Welcome to Sarajevo

…is a movie I want to see (to excuse the likely copyright infringement of this post title).

Sarajevo was one of my most eagerly anticipated stops on this trip, though I couldn’t even tell you exactly why in concrete terms. I think it was just the various references I’d heard: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand (I was really into my Great War elective in 7th grade), the Olympics, the vague snippets of the Bosnian War and the siege that I knew/remembered. Colleagues from Bulgaria who had visited listed it among their favorites. I had no idea what it looked like or what the vibe was like, but I was excited.

Sarajevo has not disappointed. We are leaving later this morning for Mostar, but I would happily stay here longer and just wander, endlessly. It is the city and the country that we have researched the most in depth out of curiosity and fascination (granted, this may be partly because we had more time here to spend reading Wikipedia entries in our airbnb place), and it is one of the European cities I have been most intrigued by. I want to try to relay a little bit of the impression the city has made on me in just two days, though pictures and words don’t compare to the living, breathing experience.

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Random Balkan notes

Bosnia has Cinnamon Toast Crunch (WHY HAVE I BEEN LIVING IN BULGARIA FOR 3 YEARS AND NOT BOSNIA?!).

There was a children’s puppet show at sundown in Old Town Kotor, Montenegro, and it had an environmental theme:

So far as we could tell from our limited comprehension of Serbian/Montenegrin (based on our limited knowledge of Bulgarian), the main characters were that trash collector with his dancing dumpster and recycle bin pals, two conscientious neighborhood women, and one punk who wears his ballcap backwards (which clearly makes him EVIL), throws trash out into The Nature, and uproots flowers just for the sadistic pleasure of it.

In a quest to eat something other than Balkan food (given that it’s basically all the same as Bulgarian food which we’ve been eating for three years), we have started trying to get international cuisine when we can. In the last few days, we’ve had Montenegrin Chinese food, Bosnian Mexican food, and Bosnian sushi. The Bosnian sushi was by far the best. Montenegrin Chinese food is better than Bulgarian Chinese food but is still not really Chinese food. Bosnian Mexican food was not great, maybe around the same level as Egyptian Mexican, worse than German Mexican and well behind Macedonian Mexican, which is still the best we’ve found anywhere outside the U.S.