Sarajevo, Bosnia

Hi all,

Well this is probably my last blog before I come home. I apologise for the somewhat poor effort recently but i was half way through doing one in Montenegro and the time ran out.

Basically the last few days have seen us travel from Budva in Montenegro up through into croatia, changing our plans slightly and passing through dubrovnik to get ourselves up to Split from where we caught a ferry to Hvar and spent a couple of nights. Hvar was beautiful and i tried in a last ditch effort sort my tan out. The only problem with Hvar was that it was very expensive, the monte carlo of croatia, lots of fancy yachts and people with far too much money than sense. Apparently bill gates was there the week before. Oh, and the hostel was run by some right totalitarians: Granny Tito, Senior Tito and Junior Tito.

From Hvar we got the late ferry back over to Split and from there caught the overnight bus to Sarajevo which is where I am now. We got into Sarajevo around 5:45am after a very rough night on the bus. We hung around the bus station till it got light and then went to our hostel. I shant give a minute by minute account of our time here but I’ll try to convey what sarajevo is like.

For a start its a lot cheaper than Croatia, which is nice, it means that after a week of eating in I can be lazy and be cooked for again. The city itself has been rebuilt a great deal, except many tell tale scars are still apparent. There are bullet holes in walls, great chunks taken out of buildings by shell blasts and mortar fire, there are huge cracks in the pavement where shells have exploded on teh ground, the parliament building is just a huge concrete skeleton of its former self – i though it was orginally a multi storey car park but have since seen pictures of before it was burnt out. The people here are very friendly, except for teh people who try and sell you after shave – interesting sales technique of tripping you up and then shoving boxes of aftershave in your face as your turn round to see which prick has cropping you up. Its happened to us at least twice, i got pretty mouthy with one guy, which is unlike me, but then it was the morning and I hadnt had any coffee yet.

We did a tour today and the main feature was the museaum of the tunnel that the bosnian army dug under the UN controlled airport to get to unoccupied Bosnia. The facts and details about the conflict are incredible, I’m gripped by peoples storys and what they have to say – i feel gulty almost for not knowing enough about a confluct which occured in my life time. Its quite different now, Muslims, Catholics and eastern orthodox all live side by side working with eachother. Less than 10 years ago the bosnian serbs, the bosnian croats and the bosniaks [muslim bosnians] were all at eachothers throats killing and shooting in a city under siege.

I’ve seen the holiday inn hotel where all the journos stayed during the conflict and the communications tower that they had to get to to transmit their storeys. I’ve seen the rat race they had to run in sniper alley, and footage of people walking through the same streets as me but with a rocket launcher over their shoulder or an AK47 in their hands.

Our plans are pretty tight from now on. We leave Sarajevo tommorrow at 6:30am for Zagreb, as the direct bus to slovenia doesnt run tommorrow. We get in mid afternoon and from there we hope to catch a train to Ljubljanna and stay a night and then off we pop the following afternoon to fly home to joly britain. I’ve heard the weather has been kind to you guys. I hope i dont bring the bosnian cold with me.

See you all soon

Andy

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