First Impressions

I came into Sarajevo by bus from Zagreb which made for quite an interesting introduction to the country.  I had assumed that due to proximity and both being parts of former Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia would be nearly indistinguishable.  That was not at all the case.  Immediately after the border crossing, the roads became considerably worse, bumpy and unmaintained.  There were mere shells of buildings scattered throughout the countryside and houses littered with bullet holes.  Even there, so far from the city, war had touched every piece of land.

The rest of my week one experiences I would like to tell in pictures.  Unfortunately, I have been using my phone camera, so forgive the poor quality of the photos.



This is the house in Sarajevo, by the airport, that was given up so that a tunnel could be made connecting the center of the city (which was almost completely surrounded by Serb forces) to the outside part.  Food, medicine, animals, and all kinds of other things were snuck through the 800 meter tunnel.



The old Olympic bobsled run was used by Serbian snipers to attack the city of Sarajevo below.  Now it is being “reclaimed” by the people of Sarajevo via spray paint.



A sniper hole that was carved into the bobsled run.  During the war, I assume there were fewer trees and this view would have been of the city below.



This is the view from another snipers’ nest in the mountains near the bobsled run.



Not even tombstones were left unscathed.



This country is no stranger to war.  The plaque marks the very spot where World War I was started.



We spent about three hours hiking up a mountain to reach the secluded city of Lukomir, established by a group of people seeking religious freedom.



Lukomir – rural, high in the mountains, self-sufficient.  It was like going back in time to be there.



A few of us were lucky enough to go to a part of this conference.  To those who may not know, as secular as it is, Bosnia is a Muslim country.  Also, European Islamophobia is a big problem right now, especially with the Syrian refugee crisis.



On a happier note, this is how Bosnians serve coffee.  Everywhere.  This is not a fancy or special thing.



Throwing in a snapchat photo might be a bit unprofessional, but I wanted to show that Sarajevo is not a sad city, full of depressed people.  On first impressions, it seems a lot of people spend afternoons just like I did, enjoying some food at a café, using the wifi, and talking to friends.  It also shows that I am perhaps way too dependent on internet!


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