Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Bosnia: Mostar and Sarajevo
This trip has set me back a couple hundred years with regard to my driving phobia. On the other hand, having seen Greg negotiate our entry into Sarajevo, how hard could wheeling around Brooklyn be? (I, in the navigator's seat, was hard pressed to make out the tiny printing on our 3 maps ... we made four large laps of the university area and drove down yet another pedestrians only street before finding a parking lot, and shortly thereafter, a wonderful place to stay for tonight and tomorrow.
We spent the last couple of days in Mostar, the town whose bridge was blown up in October of 1993. It took ten years to rebuild, and the story of its rebuilding is quite an ordeal. It's one of a handful of touristic sights (the Taj Mahal leading this pack) that truly delivers. It's breathtaking...as is the rushing, aquamarine river it spans. Every July, young men from all over the former Yugoslavia gather to jump off (it's slightly taller than a brownstone) into that freezing water. Sounds like a travel story pitch to me. Especially if it comes with an expense account! I know just where I'd stay, this Turkish nobleman's house that's one part museum, one part traditional-deluxe guesthouse.
We let ourselves get talked into buying another ding dang kilogram of figs.
Milo has a lot of questions about gypsys. Which reminds me, Borat is the king of the video stores here, too.
The drive between Mostar and Sarajevo is some of the finest scenery I've ever experienced. Snow-capped mountains, small farms, that gorgeous Neretva river, and giant haystacks. There is much rubble, too. Many many buildings in Mostar and Sarajevo are bullet ridden (such as the one in this picture). On our return, I plan to dip back into literature about the Balkan conflict, particularly Joe Sacco's graphic novels. It's inspiring and weird to see his stuff for sale in Sarajevan news kiosks, next to the daily paper and flimsy fashion mags.
In other news, Inky, quite unexpectedly, is giving Bosnian cuisine 3 thumbs up. The national dish is cevapcici, a stubby lamb sausage served with thick, greasy pita. My fall from the bridge of Vegetarianism couldn't have been more timely. It's delicious. Pizza's long problematic reign is over for the time being.
Tomorrow, we plan to hit some museums and sit in one of the sidewalk cafes that pave the pedestrian zone leading up to the Cathedral. Excellent people watching, at least for those of us for whom the tattered remains of a much read Archie comic holds zero appeal. Browse the old town. Cevapcici. Ice cream. Greg's been talking about getting his hair cut for so long that I may just go in for a bob my ownself. (These Sarajevans are very chic...and I look like what I am, someone whose underwear was washed in a sink.) Much as I've enjoyed our self-catering apartments, I'm looking forward to our hostesses' included-in-the-price-of-accomodation breakfast.