We landed on the hot, toasty afternoon in Sarajevo approximately at around 2pm. Although only around 2 hours away from London it surely did feel like I was abroad. The sun caressed mine and Ulia’s faces with its warm heat, it felt great (although I’m sure the other 2 would beg to differ).
Once we got our luggage and waited for the crew to get theirs we headed out and met our tour guy for the day Suvad. He actually was a survivor of the horrible genocide only being a year or two older than me.
We reached hotel Hollywood where we was staying within no time. We only had 30 minutes after checking in to freshen up and pray. I must say 25 minutes of the 30 minutes went into the excitement of everybody’s themed room, running in and out and basically going wild!
Once we hopped back onto the coach for 3:55 Suvad gave us a little tour around the city. The city/valley was beautiful. But at the same time it was cutting to see bullet holes all over buildings. Scars of 20 years not healed, that truly got us deep. Despite that it really seemed like a tourist place. We went to the town center where we had lunch. He fed us this amazing fluffy bread stuffed with fresh onions and finger sized kebabs. It was yummy!
After food we walked through the town center. I loved the cultural little market, full of shops that sold traditional things.
Suvad gave us a little background on some items. We got to an area that had a shisha place and a shop of traditional textiles, Suvad explained that the top of the buildings where these shops are; housed 300 people during the war. I remember looking up and glancing around and imagining the fear these people must have felt.
We carried on further to the fountain that supplied free water in the middle of the city center that came directly from the mountains. It was strange how one side of the city center reminded me of something I would imagine Istanbul to look like and the other side seemed more western looking…. it was like best of both !
We carried on walking through the city center and many a times came across greetings of ‘Assalamo Alaikum’ (may peace be on you) in Arabic by beautiful modestly dressed young girls with hijab. I found that very inspiring as young girls wouldn’t necessarily do that here to other unknown Muslim ladies. There was no sense of arrogance or superiority in their nature, they seemed down to earth humble beautiful girls….. and when I say beautiful I’m not just being polite.
On our journey back to the hotel Suvad kindly told us his story of the war.. to find out his amazing account click here.
His account hit home to all of us.. as he was pretty much the same generation as us all.
It easily could’ve been me.. we thought..
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