Visiting Sarajevo can’t help but invoke a deeper sort of emotion and feeling.
Every street corner, every bullet hole, every lined and rugged face tells a story of hard won freedom and acceptance.
Inscription translated to English on the Eternal Flame Monument in Sarajevo:
With Courage and the Jointly Spilled Blood of the Fighters of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian Brigades of the Glorious Yugoslav National Army; with the Joint Efforts and Sacrifices of Sarajevan Patriots
Serbs, Muslims and Croats on the 6th of April 1945 Sarajevo, the Capital City of the People’s Republic | of Bosnia and Herzegovina was liberated.
Eternal Glory and Gratitude to the Fallen Heroes of the liberation of Sarajevo and our Homeland,
On the First Anniversary of its Liberation–a Grateful Sarajevo
I am not religious or political. At least I do my best NOT to be…but I do believe in living this one life we have been privileged with to the best of our ability. I memorized Bible scriptures when I was younger, and the verse that still applies and I still try to live by today is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you–Luke 6:31”
This is recognized as the Golden Rule and I suppose many religions and holy books say something similar but how many of us forget and choose the selfish path or take our life of privilege for granted?
I AM PRIVILEGED–and I am reminded of that every single day when I wake up in a beautiful new location, in possibly a new country, living my dream…
I know very few of us can just drop everything and travel and explore the world! I know many haven’t been out of their city’s borders, much less out of their country.
Walking the streets of Sarajevo and witnessing a protest for the freedom to marry despite differences in Ethnicity or Religion brought my taken for granted sense of privilege home to me…
Life isn’t fair…and by saying that I am not complaining…
It is a TRUTH I see everyday and while I don’t think I can do much to make life “more fair” for others…I hope this post reminds me/us of the things we can be grateful for. And I sincerely hope that perhaps by having this grateful and positive attitude we can be a positive influence in some way…
Despite Sarajevo (and the surrounding area) having a very recent troubled past the people we met are amazing…
They have rebuilt and are positive about their future and I ADMIRE their resilience.
I mentioned above that I don’t think little old me can do much to make the world a “more fair” or better place…
But I’m going to take that back…by being a tourist I think I was able to help in a small way.
Visiting these places and spending our vacations in less known locations like Bosnia, Serbia or Albania makes a difference!
I’m not an expert, but from what I’ve seen, tourism makes a tremendous impact on small economies like these.
Most of them are so happy to have foreigners visit and enjoy their country, their food, and their culture that they welcome us with open arms–which is something that can’t be said about tourist saturated locales nowadays…
Your 10 euros to purchase a cappuccino might not make much of a difference in downtown Zurich, but your 1.5euros in Sipovo, Bosnia certainly will.
Other impressions of Bosnia & Herzegovina:
- They love MEAT so if you’re vegetarian be aware that they don’t have many options for you…
- The roads are narrow, steep and challenging, especially in Sarajevo, and your GPS will lead you astray (or to a path with STAIRS!!)
- Bosnian coffee is very similar to Turkish coffee so if you are addicted to the “Italian” style of coffee be warned that you might find it hard to find in the local grocery shops
- Most towns in Bosnia are somewhat segregated such as: this town is Orthodox…this town is Muslim etc. Sarajevo is somewhat unique in that all the major religions are represented in fairly large numbers.
- Bosnia gets COLD in winter and central heating is NOT readily available. We noticed woodpiles everywhere…even the apartment buildings were stocking up on wood…
- Outside of Sarajevo, very few folks speak English so be prepared to communicate with lots of acting 😉
Our 2 Days in Serbia…
We didn’t get to see much of Serbia due to our plan of having a mini-vacation with family in Montenegro, but what we did see in the 2 days we were there was beautiful (watch our vlog on the bottom of this post!!)
Our 2 days in Serbia were spent in the ski town of Zlatibor (sadly no snow for skiing yet) and from there we did a bit of exploring to the surrounding areas.
I got all philosophical about our time in Bosnia so for Serbia I’m going straight into list format so this post doesn’t get too long..and my fingers don’t get so tired 😛
Impressions about Serbia:
- Carry cash (Euros or Serbian Dinar) with you at all times–the ATMs are few and FAR between
- Food is cheap, so if you don’t want to cook and buy groceries you won’t break the bank with eating out for all meals
- Local Serbian wine is quite good so don’t get intimidated by the 2-3 euro price (I was worried to try it because it seemed so cheap!!)
- Serbian roads are a bit better and less steep than those in Bosnia so enjoy…
And to give you an idea of some of the sights and sounds you can experience in Bosnia and Serbia watch our vlog below 🙂