Sarajevo:Hijabs & beer, together at lastAugust 19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo is in many ways the perfect place to wrap up our trip. There's no iconic landmark here to photograph and show you. It's a city that has survived two world wars (including the event that started WWI), and the longest city siege in world history from 1992-1995. They've rebuilt everything but if you pay close attention to your surroundings, there are bullet holes in buildings everywhere. It doesn't embrace the remnants of war quite like Mostar did, mostly because it's the capital and needs to re-establish itself as a key European center as Bosnia tries to join the EU. But don't get me wrong, no one here forgets or doesn't care.
The downtown/old town has an energy not seen anywhere else we've been. For centuries, Muslims, Jews, orthodox and Catholics lived harmoniously and you can see evidence as mosques reside metres away from synagogues and cathedrals. Every street and side alley has lively cafes with pillows and cushions to relax at, like you were in Istanbul. Sarajevo was under Ottoman rule for over 400 years but it was a peaceful existence for every culture, and not just for Muslims.
We spent our first day relaxing at different cafes, sampling the local cuisine and beverages, and drifting in and out of the numerous Turkish markets that sprawl everywhere downtown. Unlike many other balkan destinations that had a large Muslim presence with mosques or Turkish styled old towns, this city was far more vibrant with hijabs and niqabs on every block, actively shopping or sipping coffees, or taking the family for food somewhere.
Later that evening, met up with my coworker's brother (Chris Manor) and his gf (Jane) again for some craft beers at a cool spot called Vucko with 100 beers on the menu. By the way, those two are backpacking the world for twelve months! Amazing. My mom would probably have a cardiac arrest if I ever did that, but I'll admit it's a very appealing concept. Logistics of many sorts will make it impossible... Dare to dream and all that.
Finding craft beer has not been easy at all this trip, but has made for some fun find-and-seek, where's Waldo type excursions which has almost always been a rewarding endeavor - sometimes the destination, sometimes the journey, and usually both. Sarajevo easily has far more options than anywhere else and we've enjoyed our final hours unravelling that reality. -SPRead more