Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Beginning in Sarajevo - 2010

From as long as I can remember, Europe was always fascinating to me.
Somewhat in its history, from my ancestry, and the different legends/relics of time that were formed there. But really, for me, it was about the diverse cultures and the sheer weight of how different it was to the US.
So many countries within traveling distance of one another that I just couldn't wait to see.
Hence why I signed up for the Eurotour some teachers from my high school put on every 2 years. This trip was right after I graduated and it was the perfect timing.

At first, I was very nervous. My sister was going, which I had not wanted from the start, but thankfully I knew some other people going on the trip that I could group up with and try to keep up.

After the long flight, the stop in Frankfurt and the transfer to our night train (which was awesome because we had to stop in the middle of our trip due to lightning) it was a crazy busy start to our trek already.
We stopped in Croatia for a few hours and got to visit their amazingly beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park. We rowed around in some cool boats for awhile and had a blast!

After this we had rented cars and drove on to our first destination of the trip, Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Initially, I didn't know much about this place, except for that it was in Europe (thankfully I knew that) but I definitely learned a lot more.
I didn't know that recently they had been in a war, until after we had gotten there. Our hostel that we stayed in had a cemetery on the way down into the city, which we walked by every day we were there.

It was sad to see the ruins of the city and to know that it had happened so recently.

Our best time was just walking around the city, the views were amazing and we had a great guide. The food was amazing too! We had a traditional breakfast one morning of their well know Cevapi, which is a mince meat patty or sausage with bread.

We wandered around the marketplace a lot and would find things that we liked. We made a lot of side trips while we were here as well, like to see the Dervish house in Blagaj Tekke which was pretty awesome.

We also met up and traveled into Serbia to visit with a foreign exchange student who had been at our school. We had to be escorted by police officers and were brought to meet the mayor of the town of Priboj for a feast (which the showcased on their evening news and in their newspaper). After which we visited a monastery and a mosque and of course, watched some local basketball.
We also had the pleasure to visit Mostar, which is a really fascinating place, from the busy markets to the bridge people dive off of.

This was only the start to our month long journey. 3 days may not seem like a lot, but as you can see we made the most of our time. If you've ever thought about going, do it. While there are a lot of pickpockets in the city, most of the people are very nice and helpful.
Just be aware and wear your backpacks on the front of you, it's weird but it's not as easy for people to steal your things!

Cheers and safe travels! More to come...

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