Balkans – End

The Balkans are a fascinating, very diverse region in Southeast Europe which had to deal with a lot of conflicts in recent history – the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the resulting Yugoslav wars made it almost impossible to travel the region from 1991 to 2001.

A lot has changed since those darker days and most of the countries are back on track, the reconstruction is in its final stages and the tourism is on the rise. Changes can also be seen in the countries which haven’t been affected by the wars – Bulgaria became part of the EU, developed it’s infrastructure and is seeing an economic growth, even though this growth decreased recently.

Learnt so much about the Balkans during the trip. I find it so rewarding knowing that this was a region previously so foreign, so completely unknown to me. But now I know just a little teeny bit better.

Yay! Done with this!

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina



Watch 😥







With its east meets west ambience, it may feel like you are wandering the markets of Istanbul, or strolling through Vienna the next street over. This is because Bosnia was influenced by the Ottoman empire which ruled from the late 1400’s, and then Austrian-Hungarians who took control for a short period of time in the late 1800’s.


There’s something I really like about Sarajevo – the stories, the people I’ve met, it’s rich history, how the east meets west – you could be wandering the Ottoman-style bazaars on one corner and strolling through the European architecture on another. Somewhere near the Latin bridge, Gavrilo Princip assassinated Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, triggering the start of WW1.



The Latin bridge

 
Even looking through these pictures bring back the heavy-heartedness I felt when walking around the city. Has it already been more than 4 months? Wow.
I spent a long time in the Srebrenica exhibition. I went back to it the second day, because there was so much to see.



I am reminded of my time in Poland.




Near my hostel in the old town bazaar


you can still see the scars along the streets



a Sarajevo rose (without the red resin)

What happened at this very spot? I couldn’t help but wonder




After being here the words of brisi continue to float in my mind. I thought I’d be keen to find out first hand accounts of the war – I am, undeniably a part of me remains curious, but a larger part of me feels a little sickened. Sickened by the reality surrounding me. Depressed, a little. And at the same time feeling hypocritical because what do I have to be depressed about? How could I ever understand? What do I want to hear these accounts for? To satisfy my morbid curiosity, for drama?
What do you want to know this for? It feels like you come here and you take and you take all these information, and what do you give to us?





There was one thing he said that struck me – the idea that mankind learns from the mistakes of history hardly contains the truth 
The international community and its indifference 
A man wears a shirt that says ‘dead of alive’, the white slogan sprawled across his chest. He lies in a pool of red.
I pondered at the irony captured by the camera, and took out a piece of Turkish delight to chew. I stood there, watching the short film on ‘Syrias war: a journal of pain’, drinking my water and eating my sweets. What a picture I must make. 


I thought back to the hostel man this morning. He has lived through the Sarajevo siege. Anyone older that me has experienced the war in some way. Everyone that passes me. 
Too many thoughts
I think the war did impact the people and the city’s values in some ways and I could see how it did leave some kind of influence on her
Sarajevo’s unemployment rate is so high
At least 40% or sth
And seems like they get jobs by connections not qualifications
Bad for the future economy
Twin towers and contrasting theories 
As in the notion that the US could have been the mastermind behind the whole ‘war on terror’
I did read about how the war on terror could be a justification for their invasion of oil-rich countries but to think that they executed the act of destruction of the twin towers…
Calendars of Tito
International indifference
 

 

Moster – Sniper’s tower (dark tourism)

I spotted it from some distance away. I had read about it online, and I had to admit there was something intriguing about it, I wanted to see it for myself. Dark tourism – voyeuristic intentions to catch a glimpse of such a haunting past.

 

 
 
 
 
The graffiti art lined the outer walls of the sniper tower. It was in this tower that the Serbs had apparently gunned down many innocent lives.
The bulletholes leave their marks. The youths of today have tried to transform this scar-ridden landscapes and make their own meanings, to voice their views.
 
 
😦


 
 

they all end in -93
 
I walked around heavy-hearted, pondering about the people I walk by. 20 years, 20 years isn’t that long. The people next to me could have witnessed it, or their parents. I felt… sad.
 
But what do I know? Really, really what do I know? I am just a tourist, another cloud passing by, shaking my head at the poor bullet scars of bosnia’s tragedy, and then I move on, enraptured by the next panorama of a city, another picture-worthy coast. And I say ‘I felt sad’ – really? 

I felt sad, and then i felt hypocritical

 

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ah, from Dubrovnik I caught the evening bus to Mostar, and reached at about 9+pm. It was coooooold and foggy.



Mostar and Sarajevo are one of my favourite cities for sure. I learnt a lot from the days within the cities. 



There, the bridge of Mostar





I met 2 Turkish guys on the bus and we went to look for a hostel together. They told me a little about the history of the place; on hindsight I knew so little then. Never heard of Bosnia y Herzegovina before 2014, didn’t know how they looked, what language they spoke, the streets, the history. Nothing, no geographical imagination of it, none. (mm, ignorance i admit ignorance)


Books to read: 

The death of me of Yugoslavia
They would never hurt a fly slavenka drakulic
 
I find signs like this intriguing. It’s like seeing ‘ARGENTINA’ etched across a bus, knowing I was actually heading there. Likewise, seeing Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. These are cities I’ve heard about, read about, researched about, and I was here, standing in front of signs that were actually leading me there. My heart buzzed with excitement. 
 
Well, Mostar in the morning. I woke up at 9+, eager to head out. Said bye to the guys who raved about the bureks in Bosnia – ‘people in Turkey sell ‘bureks from Bosnia’ as a branding’ – and headed towards another hostel. It was a lovely hostel, one located in the central area of the lively bazaar.
 
 
What struck me about Mostar: the buildings… the crumbling remains of buildings. The scars of the snipers. The broken hollow echoes on the ground. I’d never seen the remnants of war so upfront, so starkly and nonchalantly sitting in the corners of the city.
It felt… strange. Understanding its history later on in the museums dropped some sort of weight in my heart as i walked along these… pretty recent remains.
 



Went into the mosque and the viewing tower


 
how many hundred(s) years old is this?


 




The beautiful Stari Most!


 
Where are the summer frogmen that dive into the river?
 
 
 
 
Such a quiet lovely place. I walked past a boy singing (basking). I gave him the rest of my oranges. He was so young, only 12 or so.