Sarajevo killed my camera battery.
The second leg of our Bosnia tour, through the Vlasic Mountains and towards the capital city, gave way to some of the most awe-inspiring landscape I have ever scene – enough to make living alone on a mountain seem like a totally justified life choice. But just when you’re snuggling into the quiet solitude of mountain towns, along comes the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Since the War, Bosnia has worked hard to rebuild its infrastructure and reputation. Just decades ago, Sarajevo was the poster child of ethnic cleansing. Today the capital houses Muslim mosques, Jewish synagogues, Orthodox churches and Catholic cathedrals on neighboring streets. There is still visible destruction here but on the faces of buildings, not the people.
Like Dubrovnik and Mostar, Sarajevo has an Old City that houses artisan souvenir shops and small restaurants. Cafes are busy all day. Friends immerse themselves in their coffees and conversation, following careful cafe etiquette. One coffee takes one hour and one coffee is never enough.
Restaurants serve traditional Bosnian food. Lunch is cevapi with Bosnian pita bread and French fries.
French fries? French fries.
Cevapi is a small minced meat kebab. Put the Jimmy Dean aside and import these bad boys – Olympic sprinter Carl Johnson already does. The pita bread opens up to hold cevapi and the onions, sauces and fries that come with the meal. I really don’t know what the deal is with fries here but they show up in 3 out of 4 main courses we’re served this weekend. Tastes like freedom. Desserts are all very sweet and syrupy. Baklava heaven. Tastes like diabetes.
*Excuse the lack of visuals. Food kept disappearing.
If they’re not selling forged Edin Dzeko jerseys, artisans hammer out copper and silver into souvenir café sets, urns and jewelry. The banging attracts crowds who fill up bazaar alleyways, watching the pieces take shape. Metalworkers appreciate the crowd almost as much as the Marks in your pocket. I’ll bring home a bowl.
Old City wastes no time turning into new.
Wooden shop, wooden shop, mosque, shop, Nike outlet. Hold up…
But we were granted two beautiful travel days and the city was out to enjoy the sunshine. The morning tour was quiet but life sped up after lunch. Nothing’s so important that it has to be accomplished before noon. The streets and city bars are packed full during the day with all sorts of people, but we’re obviously still tourists as we point and shoot with our heads in the clouds.