Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Visoko and Sarajevo

                                               10 Bold Observations on Life in Visoko:

1) the best bakeries are the small family ones.
2) you quickly learn to love Islam and their loudspeaker broadcasts 4 times a day -

3) at the small bakeries each marka (.68¢) buys a POUND of food! (One morning i ate 5 Markas-worth) -

4) local folks dump the old bread and vegetables off the bridges on their way to work. . . and i sit daily on the riverside to watch it float downstream thinking "maybe its a token for their dead ancestors. . . "
5) the 4:40am Islamic prayers are great because they compete for airspace and you're too tired to care which one seems nicer.

6) people are nice too - but only if they're not wearing fancy pants.
7) most people wear fancy pants and relax at one of the 40 cafes around town; talking; caffeinating; smoking -

                             (*this is only his work attire - you should've to seen his Sunday's Best!*)

8) radical rival factions of non-fancy-panters sometimes sit across the street in the shade of their own coolness and quietly observe the common majorities strange herding patterns in cafes (often with techno music bumping (for added comfort)).
9) little kids smoke too, but don't wear fancy pants. . . . . . . . . . .  they are cool.
10) plus, they try to sell weed to the tourists.

                                                         (*oh, nice ride Gramma Goldy!!!*)

            After visiting Visoko I returned to Sarajevo in the morning and tried to catch a train to Mostar (southern Bosnia / or / Northern Herzegovina). Herzegovina is known for its wine and travelers and locals alike have recommended it to me. But, i missed the 6:50am train and did not want to sit on the 6pm train for 3hrs since the ride is suppose to be a great scenic experience.
       This said, i wandered looking for a cheap place to stay and the best thing happened - I found a hotel which is now became the highlight of by Bosnian experience - “Hotel Union”. Unsuspecting from the outside when i walked by - 

        . . . ahhhhhh! I wont go into the details because i just did and it took a few pages of writing so i deleted it and started here again. So ask me personally for the story because I am very eager to tell it. In shortform, the owners are awesome - Magdelena left Bosnian during the war and travelled Europe and lived in the Netherlands for a while. During this all she raised two kids who now also own and run the hotel with her - Igor has a passion for eating new foods (like rat), and Evana who I talked with for hours about anything because everything was fun to talk with her about. And when i left Sarajevo 2 days later Magdelena made me a lunch-sack for the train even though i rejected her offer. . . oh moms.

So, here are some new parts of Sarajevo I wandered through:

                            (*coffee, chicken skewer, sausage, and "meat fingers" with mustard*)

                     (*the word "Sarajevo" comes from Turkish "serai" = palace and possibly "jevo" or valley*)

                                                            (*Michael Jackson-Superman?*)

                                           (*Cheese, market fruits, & Sarajevo beer, yallah!*)

      And on a gloomy Tuesday morning full of separation-anxiety, I caught my train to Mostar.

         It is named Mostar because its what the guards of the Old Bridge were called when it was created by an Ottomon dude in the 1500’s. A visually exciting old town that was plenty of fun for a day. A hot day with cold waters:

                                                       (*Holy Double Cross, Batman!?!*)

                                                (This river is so very cold, and its great!)

                                       (Fisherman (old and young) make their evening cast outs)

           The last leg of my Bosnian Journey was a 6 hour bus trip to the Adriatic Sea. From there we crossed 3 Passport Checkpoints to get to Montenegro. Its a mess of political lines: during the reassignment of Yugoslovian territory after a clusterfuck of UN (United for Nothing!)  intervention, Croatia wanted the coastal city Dubrovnik, but Bosnia wanted coastal access. So for a few miles near the southern stretch of the Croatian shoreline - WHAMMO! - there is Bosnia cutting Croatia into a small piece (like Istanbul is part European and a LOT of Middle East. . . and the Bosphorous is the unnesesary Geo-Political line dividing it) Because of this, i passed from Bosnia to Croatia, Croatia back to Bosnia (as we did the coastal drive), and finally Bosnia to Montenegro -
                                                   (*First glimpse of the Adriatic Sea*)
                          (*Travel buddies for the last 2 days. We kept running into each other*)

         But all in all its very relaxed at the Boarders. They only glance at your passport and hand it back then you get it stamped officially at Montenegro’s checkpoint. So here I am now in a family’s lower extra-room in Herceg Novi, Montenegro. . . tomorrow adventure awaits. . .

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