A Day in Sarajevo Bosnia

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End May 12, 2012

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What I did
Eternal Flame - Sarajevo
Serbian Orthodox Church - Sarajevo
Catholic Cathedral - Sarajevo
Corner where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated
Old Synagogue - Sarajevo

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina  ,
Sunday, May 6, 2012

There was a bit of grumbling about our accommodations here at the Pansion Lion.  We got up at 7 am.  When Marilynn mentioned she was trying to get into the showers while they were free, I made an effort and grabbed stuff and already there was a wait.  I didn't have to wait too long however, but before long, people were complaining about cold water.  We blamed Nick for taking so long a shower to wake up since he didn't go to bed.

Since breakfast is not included here, we went out for breakfast and found a cafe with a spinach-cheese dish with an egg on top.  It wasn't bad.  The thick pita that came with it was quite good.  The Bosnian coffee was very thick.  I think I can hear the call to prayer now - maybe it is just Bosnian music, I am not sure.  We heard a group of performers outside the big Serbian Orthodox Church this morning.

I am getting ahead of myself now.  We met Louise and followed her to City Hall where we were to meet our guide Elvira - an attractive young Bosnian woman.  She took us over the oldest of the original 13 Ottoman bridges over the Tara (Drina) River that defines Sarajevo.  Now however there are only 6 or 7 of the bridges left.  On one side is the Moslem area and on the other, the business area.  We went over another of the bridges and spent the rest of our time walking around the business area looking at the various churches and significant sights.  There was the oldest Orthodox church and the biggest Orthodox church, the synagogue for the Jewish people leaving Spain, an old Mosque and the biggest Mosque with the tombs, school, and fountain.  We saw the old hamman that is now a museum and parts of the old market (han).  I think we are supposed to have dinner in one of the old hans.  Much of the city has been restored at least once after one of the wars, including the aggression of '92-'95, of which we heard much.  It sounded terrible of course.  We saw a place in front of the Catholic cathedral where 30 children were killed.  The deaths are marked by red blotches on the pavement that they call "roses."  We also saw the corner where Gavril Princip killed the archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia to start WWI.

As we walked through the copper market, I thought - yes, I have to come back here.  There was also a scarf market and I saw football shirts with the names and numbers of the famous Bosnian-Herzogovinian players.  Elvira also pointed out a famous restaurant Pod Lipom (under the lime tree) that Bill Clinton went to and that she recommended highly so several of us made a mental note to try to get back there as well.

The tour ended at the eternal flame in the more modern part of the old town that has Austro-Hungarian Empire influence on the architecture.  Elvira pointed out several buildings including the first secondary school.  She had mentioned that the mosque school was very strict and only the most orthodox Bosnians sent their girls there - or boys, either, for that matter.  There was no smoking, no drinking, the girls were fully covered.  She said that it was ironic since the girls especially rebelled afterward and did everything they weren't supposed to do.

After the tour ended, we looked for the Pod Lipom and Tee, Marilynn, Jordan & I had lunch there.  It was very nice.  I liked my traditional Bosnian mix and the chicken soup that the waiter recommended and the cheese pie looked good too.  Lunch was followed by a little shopping:  postcards and a few trinkets.  Marilynn looked for a copper coffee set and bought it in the wink of an eye - I hardly realized she had bought it when I noticed she had paid.  We then had to go to the ATM for me to get more money and ran into Doreen and Estelle at a cafe.  I went off briefly to look for something and then came back for a drink.  Oh, I forgot, after lunch, I walked over with Marilynn while she booked her room at the luxury hotel where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stayed.  Marilynn let me use her bathroom and I was jealous over her spacious bedroom and sitting room view - not to speak of constant hot water supply.

So here I am alone in the room after Marilynn took over her bags.  I wrote up my postcards and today's journal while I wait to go out for drinks and then dinner at the restaurant that does not have alcohol because it is Muslim.  The Muslim presence is dominant but I haven't seen that many women in headscarves - although there are a lot of tourists here - and none with faces covered.  I guess that they are trying to have more tolerance for other people and their religions.  The other churches seemed to be attended and there didn't seem to be overt signs of negative feelings.  I hope it all goes well. 

So I went out to meet everyone, Marilynn came from her luxe hotel, but others didn't come for awhile.  When we had a gathering, we set off for the han restaurant.  After we were seated, we saw Vicki and Michael and moved to another table to accommodate them.  It was a very nice dinner.  I had the mixed stuffed vegetables this time - kind of a repeat of lunch but still good.  After dinner, I walked back to the hotel, got into my room, and realized I hadn't bought any water so I went out to get some and found Patrick just getting ready to eat some dinner so I spent some time chatting with him.  Tee came along and we both left because it was cold as Patrick settled in to his second beer.  I tried to organize and get all my batteries charged.  I think the Fuji and SLR are set for tomorrow.  Now to make sure about the Coolpix and netbook.

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