It’s been a busy few days out here in Bosnia and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.
I had my last day exploring the ‘Bosnian Pyramid’ Complex and went on a tour with one of the ‘Official’ guides from the Foundation, who was still none the less ‘doing a foreigner’ (I mean that in the ‘making money for himself’ way and not the ‘Millsy was bent over a rusty barrel’ type way). I was joined on the unofficial / official tour by a German couple, one of which was a mathematics professor and the other an economist. We were taken to many of the sites I visited a few days previously, when I was taken round by the unofficial unofficial tour guide (who had incidentally been introduced to me be an official one??). Again there was a major pushing of the spiritual side of the complexes, which is not really my thing and on more than one occasion I found myself with my shoes and socks off, lay on my back and rhythmically chanting to help me feel the force!
I discussed the whole issue of the pyramids, energies and spirituality with the two Germans and they both stated they felt energies and believed there was ‘something’ going on. These are two educated and respected people so it it is not something that can be dismissed as the ramblings of an easily influenced fool?
I sat that night and had another couple of beers with the two lads I chatted to the previous weekend. They were happily taking the piss out of each other and it was good to watch. They both thought I had caught a decent sun tan since our last meeting but it’s unfortunately only a T-shirt tan and I look a biff if my top is bare!
Nihad, they guy who owns the Hostel / Campsite, had approached me previously and asked if I wanted to rent his house In Sarajevo for the time I was going to be there? He gave me a good price and, as Andrea was flying in on the Tuesday, I thought it was a great idea. Not only that but he said his daughter would drive me there and make sure I got in ok and knew the WIFI code etc.
So that afternoon we set off in her car to dive the 30km into the city. His daughter represented Bosnia in this years Winter Olympics and I asked her all about it as we travelled. She is only 18 and still probably has 1 maybe 2 more Olympics in her. There is very little / no support from the government at present, so it has been purely self training and funding..a massive fair play to her and the family. Got to the house and decided to wait until the next day to explore the city, so settled down to watch Netflix and trough on bread n pate and other goodies I’d bought from the local shop.
I have spent Days 64 – 70 exploring Sarajevo, including partaking in a couple of tours and also been joined by Andrea my partner who is spending a week to ten days with me. I have to say I love the place, it has such a mixture of cultures and influences, which when combined with the relaxed friendly atmosphere make it a great place to visit and experience.
Sarajevo ….Interesting Facts!!
1) It is a relatively small city with an estimated urban population of 440,000 (total population for Bosnia is 3.5 million), and as such only has a relatively small city centre, but the advantage of that is that its compact and vibrant. It has a clash of cultures as east meets west and this makes it a very diverse place.
2) It was under siege for 44 months from 1992 onwards after it was encircled by Serbian forces.
3) It held the Winter Olympics in 1984 and the bob-sleigh track is still there and is named as one of the best abandoned places in the world (we walked down the track).
4) Franz Ferdinand was assassinated here in 1914, which was the spark that began WW1. (We stood on the corner where it happened)
5) During the Bosnian war, one Serbian wrote graffiti on the post office wall that said “this is Serbia” a non Serbian wrote underneath “No you fool, you idiot, this is the post office”
6) There was an 800 m long tunnel dug under the Airport through which supplies, men and material were smuggled into the city.
7) Most locals think the UN was useless during the war and refer to it as “United Nothing”.
8) The oldest clock in the city is next to the oldest mosque, and is set to Lunar Time (this apparently becomes useful when fasting for Ramadan).
9) Over 1500 children were killed during the siege, many shot by snipers.
10) There was a famous couple from the war who were from each side of the divide, (one Serbian catholic one Bosnian Muslim), they organised with both sides that they could leave Sarajevo and would leave the country in order to live together. As they crossed a bridge to leave the man was shot and killed instantly. The woman went to his body and was also shot and killed. The bodies lay on the bridge for 7 days.
If you ever travel to Sarajevo (and I truly recommend you should its a great city), I can recommend Enis as a tour guide, he is energetic, entertaining, knowledgeable and witty. A top man
BH Spirit Tours Sarajevo.
Experienced the first corruption as we travelled into the city on the tram. As we got on we could see guys in uniform checking tickets: Now despite my previous history with paying for trams, I thought it was probably prudent to pay for this one (the problem may have arisen due to the tram commandos reading my previous blogs??). I approached one of the guards and asked for two tickets, he took me to his partner who then immediately said I had to pay a fine of 25 euro each for having no valid tickets. We were taken off the tram and told they wanted our passports, to which they were told ‘no chance sunny Jim’.
They 2 guards tried to get very threatening saying they were calling the police and we were in trouble unless we paid. A 3rd guard (big meat head sod), arrived and they kept changing the amount of money they wanted, I assume due to they now had to divide it by three. We told them to get the police as we were not paying…this created a bit of a problem for them! They found a waiting passenger who spoke English and tried to push more threats through them interpreting …again we said no…get the police… eventually they realised we were not playing ball and went into a huddle....I was feeling confident by this stage so stood near the group and shook my head in a disapproving way. Eventually they caved in and told us to get on the next tram, but to make sure we had a ticket.....yay us....victory to the best bluffer!!
We saw the same guards next day and the cheeky sods waved at us and gave a thumbs up!! You cant fault them for neck.
Now pushing on towards Serbia then to Romania :o)