First Impressions

After an eight hour redeye flight that I could not sleep for my life on, and almost missing my two connecting flights (sorry mom), I finally made it to Sarajevo. The first thing to strike me was how small an “international airport” was. The second, was the humidity. Once everyone finally got settled in, I was excited; the “fam” was together and ready to take on Bosnia. The next day we did both a bus tour and a walking tour, and that took us everywhere. Getting up on Mount Trebevic and seeing the 1984 Olympic bobsled run decaying and covered in graffiti was both disheartening and beautiful at the same time. The first full day was extremely emotional for me, between the lack of sleep and the sites that were seen and explained. Being in a Serbian sniper nest on Mount Trebevic and finding old ammunition rounds in the ground suddenly made everything so real.

My favorite thing from the first week was the visit we took as a group to Konjic to visit Tito’s secret atomic bunker that was built in case of a war between Yugoslavia and the USSR (I know, we’re going back some years here). However, the bunker is in the process of being turned into a contemporary art museum. As an appreciator of art and a lover of history, the aura surrounding the bunker was wonderful. Not to mention the river views were amazing. The best adventure of our first week was attempting to make it to OK Fest on Saturday, a well known music festival in the Balkans. With six of us crammed into the car, including a passenger on the backseat floor, the two hour drive turned into a five hour drive, getting lost down a dirt road, asking for help from a person with no English at all while we barely know any Bosnian, and having lunch in Republika Srpska where the menu was completely in Cyrillic. We eventually did make it to OK Fest, situated in Sutjeska National Park with one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in my life.

I’ve taken it upon myself to walk every day with no purpose. A left here, a right there, and a left a little further on until I’m somewhere new. Exploring by myself has given me a new perspective on Sarajevo, while also giving me that much needed alone time from a hostel floor of twelve of my peers. Everyone keeps asking me how I’m enjoying Bosnia so far. First off, between getting settled and doing group activities and only being here a week, I haven’t seen too much of the country. But my response is always “I’m loving it so much”. And then I get the dreaded “Why? Like what do you love?” Well I love everything. It’s been a week and I’ve never been in a place comparable to Bosnia. The landscape is beautiful, the people are beautiful and warm and welcoming, the food is amazing and fresh, and don’t get me started on the local beer! Basically, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’ve only been here for a week with seven remaining, but I never want to go home.

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