Day 10, 17 September – Oh Rainy Day to Up the Saddlers

I was feeling somewhat melancholic this morning as I was about to leave for Sarajevo. One of the main attractions of the Hostel Madjas was the tour around Mostar and the surrounding countryside. Today the majority of the hostel were going on the tour. My stay coincided with the days the tour was not running. I felt that I was missing out. Before I left I had a bit of a panic. Where did I put my iPod? I searched frantically. What was I was going to listen to for the rest of my trip? For what seemed like the fifth time I searched by backpack. Lo and behold the iPod turned up, panic over.

As I made my towards Mostar bus station I noticed that the weather felt colder and the skies were darker. It matched my mood. The journey into Sarajevo went smoothly enough. Travelling across Bosnia is a cheap option. It is also quicker than the train with more services. Also I had another chance to view the beautiful countryside. When the budget airlines start serving Bosnia Herzegovina it will really take off as a tourist destination.

I arrived into Sarajevo just after lunchtime. Now all I need to do is find my hostel. With the best will in the world the instructions to find the hostel can take some working out. The tram was simple enough but navigating the streets to find the hostel took some doing. I was tired, in a bad mood and now it was starting to rain. Could the day get any worse? After about 30 minutes of aimless wandering I found myself on the right street. Soon I was at the Hostel City Center. The first thing I noticed was that I would have to climb several flights of stairs. Once at the entrance I had to remove my shoes. That was no hardship. I checked in but not in the room I had originally booked. I did get some money back. While I was chilling in the lounge area the heavens opened up. When it rains in the Balkans it really rains. This will occupy me for the next couple of hours.

Eventually the rain did stop so I decided to venture outside. It felt cold but I was happy just to get out and see Sarajevo. The old city centre has a beauty to it. I heard the call to prayer. It was the first time that I realised I was in a prodominantly Muslim country. This was also an opportunity to get my bearings. I had a further two days to explore the city in more depth.

Back at the hostel I started talking to Tom. He was from Scotland and was spending the week in Sarajevo. We were getting on rather well. Tom suggested that we go into the old town for something to eat and I agreed.

Like the majority of cities there are people who will try and entice you to eat in their restaurant. Tom however, had his own recommendation. I enjoyed the veal kebabs washed down with a beer. While inside we noticed the Champions League featuring Manchester United was showing on the TV. This was a good way to spend the evening. It reminded me that my beloved Walsall was playing a big match tonight. Away to to local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves). I followed the match on my phone. When the final whistle blew Walsall had won 1-0. I could not stop myself letting out a shout of joy. The day which started out with me feeling fed up left me feeling elated.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling. Up the Saddlers.




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