Epic European Cycle : 2015-10-11 : Sarajevo

Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Notes Actions
General Info Seige of Sarajevo $0.00
General Info Seattle Times Article War shattered the soul of Sarajevo $0.00
Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total Notes Actions
Sight See Javni WC $0.00 The oldest operating WC in Europe. Saw it. Used it.
Tour Free Sarajevo Walking Tour $0.00
Type Name Service Provider Confirmation Location Cost Notes Actions
Pension Guest House Toplik Booking.com Sarajevo $101.00 Three nights
Toplik br. 5 71000 Sarajevo
Amar is amazing. Very knowledgeable and helpful... in fact, above and beyond helpful. WiFi is strong and the property is nice, clean and comfortable. Convenient to downtown core.
5km from bus depot (although Amar solved that problem by picking us up in the rain). Taxis in Sarajevo are challenging and difficult, but again, Amar solved that problem for us too by driving us to the airport early in the morning!

Trip Log

Notes Actions
Marima took us on a walking tour of Sarajevo in the relentless rain today. It was really interesting to hear her personal stories about the war. She was seven years old when the war started.

She told us about how there was never shelling before 10AM in her town, so everyone did everything they needed to before 10:00 (for Marima and the other kids, that meant going to school from 7:30 to 9:30 only) then staying in the basement of their apartment building the rest of the time. For fourty-four months!

She also told us about the marketplace which, during the war, didn't have the usual garden produce and such, but rather, humanitarian supplies from the UN. Supplies provided were supposed to be free for everyone, but some people grabbed up more than they needed and then re-sold it back to their neighbors. Sad. Also the food was hideously old and rotten. She said that in a bag of rice, for every two grains of rice there was a dry dead worm. She said that one of the main provisions was unlabelled undated cans of supposed meat that was mostly an unnatural pink meat gelatin. She said that the rumor is (and that she believes the rumor) that the provisions sent to Sarajevo were leftovers from WWII and the Vietnamese wars.

She also talked about how people's reaction changed as the siege went on. In the first month, unable to get tobacco, her father "smoked every tea bag in the house". When Marima objected, he assured her that the war would be over in one month. During the first month or so, everyone stayed in the basements and only adults went out if absolutely necessary. After the first month, the siege became routine and kids were sent out (ie. to early morning school) but ran all the way there and wall the way back to avoid being hit by a shell.

Another story was about a neighbor lady. Early in the war, they ran out of firewood. So, over time, they burned their furniture... walls... floors... everything that would burn... until they ran out of pretty much everything. One day the neighbor lady was desperate to make a cup of coffee. She couldn't find anything to burn to heat her water for coffee, so finally she ended up burning her sweater to heat the water.

She told us a lot of things but those really stuck with me.
We saw the sculpture, Multicultural Man Builds the World on our tour today. Marima said that when the sculpture was first gifted to Sarajevo, many people found his nudity disturbing, so someone put a pair of red underwear on him. The underwear were removed, but they form a story in Marima's tour and she talks about how he doesn't wear underwear anymore. Except today. She says last night he was nude, but when we went by today, he had a set of black undies on. Heheheh.
Marima told us a bit more about Sarajevo's multi-culturalism. Sarajevo, supposedly, is "a haven of peaceful multiculturalism, a city where the constituent peoples of Bosnia (Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs) and many others (Jews, atheists, diplomats) reside in mutual love and affection". But from what Marima said, it sounds like the city is "love and affection" only toward the three constituent peoples. The country has three presidents - one for each population. Everyone who is not from one of those three groups is simply categorized as "other". One of the worst things, it sounds like, about being an "other" is that there are job quotas for each of the three groups, and only "whatever is left over" is available to the "others". Bosnia has an unemployment rate of 45% (65% in young people). Horrifying. Marima said that if a Muslim (Bosniak) married a Catholic (Croat), their children would be "others". Horrifying.