Photo Essay – Sarajevo

This is another in the series of photo essays. This features the city of Sarajevo. I loved my time in the city. It was the favourite stop in my Balkans trip last year. As a city, I feel that Sarajevo is up and coming and that more people should visit. I hope you enjoy the photos.

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

Steve

 

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Day 13, 20 September – The Longest Day

Waking up at 5am while holiday seems a hardship but it was necessary as my coach to Belgrade leaves an hour later. Back in the UK I am used to coach drivers wearing uniforms. The drivers on this coach looked like they had come from the film Taken.

I used the journey to catch up on some sleep. It was not spectacular, the highlight being the border crossing from Bosnia into Serbia. These were the first stamps in my current passport.

Stamp Collecting

I arrived into Belgrade around lunchtime and I had no Serbian money and I could find a ATM. So I was going to have to find my way to the hostel by foot. Despite turning down the offer of a taxi, the driver was kind enough to point me in the right direction. The day was hot and I felt it while struggling with my backpack. Eventually I arrived at the hostel. I slept some more. It was a good opportunity as it was quiet.

When I awoke there was more life around. After doing some laundry and a shower I was feeling hungry. Fortunately others in the hostel were feeling the same. The hostel recommended a restaurant which was over the road. Serving typical Serbian fare I was sorted. However, they struggled to cope with the vegan in the group. She was happy to accept stuffed mushrooms. It is the tradition in Serbia to finish your meal off with a shot of Rakia. Expecting a small shot I was handed what looked like a small test tube with wings. I embarrassed myself by not being able to down it in one. It was only later that I was told I was drinking it correctly.

After the meal we headed over the road to a typical Belgrade bar which we were told to check out. This was very much a local hangout. It was lively as well as packed out. There was a great atmosphere with a band playing traditional folk songs. Everybody was getting ready for the night out. For me, the day had caught up with me. I needed my bed. (Must be my age.)

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

Steve

 

Day 12, 19 September – Oh, I’m Half Way There

I did not feel like getting out of bed today. It had been a good night, perhaps too good as I was feeling slightly fuzzy. When I managed to drag myself away from the bed I realised that I had missed breakfast. So I was going to have to venture outside into the old city. After much walking I found a restaurant. I ended up ordering a soup/stew concoction which for the like of me cannot remember the name. However, it filled the gap in my tummy.

Yummy

The weather was not looking too good and soon it started to rain hard. I decided it was best to make my way back to the hostel. The street vendors in Sarajevo were doing a roaring trade in umbrellas. When the rain stopped out came the fake sunglasses. Enterprising lot the people of Sarajevo.

The rest of the day was spent dodging the showers. I met up with Andrew who I had met in Mostar. We shared a Bosnian coffee while we discussed future travel plans. Sarajevo marked the half way point of my trip. Tomorrow I would be leaving for Belgrade. As I purchased my coach ticket I noticed the coach would be leaving a 6am. An early start, it is going to be a long day.

I am sad to be leaving Bosnia Herzegovina. It has a lot going for it. Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Photo Essay – Graffiti Art, Sniper Building, Mostar

This post replaces the normal photo of the week. This week I am posting a photo essay of the graffiti from the sniper building in Mostar. Once the war finished the building was left abandoned to rot. It became home to alocoholics and drug users. Also graffiti artists started to the walls as their canvas. Here are some of the results of their efforts.

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

Steve

 

Day 11, 18 September – Everything Comes Together

This morning the weather looked more promising, time to explore Sarajevo properly. After a good breakfast in the hostel I made my way towards the historic centre.

My first stop was the Gallery 11/07/95. It is dedicated to Sebrenica massacre. I found this to me moving. The gallery tells the story of the events leading up to the massacre and why it happened. Watching the film I ended up feeling ashamed that the Western powers did not do more to stop this. It was clear what the Serbs wanted to do. Mladic even said that the Muslims were going to pay. The most heartbeaking moment was the scene where a woman was told that they were 99.994% sure they had found her husband's remains. A Japanese girl who was also watching just broke down in tears.

Moving on to the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque I needed to reflect on what I had seen. I could do with cheering up. At this point I bumped into Timo and Ahmed who I had met in Mostar. Ahmed is a bit of a legend as he had jumped the bridge in Mostar. He mentioned that others from the hostel had made their way to Sarajevo. Feeling somewhat better I decided to explore the city further by walking round in a circuit. I was not paying too much attention on where I was going. I was just happy to be ambling around.

Yesterday the bad weather had prevented me from joining the free walking tour. As the weather was better I thought I'd best check it out. As usual I was there too early but I did not mind. While waiting I saw a couple of familar looking figures. It was the German couple from Mostar. They introduced me to Ryan from Northern Ireland. While waiting more familar faces appeared. These were the girls from Ireland. We caught up with each other while we were on the tour. One of the girls had received some good about passing her law exams. So a night out was agreed.

Back at the hostel I bumped into another person I met in Mostar. She was from Korea. Today was getting better. While waiting to leave the hostel we starting talking to a couple of guys from France. We were getting on well and they started to share the red wine with us. It went down well so we asked them to join us on the night out and they accepted.

We all met up at the girl's hostel. It had a bar which we could use. Sadly, it had ran out of beer so we ended up drinking white wine and rakia. I am sure that this is not going to do me any good at all.

We made our way to the Hacienda Bar where we met up with Timo and Ahmed. It was too crowded so we went to the Blues Bar. This was more like it. Live music and a great atmosphere, what more could a man ask for in life? Drank too much and after a bite to eat staggered back to the hostel.

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

Steve

 

Statistic – December 2013

These are the latest stats for December:

Posts – 15

Views – 1513 (a record high)

Comments – 13

The blog was busy last month, as it always feels at the end of the year. As far as travel plans for January it will be quiet. I have to pay for Christmas and dental work. (Ouch!) This does not mean I cannot plan for 2014 and I will be announcing my travel plans for 2014 shortly.

Until the next post have a safe, healthy and smiling 2014.

Steve

 

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.