Before going to Sarajevo, the only time the city ever crossed my mind was when I played the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve Sarajevo." In fact I'm pretty sure my mind had stored the city in Russia. Well this is why you travel, folks, so that you get around to knowing where Sarajevo is.
In Sarajevo more than any of the other cities, children approached us and begged. At an outside lunch restaurant, a girl with dirt on her cheeks and a rodent like overbite came up behind Tiara and stood with her hand out, saying, "Hey, hey, hey, hey" one "hey" for every 4 seconds and did not leave for approximately 7 minutes, despite one of us occasionally shaking a head or a finger at her.
It had been explained to all of us that children are sold to begging pimps who send these children out into the streets to beg. The children are expected to bring the generosity of tourists back to their masters, who beat them if they do not bring enough.
When asked for money, therefore, we have to choose between on the one hand contributing to and helping perpetuate an abominable system and on the other the child in front of us being beaten.
That the choice that is, in the long run, the right one, as far as my knowledge and philosophical bent suggest, coincides with my not giving away my money, is convenient. I might only wish I felt worse when making it.
We went on a tour that we booked through Sarajevo Funky Tours, but unlike the Mostar tour, this one was all seriousness. That was good though because we really got educated about the Bosnian War. It made me realize I must take my future children on such tours when they are old enough to understand at all.
|The Tunnel of Life, used to get people and supplies to the Bosnians during the siege of Sarajevo|
|2nd largest Jewish cemetery in Europe|
|So many of them were riddled with holes, hit by mortars, or totally bombed out from the war.|
|Graves from 1640s up|
|In less serious business, out tour guide took us to the 1982-built (for the 1984 Olympics) bobsled, and we got to walk down in for a while. |
You really should go on a tour if you are unfamiliar with the history of the war. Even if you are, hearing the personal stories of people who lived through it is really powerful.
|You can get coffee, a beer, dessert, etc. at the top of the Avaz Tower. Unlike Boston's Top of the Hub, it's a casual cafe with normal prices.|
|Also unlike the $13 fee to enter the viewing room at the top of the Prudential Center, it costs only 1 KM here, and you can go outside.|
Sarajevesko brewery - Apparently you need 40+ people to get a tour here, as there isn't a real culture of branding and therefore a pursuit of real brand loyalty. So we just ate at the restaurant.
|Sarajevsko Dark on Tap - Turns out the lighter one is better.|
|Three complimentary breads, though only the whole grain one was any good.|
|Beet Salad - really just a pile of beets|
|4 cheese pasta - good|
|Beef Turnedo - 27KM - It came with mixed veggies (from a frozen bag) and fries. The beef and mushrooms were great though, and the doughy layer around the meat was donut-like.|
|Tufahija! I found it on a menu when I was ready for a dessert!|
|Tufahija - 5KM - Stuffed apple with walnuts and cream - A great dessert. We should do more fruit-based desserts in The U.S.|
The brewery was a decent meal, but don't go out of your way.
|They had more flavor options here than at the traditional burek place in Mostar.|
|Though the pastry was better at the Mostar place, the fillings were better here - They more seasoned, plus they came with a yogurt/sour cream sauce. The minced meat and garlic one was the best.|
|Our tour guide in Sarajevo told us they had better cevapi here than in Mostar, but, at least at the place we went to, Mostar's cevapi and kaymek were better.|
The bead had the same nicely oiled, fire-delicious taste though. Mmm wood-oven pita...
There are lots of little dessert places with tempting display cases.
|The chocolate cake sucked, as per usual anywhere in the world.|
|The bombica, however, was awesome. It was slightly coconuty, and the chocolate was so dense without being too much somehow.|
|I had passed by this sign every morning and wanted to try whatever that picture was so badly.|
|The reality wasn't as beautiful (and not nearly as light), but it was an oily piled of potatoes, cheese, meat and sauce. Obviously, scrumptious, if regrettable. Please share this with at least one other person.|
|The marketplace, with the monument wall to those who died in the big market bombing during the war|
|The fresh pomegranate juice was incredibly flavorful. Fresh-squeezed is the only way to go.|
Serbian (or Srpski (pronounced surb-skah) words to know:
Thank you - hvala
Beer - pivo
Draft (beer) - toceno
Chocolate - cokolada
Strawberry - jagoda
Fig - smokva
Next: Sarajevo's International Restaurants