The group has arrived in Sarajevo in all shapes and sizes, some tired from delayed flights and long layovers, others well accustomed to the time change as they have been traveling around the area for a while before the start of the program. Our group of nine students arrived in full force yesterday as the last one to arrive was caught up with flight troubles on her way over. It is great to have everyone here together and getting along splendidly as our internships are getting into gear this week.
My affection for Bosnia began as I was taking the bus trip up to Sarajevo from the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. The five hour trip started off with a stretch up the east coast of the Adriatic sea as we entered into the small stretch of coast that is considered Bosnia (only about 25 kilometers of coastline) and then exited back into Croatia quickly before heading inland towards Mostar and eventually Sarajevo. As we got further inland the rolling coastal hills slowly got larger and larger until I looked up and all of sudden there were mountains towering over us as we followed the winding Neretva river, the kind where you have to press your face all the way to the bus window just to be able to look up and see the top. It seems like a beautiful country and I am ready to explore.
After a few more hours on the road, we reached Sarajevo and were picked up at the bus station and brought to the hostel so we could settle in and check out our rooms. Once that was done, we headed into the city and explored. Over the past couple of days, that has become sort of the routine. Aside from trying to be near a cafe or bar with a TV so I can follow along with the FIFA World Cup, my days have been filled with explorative walks and interesting meals as we have tried to test the waters when it comes to what to expect when eating out. The most Bosnian dish I think I have had is Burek, which is a bread pastry filled with minced meat that is fairly popular in the Balkans and especially here in Bosnia.
The hostel is located in the center of the city and is surrounded by bars and popular hang-outs. I see both pros and cons to this. The convenience of being just a couple flights of stairs and a couple paces from a great place to watch the futball games is great, but that means that we have to deal with the noise of the louder music at night while we are trying to sleep. Aside from being close to fun places to spend free time, we are also very close to various markets and bakeries, not to mention the plethora of ice cream stands that seem to appear every block or so. All in all, it’s a very lively and interesting place to be located and I am excited to learn my way around and also improve my Bosnian language skills. It’s seems like a great place to be located for the summer, and I am ready for a cultural challenge and hopefully a little bit of adventure.