It took me a while, until I managed to make myself to do this post, but as promised in my previous, here is my post about Sarajevo as the continuity of the business+private trip post in Bosnia.
Some things have a bit faded out from my memory (not ćevapi and burek, google it by yourself, those are traditional foods), but I think back at that moment I was also not really in the mood to do this post, as I was taken by the emotions that I have felt and relived by being in that city.
Ever since then I had few more trips, both for work and vacation, now I am slowly getting back on track and getting ready for the last quartal of the year…
Since my Bosnian customers are in the cities around Sarajevo and Mostar, together with Karina (meet her down there, in the last photo of this post) we decided to book our first stay in Sarajevo. We had a very relaxed and flexible host 🙂 basically, upon leaving the hostel he told us to leave the money and key at the table (Dreams Apartment & Rooms). Can you imagine something like this in e.g. Hungary? (not me). In Serbia yes, yet.
We asked our host to tell us what places we should check on in the night, it was still the time of the World Football Championship, so he told us not to hope for a big party, but we can go to “Cheers” (100% sure this is named after the American popular serie in the 80’s) or to the alternative rock music club called “Sloga”. “Cheers” was an okay Pub, with a bit of grumpy waitress, but I told her that Caipirinhas she made were awsome, so she started to be kind with us. BUT, the place “Sloga”, wow that was a time-traveling. I felt like I entered into some dark Serbian alternative movie about a rock music band and it’s concert and fan club. The bar was all in red lights, around the bar photos of famous people, two level of the stage, the basement has the bar tables and chairs, people standing or sitting around it, on the upper level was the band and a very cool rock singer was rocking the stage with the music of ex-Yugoslavian rock music, with a voice of Željko Bebek or Alen Islamović, gesticulating and taking over the stage like some world known rock singer, he even sang an EKV song! I loved the music, I loved the singers vibe, but the people that were around us, including the waiters, they were rude and unpolite. It looked like on Saturday evening all have their places at the tables scheduled and if you try to take a milimeter space for yourself at their table, they will give you the killing look, specially women (those blondies with a cheap, strong make-up, dresses and shoes – the fake “fancy, wanna-be reach and snob” look). We did not stay long there even I personally really enjoyed the music and the concert.
The next day of our stay in Sarajevo, on Sunday, Karina wanted to have her burek. Well I did not expect to have a ćevap for breakfast. On my huge surprise burek was filled with a ćevap meat fully, more meat then I have ever seen, for me it was too much, as I consume in less quantities, but it was very tasty! Btw. I prefer the cottage cheese version and if you are eating any salty burek version as a side note I would add: it is must to take a drinking yogurth with it (I prefer Yogurth and not Ayran, which is a bit salty compared to Yogurth and I personally do not like it).
Karina was happy though with the meat dopping she got for breakfast. I think she is the biggest meat-consumer I have ever met and she is all the time hungry! 😀 😀 😀
After, based on Karinas research we went to have a walking tour by BH Spirit City Tours and Excursions (free tour guiding, but you know those are based on tipping).
We met our guide Enes and the rest of the group in front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral at 10 am.
“We have three i****s that are leading our country, we are the only country in Europe with 3 presidents! ” were the words of our guide in Sarajevo. Do not take his words wrong, it was in a way of expression of sadness and anger seeing how many people left his country due to the not secure future. He was born in Yugoslavia, just like myself, we were thought about “bratstvo i jedinstvo” (brotherhood and unity), no matter of the language you spoke, you were Yugoslavian. Our guide and Sarajevo has put me back to Yugoslavia in so many moments while we were there. We use to live peaceful times in time of our president Josip Broz Tito, in the world known as Tito. At that time, he was one of the most charismatic presidents and a president who could oppose the Stallins regime. He was also a big lover of women (5 marriages, hundreds of misteresses), there is even one photo about him, where he is capturing a bouquete of a flower, but …well, judge it by yourself what he managed to catch :))) click for the photo and article in Serbian.
And while writing this post I was listening to YouTube, suddenly I bumped into this video (it is creepy a bit the connection with my blog, Google and YouTube), so this video is about Tito (a song is obviously a parody on Despacito). “Diž se Tito” actually means “Get up/wake up Tito”. If you speak Serbian and understand the lyrics, you will understand the irony behind, in short, these singers are asking Tito to wake up from the deaths, while criticizing the politicians, regime, but also the people, with lots of truth in the lyrics about the reality in Bosnia (but, it could be applied to Serbia as well). I googled more about this video and guess what I found out the first guy in the video with the guitar is actually a Bosnian guy called Emir Tucakovic and he is who did the lyrics (another prove of Bosnian irony and humor). So here it is:
If you want to know interesting facts about Bosnia, Sarajevo and the Balkans, I highly advise Enes. Serbians sensitive on critics about the war crimes and for those not being able to listen the other side of the story, maybe I do not advise to take this tour.
I took the attitude to stay neutral, became a listener, I even got reminded on a one long time learned thing, the meaning of the word Balkan.
Bbtw. did you know what is behind that word? No?
Bal is honey and kan is blood, both Turkish words. These words cannot be more descriptive for this region, then they are.
The guide was born in Sarajevo and I think we were about the same age, the moment he found out I am Hungarian from Serbia, he got stuck on the word Serbia and each time he was sharing something against he told me, he had to look at me and could not help himself.
Honestly, about this whole war thing in the Balkans, from time to time it still upsets me as there was so much unfair things done by politics and religion, not talking that the life we had before the war was not comparable to any European country. I cannot understand how could people be so blinded to start shooting at their own neighbours, kids, how many families got broken because of mixed marriages. I was a teenager at that time, all I understood from the news was that there is a war between the nations and we should hate the other side. That wast for me not acceptable, my boyfriend was Croatian, and I was always happy to meet people from other cultures, nationalities, it is almost like an addiction for me.
While I had the tour, memories were popping up from that period, I remembered how poor we were, limited in the information flow via the media, we learned what is embargo, we had no normal supplies of anything, even finding some basic food supplies was luxuory. I recall my mom would improvize in cooking e.g. to make our own version of Nutella (Eurokrem) from flour, we had the “embargo” pizza, which would mean pizza with anything you can find at home, basically nothing to do with it, we had electricity shortage almost every minute, then the hyperinflations! etc.
…and then my dad was also taken to serve as reservist, guarding/patroling at the Serbian Croatian border (luckily not to the warzone), while my mom needed him the most, she was expecting our brother and was staying at home with me and my sister. I remember dad escaping home for weekends to see us. I remember on the dance ball in the 8th grade graduation every girl dancing to it’s father, except me… but at least my mom was there with a big belly and my brother kicking inside her stomach 🙂
Enes told his side of the story and honestly, while he was sharing his side of pain, stories about that terrible Balkan war, raising in the air pictures of dead people, children laying on the streets of Sarajevo, I could not stop my tears, they just came…his memories and my memories were more then I could bear with.
I felt sad for all the disgusting things he/me/our generation has went through.
The next time he made me to smile on the irony and humor of people even in these terrible times. He told us about the graffiti that was on the wall of the post office in Sarajevo saying: Ovo je Srbija! (e.g.This is Serbia!) and someone as a reply added to it the following: Budalo, ovo je pošta! (tr. You fool, this is the post office! 🙂
Those minutes I spent in the streets of Sarajevo were like bein back in that time. The stories, the places, the marks on the road of ‘Sarajevo roses’ (red rose traces on the ground simbolizing places where grenades exploded and killed innocent people, CHILDREN…
Not all the stories were sad and I did not spend this tour crying, I was actually absorbing the stories and historical facts which were zounds. Sarajevo is a living history and Enes is a joke-master and great story-teller, a real Bosnian guy , so if you have got an impression this was for me a bad tour experience, you are wrong….
I did not like all I heard and how it was shared, however, I appreciated he kept repeating for him the religion, language, nationality does not matter unless that person threats him equally and in a normal way, and this is how I perceive things too.
He showed us the “cultural line of Sarajevo”, adding with irony one side of the line represents the Eastern culture, the other side the Western of Sarajevo…Eastern is sadder, the Western is happier.
He took us to the place where Gavrilo Princip killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie that lead to the outbreak of the First world war, he showed us the spot on the ground which in not at the bridge next to the street (this is what he specially emphasized) but on the road in front of the stone monument about this assassination, marks from the road are removed as during the Bosnian war the street had to be rebuilt more times (if I recall well).
At the end of the tour, he came to me and told me that he hopes he did not offend me, as it was how he lived those times, I replied, we all have our side of the stories, yet we shall leave the past behind and make sure we and our children do not make such bad choices and we gave a good-bye hug to each other.
Seriously, what I could have tell him more, I was feeling guilt even I did not do anything, nore my family, I feel the guilt of all nations equally, those people who were blinded and destroyed everything…including a whole country, Yugoslavia.
… some years later also my village was bombed by NATO…
After the tour, we had few more hours before heading to Mostar, we went with Karina for a lunch and myself I had a Bosnian, or as we call it in Serbia, a Turkish coffee in a pot called džezva and then went for a walk in Baščaršija (the old bazar street). It is the street that gives you the real feeling of everday Bosnian people.
And there is a lot more there to say, but I leave it up to you to go there and see…
Of course once there, don’t you dare not to drive from Sarajevo to Mostar, and do not dare to be amazed by that magical nature you will see on the way! 🙂
Only to give a bit of taste…
I cannot stop, there was so much happening in 4 days, the amazing host Sabina in the Villa Anri we stayed at in Mostar with a view on the old bridge, it is there behind! We could see the people jumping from the bridge to the river (it is a kind of tourist attraction).
Finally on Monday, after I completed two customer meetings, we took a trip to Split, since it was closer to get back to Budapest from there.
..and now I am really finishing my blog post, BYE!