Some photos from our four nights in Sarajevo last month. I flew to Belgrade to meet up with Matt, who had already been there two weeks attending the Guča Trumpet Festival and exploring Kosovo and Macedonia. He may or may not post a little about that here, too.
The very next morning we jumped on a bus to Sarajevo, and took a loooong bus ride that had only one (one!) toilet stop and a bit of drama at the border when a woman seemingly lost her ID card. Once we were over the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina the scenery was beautiful, so lush, so green! We had only two full days here because of a side trip to Mostar, and they were spent in a bit of a daze from all those buses, but we liked Sarajevo just the same.
We were in town at the same time as the Sarajevo Film Festival and managed to see an outdoor movie on our final night there. My annoyance at having to use a separate, back entrance to all the ‘VIPs’ and having our (empty) water bottles confiscated at the gate was tempered somewhat by the event being sponsored by coca-cola, who provided free cokes and popcorn. I’m easily bought. We saw Wild Tales, a freaky little oddity of a movie involving six different stories of revenge.
Signs of the 1992-96 Siege of Sarajevo are still present, in bullet holes in buildings and whole buildings that are just shells. We saw one of the ‘Sarajevo roses’ – plastic resin was poured into scars in the pavement caused by mortar shells. As the concrete is replaced the roses are disappearing, the one we saw (picture below) was in its own little square of original concrete, surrounded by newer pavement.
A few other quick notes about Sarajevo:
The many tourist maps available are all a bit shit. The one available from the tourist office is among the worst. The compact little streets of the old town receive particularly little care, it is so small the streets usually aren’t named on maps, nor on addresses when looking up restaurants, etc, online. We were working from three different maps until we finally found the one map to rule them all.
There are no smoking bans, meaning people smoke in restaurants, on trains, etc – though not as many as you would expect, especially in tourist areas. Most of tourists have been conditioned to not smoke inside, I guess.
Taxis are super cheap in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so are a handy way to get around if arriving at night/when its really hot/if you’re carrying a lot of luggage. Of the three taxis we caught (one when a little lost after our late night arrive, another when changing hostels in the hot sun, the other getting to an early morning bus), only one driver seemed to rip us off.