Eurotrip – Sarajevo, 11 November 2013

I would have liked a good night’s sleep but unfortunately we’re in the centre of the old town. Which in this case doesn’t mean drunks, it means dawn prayer calls from the mosque right opposite our apartment. Oh well.

After a quick breakfast we take a look at Sarajevo for the first time by daylight. It’s pretty – houses built up against the hills that remind me quite a lot of home – albeit that they have some serious mountains behind some of them. We’d planned to wander around the old town for a bit, but it is raining harder than it has on this whole trip, so we go back to the room to relax.

Lunch is a delicious boreg (borek/bourek – a pastry dish with meat or spinach or potato inside). We get to see how they’re made (baked on a covered tray hanging in an oven and covered with hot coals).

Our next move is the Tunnel Tour – a guided tour of the airport tunnel that was vital to Sarajevo in the seige. Basically, they dug an 800m tunnel under the airport runway (which was UN territory and therefore protected from Serb attacks) in order to run supplies from Bosniak-held territory into Sarajevo, while avoiding snipers (who had killed 100s of people in the months before the tunnel as they ran across the runway). You can walk into the tunnel a little way, carry a pack with the equivelant weight that they were carrying, and there’s an exhibition of uniforms, tools, emergency food supplies, etc. The best part of the tour was that the guide had been an 18-year-old policeman during the seige, so he had himself run food and equipment through the tunnel. He gave a detailed account of what life was like and pointed out many sites on the way to the airport. Really sobering stuff, and good to hear his commitment to a multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, while at the same time wanting to make sure that 1992-5 was not forgotten.

It was still raining when we finished the tour so we headed home, where I’m getting ready for a job interview via Skype.

About simonchamberlain

New Zealand librarian and music fan, living in London.
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