First day inSarajevo: done. There are 14 of us here from The University of Denver (all doing different internships), and today we took a walking tour of the city. It was beautiful! Last night when we got in on the train (an hour later than expected – apparently this is normal) it was too dark to see anything. This morning we could see beautiful hills surrounding the city. I think I’m going to likeSarajevo.
And now starts a new series: Do and Don’t
Do: Ride the train if you have the time. I was worried that it was going to be completely sketch and the train would fall apart along the way. It was actually really nice – not too crowded – air conditioned (except when we stopped – then we melted) – beautiful countryside – plus, 4 stamps in my passport in one day! (leavingHungary, entering and leavingCroatia, and then enteringBosnia)
Don’t: Forget to bring food for the entire day. We made the mistake of believing there would be a food car. Apparently that was left inHungarywhen we crossed the border intoCroatia. We survived on peanuts, juice, cheese puffs, and apples – we were starving when we finally arrived inSarajevo.
Do: Hang out with friends at the bar across the street from the hostel as soon as you arrive – and get a massive pizza all for yourself. Chat – catch up on travel stories – lament over lost luggage – brag about how amazingBudapestwas – generally have a fantastic time with amazing people you get to spend the entire summer with.
Don’t: Go to Bosnia and eat at McDonalds. They most definitely had signs pointing the direction to the McDonalds (which has to be the most amazing looking McD’s that I have ever seen in my life, btw)
Do: Watch the men play chess in the city center. It’s most definitely entertaining.
Don’t: Take pictures in a church that you are not allowed to take pictures in – or go inside without your shoulders covered – the nun will chastise you and make you feel like a fool.
Do: Travel around the city and look at the “Bosnian Roses” – they are from mortar shells that caused casualties, and are a reminder of the lives lost and injuries sustained during the horrific war and siege.
Don’t: Climb around in an abandoned bombed out building from the war just because it looks amazing and you think you will get some awesome shots – it likely will collapse on you if you traverse its depths.
Don’t: Wear inappropriate clothing while going to visit a beautiful Mosque – they will not even let you inside the courtyard.
Do: Look at the architecture. It’s an amazing blend of Austro-Hungarian, Turkish, and Modern influences. It is also apparent how significant the damage from the war is upon the old buildings vs. the new ones.
Do: Make friends with the local wildlife (aka random cats and dogs that are all over the city). The people inSarajevo are extremely nice to them – therefore, they are extremely cuddly and cute. I feel as though there will be many friends made this summer.
Don’t: Travel behind your tour group to take pictures – because you will miss all of the important things said regarding the history of Sarajevo.
Do: Visit the place where Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated – because it’s a major piece of world history.
Don’t: Eat solely at places that serve “American” food. Bosnian food is delicious, and every opportunity to try new, wonderful dishes should be taken.
Do: Eat the delicious gelato after every meal. For 1 KM (about 70 cents), you really can’t go wrong.
Do: Finish the night with friends, food, and drinks at a local restaurant/pub. In this case, the local Sarajevo Brewery.
Don’t: upload a bajillion pictures using slow internet access ever again. You will be up half of the night waiting for the pictures to finish loading onto the blog…
Do: Go to bed and come back to the blog post the next day in favor of sleep. No one likes a grumpy, sleep-deprived person.