It's a Long Road to Sarajevo

22 Jul 2013

Bosnia is an amazing country to visit for the scenery, but its capital Sarajevo is full of history.

Good friend Anna from Oz decided it was about time for another escape and we decided to do a little road trip around the Balkans. You know, because, why not?

Mistake number 1: we didn't book a car. We arrived in Rijeka (Croatia) and with nowhere and no available to be hired, we just wandered around the city.



Our first pleasant surprise was realising how cheap it all was! We got a punnet of raspberries in a market for about 30 pence and later stopped at a local restaurant to have a main of fish and vegetables for under £4.




But as the day went by we realised we needed to get ourselves somewhere. Our very detailed spreadsheet of the cities and places we wanted to visit in the short time we had available had the names of our planned destinations written all over it. On the box beside Day 1 was clearly marked: Banja Luka, Bosnia. Well, at that moment we were not only NOT near Banja Luka, we were in a different country altogether. So the plan formed itself: let's get to the next biggest city from where we can take a bus to Banja Luka.

We purchased bus tickets to Zagreb from where we would take another bus to Banja Luka. But we arrived late and tired and decided to call it a day. We found this lovely hostel Lika run by Marco and Ilona (and their son too I believe) where we paid for a double bedroom and after a refreshing shower we headed to the new back patio/ BBQ area where Marko offered us a Rakija he had made himself, a grappa-based drink infused with medicinal rose petals to make a brandy liqueur, very tasty. This night was also BBQ night, and we watched as Marko marinated and grilled massive pieces of steak. We sat there with other travellers, chatting about where we were going next and all that.

The next morning we took an early bus directly to Sarajevo - we were already behind on our schedule. 




The views from the bus were stunning. Although we were tired, we didn't want to fall asleep as we were effectively crossing over to Bosnia by bus and the landscapes changed so dramatically.
The journey was long and we could not find enough ways to stretch our legs, feet and back, even with the several stops made to cross the border and for toilet breaks.

When we eventually arrived in Sarajevo it was 5pm and we were exhausted. It took us a little while to take a taxi to our host's home and even then we were over-charged by so many Euros (she later said). But it was a sweet, sweet arrival to our host's home and we were greeted with delicious Bosnian coffee, pears, Turkish delight and lots of information on sight-seeing.






As the house was super close to the Old Town, we decided to give it a whirl and explore by foot.



Our hosts recommended Villa Saraj to have the most authentic Cevapis in town. Cevapis are a traditional food - basically minced beef shaped into barrels (sausage-looking thingies) and stuffed inside a super soft pita-style bread that in reality is nothing like pita bread. Raw onions are served on the side and some cheese and natural yogurt is poured on top.


Incidentally Villa Saraj also makes the best coffee I have ever tried.

We finished the day off with some sheesha smoking in town in the company of each other, our host and her friends. It was not until that night before we went to sleep and as we were getting plans ready for the following day that we started looking at our bookings for accommodation and our hosts' pictures online that we realised we had made a big, big mistake.... but I'll tell all about that on the next post on Sarajevo.

Zagreb's Hostel Lika is a 12 minute walk from the main bus station. Their website: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Hostel-Lika/Zagreb/17575 and they are recommended locally and in the guidebook we had: Rough Guide to Croatia

Our lovely stay in Sarajevo was at Mickey's Place, found through Airbnb.com
Though simple, it is a welcoming and warm place to stay with genuinely friendly and kind people. Their link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1167329


4 comments

  1. Your photos are so beautiful, I love how you managed to capture the feel of the city! Sounds like such a fun adventure, I'd like to do this when I'm a little olderxx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I would definitely recommend staying a little longer and finding local hosts to stay with, the experience was unforgettable x

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  2. Caterina, it is wonderful, that you are back!! These shots look oh so inspiring. Can't wait for the next post!!

    xx

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