“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Augustine of Hippo
MY SUITCASE WAS PACKED and placed into my car, I checked my handbag for my passport one last time and waved at my family before driving to Manchester from my home in North Wales. It felt like I could have been going on just another holiday, except I wasn’t. I was going to visit Bosnia to commemorate the genocide that took place there twenty years ago and to learn about war, I hate war.
I felt both excited and apprehensive. Excited because I was about to spend some time away with my friends, but apprehensive because I did not know what to expect. I had looked through the itinerary prepared for us by ‘remembering Srebrenica’ but did not know anything beyond this.
Our flight was to depart from London, Heathrow to Sarajevo via Vienna, early in the morning on Sunday 6th September 2015. We belonged to a group of 24, but I travelled by myself from North Wales to Manchester on Saturday, where I met Munira, Melissa and Ambreen, you can read more about them in the ‘about us’ section. The rest of our lovely group had arranged for a mini van to take them in the early hours of Sunday morning.
We all packed into Munira’s car and Ambreen and I left our cars at the Car Park of our Mosque in Manchester, and headed off to London where we would be staying the night with Ambreen’s parents.
AFTER ARRIVING IN LONDON, we quickly ate and got into bed although we had around 30 – 60 minutes of sleep before we had to get ready again for our taxi which took us to the airport. We then met with the rest of our group and started to check in – at those self-check in counters, which don’t allow you to pick your own seats, meaning that we had to rearrange ourselves once on the flight so that we wouldn’t spend the next few hours alone.
The plane set off and we entertained and fed ourselves until we landed in Vienna, at this point we had the quickest transit: walking off one plane (almost) straight onto the next, temporarily loosing our cameraman David along the way.
ON THE JOURNEY from Vienna to Sarajevo, we decided to submit our first diary entries. Ambreen had brought with her a diary that had been gifted to her from Melissa. The idea was to write in it as much and often as possible during the trip, so that we could collect facts and accurately record our emotions and reflections as we experienced them: a contemporaneous report.
The first few entries consisted of our expectations; apprehensions; expressions of excitement and gratitude; along with a number of prayers.
Here are Ambreen’s and my thoughts, I apologise for my illegible handwriting in advance.
A BREAD ROLL AND A CUP OF TEA LATER we were descending onto Sarajevo. Looking out of my window, I was surprised to note that the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina was right in the middle of so much greenery, and that the city itself was scarcely populated, I am not quite sure what I expected, something Manchester sized perhaps? Later on I went to find out that the entire population of Bosnia is just fewer than 4 Million, half that of London’s.
To read more about the trip from Ulia try | Day 2: ICMP