during the siege. He said during a war, you really can see the good in people. He said they received food rations from the UN and people would give up their rations to their neighbours who had a new baby or maybe someone who had just lost a relative.
If there is one city on our trip so far that I could go back to and spend more time it would
be Sarajevo. Sarajevo was not only beautiful in so many ways but also has such interesting history recent and older. Luckily, I drank the water out of the old Sibilj in the Bascarija section and they say that if you drink the water you will fall in love with Sarajevo and most definitely return. I will.
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