THE TRIP ITSELF CONTINUES
Food food lovely local food
Each city, so far, that we visited, we tried to get a glimpse of the local cuisine. Because next to culture, it’s the thing I look out for to see what could be an enriching experience. But no luck so far (up till now, but wait for it). Breakfasts seem to be a big problem abroad. Either you don’t find any, or the dough of the local bakery is tasteless, salty or either to hard to bite. As to national dishes, practically impossible to find, especially in the slightly touristic places. If someone offers me one more pizza, pasta or frites, I swear I’m gonna go bazirk! We have that at home, and that is not a real meal, but a snack! I want meat! And vegetables! And luckily, Bosnia provides!
They might be just meatballs in tomato sauce to you, but the Bosnian meatballs do have my approval! Another custom is to stuff vegetables with minced meat: stuffed tomatoes, stuffed paprika’s, stuffed gherkins, stuffed onions… with nice potatoes or rice and sauce. After a sturdy walk around town or the hills, it does taste incredibly delicious and you get the feeling you had a decent meal, at last!
Presentation is everything. Well this is what you expect when going to dinner. To me, I’m mostly happy if the food on the plate is tasty. Presentation is subjective. But here it was fun that your food comes in the very typical copper plates that are covered by a crafted copper cover, with all kinds of decorative markings carved into it.
We did not taste the local beer (though we did enjoy the Irish Pub and Cheers bar (yeah, Cheers! Right next to the hostel, but no, no Woody Harrolson in sight 🙂 ). But during our walk we did stumble on the Sarajevo brewery and I must say, that is a pretty impressive architecture for a brewery! (as you might see in the picture above)
And do try the cakes! They are huge, chocolate-y (or other) and yummy. Again, my approval as sweet tooth is given. What is finally good to know, if you are an avid coffee freak like me: Sarajevo is a big coffee fan too! You even get a glass of water offered when you order a cup!
Sarajevo has many museums on offer: history mainly, but also art or the Olympic Museum (Sarajevo 1984…
Winter Olympics). We went to the History Museum which had an exposition. Though they could have done more with the exposition, I got the feeling that maybe it was too fresh a history to be demanding on the exhibited items. Maybe this will change in time.
Something to look out for, because you can easily miss it cause it’s so small, is the Latin Bridge. It was built in the 16th century. But it is most known for an event that set things in motion that lead to World War 1: the Sarajevo Assassination. I had learned of it in school: on that bridge, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were killed. Ferdinand being the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne.
Next to the Latin Bridge is the Museum Sarajevo 1878-1918, where on the outside you will see a stone plaque making reference to the bridge and the assassination.
You can go to the Tourist Information Centre to get information on the sites to see. There you can also book a place on the tour that is organised twice a day that takes you through historic Sarajevo and ends at the War Tunnel Museum (Tunnel of Hope). It’s not supposed to be a happy tour, seeing it shows you what happened during the siege, what the people had to endure, some background information if you (like me) didn’t entirely grasped what set forth the siege. I was 10 years old in 1992. I remember the news talking about what took place here back then. As well as the images. But as a kid, you don’t grasp why. Why. The main question that gets a dissatisfactory answer. Because the answer why the siege, is not an answer that gives any satisfaction. Because there should not even be a question to begin with. No reason can be valid for what happened here.
The tour takes you by Markale Market, Sniper Alley, the Holliday Inn (built for the Winter Olympics as part of the Olympic Village, during the siege it was where the journalists stayed to report back to the world)… and ends at the Tunnel that ended up saving Sarajevo during the total blockage. All accesses to Sarajevo were blocked. No food, water, medicines, supplies could enter the city. So the government at Sarajevo ordered the building of the tunnel which went right under the airport from the city to the Bosnian free zone. This became the lifeline that provided the city of food, supplies and arms to defend.
Tastes differ. Preferences are one’s own. I know there are persons who would never venture outside the popular destinations. Thinking that besides the predefined locations and popular sites, there isn’t more than that. That there are also other cities, equally as nice to go to or even more surprising. The world is a big place. And thank goodness for that. Of course, as is with Sarajevo, you must research and get informed, all the while leaving room for improvisation at the moment itself. You mustn’t venture into forests or fields outside Sarajevo, where you still might find landmines, that were left since the siege. Be wise not to venture where the roads are not entirely safe. Some common sense must be used. Go where the locals go, and you will be safe.
What I will take back from Sarajevo is how remarkable the streets are when walking through them. How positive it is that the city is being rebuild, together with other nations. How important it is never to forget. How important it is to be vigilant that nationalism can turn very quickly for the worse. How friendly the people were and that even though you don’t speak their language, that shouldn’t necessarily be a barrier in communication. (body language is a language too).
I do feel that a visit to Sarajevo is worth it. If you feel like a city trip where you can actually see things and learn. And for those who wonder, yes, you can shop there to your very pleasure (Springfield, Yves Rocher, United Colours of Benetton, … all the big chains can be found in the modern part of town.
I’m glad I went to Sarajevo.