'A week in Bosnie' and 'the day with three countries and four border crossings...'

28 juni 2012

My week in Bosnie, comming from Serbia, began with an unexpected arrival in a busstation located 10/15 kilometers outside of the centre of Sarajevo. Finding my way to the centre and then finding a hostel with vacancy is, after 5 weeks of travelling, not the biggest challenge anymore but it still is exciting to see where you are going to end up.
The hostel I wanted to go to did not have a bed for me anymore, so they sent me to a nearby hostel one block away. When I arrived, the owner happily provided me with drinks and sat me down at the kitchen table where other guest were chatting. There was a Dutch woman, some Aussies, and a Korean girl (and probably some people I can't remember).
The next day I walked around the old town to see the basic touristic stuff with the Korean girl, two Turkish girls and two Spanish guys we met on the way. The second day in Sarajevo, I wanted to go to the national history museum to learn some more about the war which is so shockingly close to date. Luckily the Turkish girls cared to join me again, and after walking into the wrong and really boring museum (the national museum instead of the national history museum) we finally found some very impressive exhibitions about the siege of Sarajevo and the Bosnian war. The city itself, though there still are a lot of ruined and damaged building, is surprisingly well restored after only 17 years. 

At first, the hostel I ended up in looked kind of weird, not super nice and even the staff seemed slightly annoyed and not very friendly. Luckily, nothing was as it seems, and one of the girls at the reception who at first seems kind of offensive was actually really great and friendly. The thirth day she told me about a park on the edge of town where I went with an Australian guy, and at the end of the day she took me to a view on the hill where she was born. There she told me about the war and about personal experiences. When you realise how many young people have been through this war, where you usually talk about war to old people from generations ago, all the things you've heard about the war start to have a lot more emotional impact. 
The last full day in Sarajevo I went walking in the hills around the city with beautifull views and scenery. 
Though I really loved Sarajevo, and could have stayed there for days more, going to Mostar was amazing as well. Mostar was from what I've heard the most damaged city in the war, with a ridiculous history. I won't be able to explain or repeat everything I was told by our guide/hostel owner, but he told us about his grandfather, cousins and uncles and close friends being killed, about the things they had to do as kids to survive, and about his city which is probably only half, maybe two-thirth, rebuild or restored. He took us to a destroyed, I don't know how many stories, bank building where you could walk into, and even climb the stairs all the way to the top without any railling or fall protection or supervision. I remember saying to the guys: "if my mom saw what I'm doing, she'd be very upset".
In the building nothing had been changed or cleaned for the years since the war ended... All the bullit shells, all the broken glass and all the rubble was exactly as it was 17 years ago at the end of the war (pictures will follow).

The day before this impressive 'war tour' through the city, we did a tour around the area where we found a beautiful natural spring with drinkable water, a beautiful fortified old city, and the most beautiful waterfalls I ever swam in.

Leaving Bosnie yesterday, we came across four border crossings and saw three countries in one day. Bosnie actually has about 20 kilometers of coastline and because there is Croatian coastline north and south of this small section, we entered Croatia before going back into Bosnie for a few kilometer, and back into Croatia after which we finally arrived at the final crossing: from Croatia into Montenegro!

Now I am in Kotor, ready for more adventures and already met a lot of great people on the day of arrival. But most important: I've already been swimming in the sea... God I missed the sea side. It made me even forget about the few days I have left backpacking, and made me think more about Leucate, my final destination and home for a few weeks in July!


3 Reacties

  1. Erika:
    28 juni 2012
    Wow! Veel gezien, veel meegemaakt!
  2. Rene:
    29 juni 2012
    mooie reisverhalen ijsbrand!, veel plezier nog op je rondreis.
  3. Amanda:
    5 juli 2012
    Wat gaaf, en nog veel plezier he!:D