Arrival in Sarajevo

Trip Start Jul 23, 2007
Trip End Aug 23, 2007

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Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina  ,
Friday, August 17, 2007

I'll start where I left off, getting on the train. I love the trains in this part of Europe, they all have compartments, each seating 6 people, with doors you can shut and curtains to shut off the outside corridor. I feel like I'm in an old fashioned murder mystery book or Harry Potter or something :) The English couple find 2 seats in a nearly full compartment, so I go in a different one a bit further down. Thomas, a Finnish guy they met in their hostels joins me. This is merely an observation mind, but he looked like a Nordic god or something. Bright blue eyes, white blonde hair, typically Finish in every way. He had been studying in Slovenia for a year and was spending the next few months travelling around Europe, on a serious budget. Hitchhiking wherever possible, sleeping rough in construction sites etc, eating bread and cheese for dinner (he told me he had one hot meal in 3 weeks), and taking photos along the way in the hope of selling them or making a book when he returned to Finland. I had to admire him for it, although I don't think I'd cope!

The train journey to Sarajevo is beautiful- it goes along this really wide aquamarine river, which occassionally widens out into a lake, or is held up by numerous dams. We followed the river past centuries old bridges, little villages and watched the sun setting on the mountain tops, until dark finally fell and we arrived in Sarajevo 3 hours later. When we arrived in the big station, several of us made a beeline for this travel agency, which was right where Pedro had said. They offered a free shuttle to their hostel, which was the main attraction for me as now without my LP guide I had no map of the city! Unfortunately though, the bus left straight away, so I had no time to wait for the English guy to go and exchange some more Euros round the corner. They felt terrible, but like I said, it was only 7 pounds, and as it happened, I had found a 10 euro note on the floor in Albania, with no-one knowing where it had come from. What goes around comes around.

Several of the others decided to stay in a double room for 5 euros more, but Thomas, an American girl Kiera and I figured a dorm would be fine. The hostel itself was a little ropey- they basically have a reception in the centre, and manage rooms all over the city, so we had to walk 5 minutes out of town up a very steep hill to get to our room. There were 3 dorms in the building, each with 3 bunk beds, one shower (without a shower head) and a toilet (without any toilet roll), and nothing else. We were literally dumped there, and the man who showed us the way disappeared immediately. Just to make things worse, only one of our 3 keys appeared to work on the room! We all felt in need of a drink/smoke (in Thomas' case) so we went for a wander in the city. It was packed- definitely good night life. Loads of cafes and bars lined the street with people, and we eventually found a seat right in the middle of town. Trying not to be too anti-social, I studied my maps etc I'd picked up in the station to get my bearings and start to work out what to do tomorrow. Kiera and Thomas enjoyed their beers, I enjoyed my cocktail, and we all stopped off for a sugar hit on the way home- they have amazing cakes, baklava, turkish delight etc here!
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