Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sarajevo, Bosnia

We spent our last days with Jordan and Mat doing lots of wine tasting and eating. Mike and I snuck off to go to the Maritime Museum (Mike's submarine heaven!) and give the honeymooners some time alone.  All four of us had a blast hanging out and catching up and we were sad to say goodbye.  It's so much fun living abroad and traveling together, but we miss having good friends.  Mat and Mike have been friends since eighth grade and they picked up right where they left off a year ago.  After a day of wine tasting and wandering, we parted ways and they headed back to the good old US of A while we caught a bus to Sarajevo, Bosnia!

I had no idea what to expect from Sarajevo, but it was beautiful.  Unlike Croatia, which is primarily Catholic, Bosnia is a Muslim country.  Sarajevo had a lot of western touches, but there was still a large Muslim and Arab culture, which made us feel right at home. There were also a ton of Turks! Everywhere we turned, there were people speaking Turkish!  How crazy!





I didn't know anything about the war and conflict that took place there in the early 90s, but the remnants were extremely present.  They had these red rose memorials throughout the city where mortar shell explosions had taken place.


The saddest memorial, in my opinion, was the children's memorial, which remembered all of the children who died as a result of the war.  Some of them were less than a year old. 




Despite all of the sadness in Sarajevo's history, it's a beautiful little city. The bridge is a UNESCO site, which we love.








Pope John Paul II did an Eastern European tour, so there are statues and memorials all over for him.

City Hall has a unique look :)






The Bosnian flag




We saw where Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated (if there wasn't a plaque, it would have just looked like a street corner)




We heard that there were still remnants of the old Olympic Bobsled course outside of the city.  We took a taxi up to the top and walked around the track, which was super cool.





Olympics!

Since the track was still in tact during the war, there were lots of spots where there were lookout holes in the track that had been used for sniper shooting.  It reminded us of a video game.










We finished the race!

There is a hiking trail that goes from the end of the bobsled track to the entrance to town, so we ended up hiking down.  I wasn't too pleased about it at first, but views like this made it all worth it.



We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed Sarajevo.  There were lots of Turkish and Islamic influences throughout the city, but it was also so European.  The people were friendly and so happy to meet Americans.  Bosnia was already on our tentative summer itinerary, but now we'll definitely make sure it is in the final plans!