I always wanted to have a job where I will be able to travel with my own car and see places, now I say to myself, Gabi, be carefull with such wishes, because it may come true…
I am working now for a multinational company in the paper industry and I am in charge of 3 countries in the Balkans, Serbia, Slovenia and Bosnia&Hercegovina. I am in this company now for 5 month and I can say in the last 5 month I spent more time in Slovenia then in my own birth country, Serbia.
Most of the time the job is very demanding and requires almost a 24 hour presence (on e-mails), but it also provides me with lots of new things. I am now visiting the Balkans more then ever and ever since I got back to these areas each new contact back with those people, nature and culture is a bit of boost for me.
My last business trip I had to arrange was to visit customers in Bosnia. It was my 2ndtime ever in that new country, as a child I have some memories about going to the seaside through valleys, hills, gorges and I recall all seemed so scarying and big, and honestly I have no clue if I was traveling through Bosnia or Croatia to reach the Croatian seacost. I really had fear of those places as a child who was used to flat fields in Vojvodina (norths of Serbia), where the highest “hill” was an embankment.
At first I was thinking to take an airplane as at my first trip with my colleague and supervisor, but to reach my customers, I need to get to Sarajevo or Split, usually not via direct flights, and afterwards I still need to rent a car, so finally, if I calculate the time I spend on airports and check-ins etc. I can consider to drive to Bosnia and have the flexibility to travel around. It is exactly what I did. I asked few friends if they would be in for a weekend trip. I would arrange my meeting for Monday, and the weekend before we could spend some time in Bosnia, in my case I chose Sarajevo and Mostar.
The date has came 7th of July, Karina a friend living in Budapest, but from Brazil joined me on this trip.
We started aroudn 9am from Budapest. Our first stop was a bank station in Mohács, where I explained to her, it is my first time in Mohács too, even I live in Hungary now for 22 years. The place is famous about the carneval tradition called “busójárás”. I do not want to explain now that in details, google it. Descupla! 🙂
At the gas station, we had our first nice view, a handsome Hungarian, sorry not showing his face due to privacy (and no photo about him actually :))
The point is we were wondering if he was wearing the wrong side of his shorts, because the Adidas sign is at the backside…anyway we concluded that guy was hot and even maybe wearing the wrong side, we would forgive him and… 🙂
We crossed the Hungarian Croatian border in about 20-30 minutes and arrived to Republika Srpska, I think that was the first moment when I realized there is really a big gap between nations in Bosnia, everything was written with Cyrilic letters I was in a Serbian area, still I felt as a stranger, I knew I was in another country.
I have to note during the whole trip in Bosnia, I was having some internal fights if I will say something in Serbian in the Croatian or muslim areas if someone will look at me wrong, or what if I say something in Croatian in the Serbian areas etc…
Later I realized I had to relax and let go, I realized noone can realize where I am from and I also need to let go the fears from the past. Those in the Croatian areas asked me where I was born, but also in Mostar I was asked where I am from because I do not look Bosnian and immediately asked where I learned “naški” ( in translation means “our language”, which is the Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrian etc…
When you want to be diplomatic or tactful just use “naški” instead of naming the language of ex-Yugoslavians :))
We all speak “naški”!
All my fears and some feeling of unconfortability turned out to have no full basis, as I kept meeting nice people (about this not “full basis”, I will tell more later in my post about Sarajevo).
There is one thing about me: I learned, I only have to remind myself I am a good person and I attract good people and with that mindset I can experience only good. I confirm, it works.
Thanks to my years spent among ex-Yugoslavians in Hungary, I speak a mixed version of the languages, without specific accent, so basically noone can guess where I am from. Later, my landlord in Mostar said, she would never say I am from Vojvodina, because those people have special accent (I agree, even people from different cities/villages differ in accents), plus, I am Hungarian and she could not feel for a single second I was not born Serbian. And this brings me to the fact that I always like to emphasize as even my friends mix it: I am Hungarian born in Vojvodina, norths of Serbia and proud to be born there, proud to speak both Hungarian AND Serbian, but none of my parents are Serbians and yes, we were speaking some kind of mixed Hungarian language at home, not Serbian. Yet, Serbia is my first home country and it will be always, even living now in my native home country, Hungary, which I adore with all it problems.
Anyway, back to Republika Srpska in Bosnia…
We were driving along and toward our goal to reach our first destination and that was Sarajevo, the capital.
While driving on the way, we found a very funny road sign, I am so sorry I did not make a photo about it (I will get back there yet definitely and make it!). The sign was saying: ” Ćevapi na putu! It means: Ćevaps on the road (you need to live in the areas of the Balkans to understand this joke. The whole Balkans is famous for this grilled meat/food, so having them “on the way” is not surprising at all, but this advertising sign was for me an immediate step on the gas and also on the break in front of the restaurant.
We reached an ethno place and restaurant called “Kotromanićevo” (ooops, you need to know Cyrilic letters or carry this photo with you :D).
It was a shockingly beautiful oasis in middle of nowhere. The small house lower (3rd photo) is actually a place for two for having a lunch, there is a table inside with 2 chairs. I made much more photos, unfortunately I cannot post them all here, but look…
The place is ideal for weddings and company events.
If you are around do not even think, I told my friend Karina, those were the best ćevapi ever in my life that I have ate. After we finished our meal, we “pé na estrada” and
Sarajevo was calling!!!!!! and I was getting Brazilian music boost along the whole trip, I learned how to pronounce Karina’s nickname properly, got introduced to all Pablo Vitar hit songs, BUT, one song caught my heart and mind and it is now on my “Repeat list” almost 24 hour. If you meet me in the street with earphones, you can ask me to handover to check what I am listening 🙂
YES, it is also a Brazilian song, put it on it will move you:
Read my next post soon!