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Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

Bosnian Flag BOSNIA


October 31. SARAJEVO We had a comfortable night's sleep in our little apartment and woke up late.  The weather was sunny and as we walked down the slope into town we noticed a UN relief bag being used to cover the trunk of a car, old radiators were built into a retaining wall, and shrapnel scars were visible on many homes.  There was also a darling little mosque in the neighborhood that was white white except for its wooden minaret with ornate carving.  

We had to go change more money now that we were planning a longer stay in Sarajevo. We walked along the river and came to a small old bridge that was under reconstruction, it was the sight where Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated on June 28, 1914, sparking the start of WWI.  A plaque with the footprints of the Serb that shot them was torn down during the war, with the justification that the story was Serbian propaganda. Afterward changing money Rob went off on his own to visit the National Bank while Luke and I went for coffee and burek.  We found the chairs out on the cobblestone square and ordered two Bosnian coffees, a quickly forming habit, and basked the sun.  Walking to the burek restaurant we were followed by a persistent gypsy kid that constantly tapped on my thigh the whole way, as much as I tried to ignore her.  I kept an eye on my things but was determined not to give in and encourage the parent that was surly hiding around the corner prodding the child.  As we approached the restaurant a man sitting out front said something sharply to the child and she quickly turned and went away.   

We met up with Rob later back at the coffee house and found him talking with Lesley, another former resident of the Begovic Boarding House.  She had been in Sarajevo for a few days and was thoroughly enjoying it. She had already become a regular at the square side Sur-Caffee Sebilj.  She turned us on to a good place to buy a Bosnian coffee set on the alleyway where the metalwork shops congregated, just off of the square.  We took a quick look and committed ourselves to not leaving Sarajevo without a coffee set.   The beautiful designs had been hammered into the copper by hand on many of the pieces.  Others were made from a mold that was originally designed by hand.  The copper was pounded over the mold to create a relief.  This family had been in the business for over a hundred years, according to the neatly dressed man in a suit behind the counter. 

Lesley joined us for the day and we walked up to visit the Svrso House, a rare surviving Muslim home of a weathly family from the 18th century.  The large enclosed complex was neatly divided into tow sides; the men's house or public house at the front, where the men spent their time keeping an eye towards the outside world and greeted visitors, and the women's house or private house, where a larger courtyard included the kitchen and dining areas and visitors were not allowed.  The white building with the weathered wooden trim had been well maintained.  The courtyards had been carefully laid out stone by stone to create an almost carpet-like effect while some plants, at one time herbs for cooking, bordered the sides.  

From the house we dropped back into the center of town and visited Old Orthodox Church.  From the outside it looked like a nondescript gray block but the inside revealed graceful Turkish influences.  The center of the church floor was decorated with carpets and a balcony with ornately carved wood stretched along the three sides of the church facing the altar.  The chandeliers were made of back wrought iron. It was an entirely different feel than any Orthodox church I had been in - much less austere.  

Just down the road from the church the daily market was still going.  We searched around for the Sarajevo roses that were supposed to be in the market area, marking the location of bombs that killed people in the war.  Sarajevo roses were star shaped holes that had been filled in with red rubber.   Further down the street we came upon our bookstore again, right across from the eternal flame commemorating WWI victims.  Winding back into the center of old town we ran into Nina, a woman from Oakland that we had also met at the BBH.  It turned out that she was going on Sunny's tour as well.  We ended our walk back in the square and stopped for more coffee at Sur-Caffee before paying Sunny a visit ourselves to add Lesley to the tour.  She also moved over to join us in our apartment since the people she'd been traveling with had already moved on to Serbia.  We found a place to check email  before going back again for another Bosnian coffee.  The stuff was getting us pretty wired at this point but we were finding the habit hard to break.  The family that ran the cafe was very nice and Lesley had already gotten to know the mother during her stay.  The people in Sarajevo, overall, had been very hospitable.

A cannon went off, marking the sunset, and the call to prayer echoed from the mosques.  People started to come out into the old town to stroll and socialize.  It was Friday night and there were many more people than the night before.  It didn't even appear that people were stopping but seemed to cruise the main pedestrian area again and again all decked out in their nice clothes.  Traffic was particularly high at the entrance to the mosque on Fergadija Street.  

We'd all had our fill of burek for the day and searched long and hard for a place to eat.  We initially stepped in the City Pub, a posh place for the young crowd, decorated like any metropolitan bar you might see back home.  They had some Mexican food on offer but by the time we ordered they said they were done serving, and it wasn't very late.  Lesley complained that her second beer was only two-thirds full and the waiter just gave her a shrug.  For some reason her request for the full beer she had paid for caused this man to going into a long diatribe about how things weren't "that way" in Sarajevo.  There were no laws regulating bars and, as a side note, he informed us that he didn't even get any health insurance for serving tables.  He seemed quite certain that elsewhere in the world that was not the case but I can't recall health insurance being an option at the bar I worked at.  In any even the upshot was that Lesley was stuck with her 2/3 of a beer.  Our search for a restaurant continued until we settled on To Be or Not to Be, a great little place that served up some delicious pasta.  

SLOVENIA Ljubljana Oct 7-8 Piran Oct 9-12

CROATIA Istra Peninsula Oct 13 Split Oct 14-15 Hvar Oct 16-18 Korcula Oct 19 Dubrovnik Oct 20-29


BOSNIA Sarajevo Oct 30 Oct 30 Nov 1

SERBIA Belgrade Nov 2-3

ROMANIA Bucharest Nov 4 Suceava Nov 5 Nov 6 Cluj Napoca Nov 7 Sighisoara Nov 8-9 Brasov Nov 10 Nov 11

BULGARIA Sofia Nov 12 Nov 13 Nov 14

MACEDONIA Lake Ohrid Nov 15 Nov 16-17

KOSOVO Prishtine Nov 18 Nov 19 Nov 20 Nov 21

GREECE Thessaloniki Nov 22 Athens Nov 23 Nov 24