Day One in Sarajevo with minor jetlag complete! Real Day One was a bit rough as we were all exhausted, sweaty, and sometimes incoherent (#notajetlagdenier). So today with most of our brain capacity, a good night’s sleep, and baths (WE HAVE A ROOM WITH A JACUZZI TUB WHAAAAA) we set out for our first full day. We started with a fantastic view of the largest cemetery in Sarajevo, then onwards to the 1984 Olympic bobsled track with two cans of spray paint, Sunnyland (which in all its majesty deserves its own post), and finally the Jewish cemetery. And currently, we are all sitting outside enjoying good food and wine at our hotel, the call to prayer has echoed throughout Baščaršija, and the fast for Ramadan has ended. It is quite a lovely way to end Day One.
It was also a day of mixed emotions. As a few classmates mentioned, it was incredible seeing the hills that we as foreigners deem as beautiful but the people of Sarajevo view as dangerous. The city was under siege by the Serbs for over three and a half years, and as we saw today, the hills were the homes of the snipers. From the bobsled track to the Jewish cemetery on the hill, snipers “nested” in these higher up locations with a bird’s eye view of the city. Before arriving, I perceived the streets as being the most dangerous place to be during the siege as it was so simple, with the pull of a trigger, without looking their victim’s in the face, to kill with distance. However, at the Jewish cemetery, we saw not only the snipers nest this created but also how close it was to houses. Our guide, Jadranka, also told us that code had to be developed in order to let people know where sniper nests were and if they could see into your home through your windows. The term for the snipers nest at the Jewish cemetery was, “seen from Jewish”. Prior to stepping foot in Sarajevo, I always thought the streets were the most dangerous. Upon arriving in Sarajevo, I learned that your home was the most dangerous too.