Stunningly beautiful, isn’t it?
Food in Bosnia is cheap. I had espresso and a slice of delicious cake for a little over $2. I had a huge plate of burek and a can of Coke for about $3.
People speak a lot of English, and are patient with my pidgin Croatian (which becomes pidgin Bosnian there, because the two languages are almost identical). The locals have a wonderfully dark sense of humor. They smoke too much and drive like they’re insane. They drink Bosnian coffee with Turkish delight or baklava. They seemed delighted to show off their country to me.
But then there’s the heartbreak part. See that beautiful, famous bridge in Mostar? It was destroyed during the war and had to be rebuilt. Damaged and destroyed buildings are still everywhere in Bosnia. In Sarajevo and Mostar you can’t go outside without seeing signs of the war on buildings and sidewalks.
That’s an apartment building. You can see where a shell hit it and where the shrapnel sprayed. The only buildings without signs of damage are those built after the war or repaired. Everything else is marked. Sidewalks still have holes. The ones painted red are called Sarajevo Roses–they designate places where people died.
And the people are marked too, although they aren’t the least bit bleak. You can see some of what I mean in the top photo I posted, where rows of gravestones in the foreground all date from 1992-1995. That cemetery was once a park. But Sarajevans couldn’t leave the besieged city to bury their dead, so they buried them wherever they could.
One of my guides lost his father, stepbrother, grandmother, and all his possessions during the war. The other spent a long time trapped–with 60,000 other people–between two different enemy armies, unable to get food or medical care, watching her hometown being destroyed.
Bosnians like to quote Churchill, who said the Balkans generates more history than it can consume. That breaks my heart. That Bosnians can survive all this with courage, good humor, and graciousness is why my heart’s stolen as well.
17 thoughts on “Lost my heart”
Thanks for visiting my country you should go and visit other places in Bosnia and Herzegovina …Trebinje Bihac Banja Luka …
I only had a few days this time, but I definitely hope to return soon and see more of the country! Your country is an amazing place.
dear author’m glad that you were in Sarajevo, I want to repeat your arrival and to be your host and even better to get to know my city Greetings from Sarajevo
Hvala lijepo! I definitely hope to return soon to see more of your beautiful city.
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outl0strokewidth0 strokec2 Thank you for this wonderful review of my home country and my fathers home city! Even to us expats thrown about the world post war the love and the heart break for our country are all too real. The best we can all do is not to forget
I think it’s important to remind the world what happened–but also to let them know that there’s more to Bosnia than a tragic past.
I am from Bosnia currently live in the US Florida Tampa bay area. I was recently in Bosnia and loved it very much, besides the smoking part. I am not a smoker and that was a little weird to me that people smoke so much there. Country is very beautiful and it is not that expensive, well taking in consideration that we are coming from US and are on our vacation.
The smoking is hard to get used to. Especially coming from California, where sometimes smoking’s banned even outdoors. But everyplace has its downsides, and BiH is very beautiful.
I am glad you think so, when are you planing to visit again?
Probably not for a while, unfortunately. I have to return to the US in a few days. Maybe next year!
There are several amazing small places around the country that are definitely worth visiting, such as Blagaj, Pocitelj, Trebinje, Stolac, Kravice (which you could all visit in one day), as well as Visegrad, Konjic, Travnik and Jajce 🙂
I definitely recommend checking them out
Thank you for the recommendations! I only had a very short visit this time, but next time I hope to see more.
Thank you very much for sharing this. I enjoyed seeing it. Both of my grandfathers were Croatian (though I’m not entirely sure from where and as we dig we’re learning Dad’s side might actually not be Croatian like we were told but actually Hungarian) so it’s nice to see some of the country they’re from (at least in theory). Part of my pen name was my Croatian Great Grandmother’s name.
Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire for quite a while, so maybe they were both. Jana is a brand of bottled water in Croatia. 🙂
I enjoyed your comments. I’m an American that has lived here for 14 years. I originally came to do humanitarian work. My wife is here and our children have grown up here. My heart is also broken for Sarajevo and Bosnia and Hercegovina. I will always carry her and her people in my heart.
Thank you, Merle. Even after a few days, I can understand why you love BiH. What an amazing place.
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