The Bus Ride
It was an early morning to make it to my 7am bus to Bosnia and Herzegovina! I’m very grateful to Hotel Vestibul Palace not only for the incredibly cool place to stay in Split, but for packing me a delicious little lunch for my bus ride. It really came in handy! This is my first of four bus rides in as many days, and it’s a biggie at over seven hours. The good news was that it was a double-decker bus and that I had a seat up top in the front row! The bad news was that I immediately became very thankful for the interstate highway system that we have at home.
The roads were so incredibly winding and it became immediately clear that it would be impossible to do anything resembling work without making myself feel more sick. So I just slept and watched Netflix for seven hours. The entire trip was rainy and the bus made way too many bathroom stops. It felt like every hour! The ride was fine other than the frequent stops and the annoying guy sitting across the aisle who kept asking to look at the map on my phone. Once or twice is fine, but it was like every twenty minutes and I had to start saying no as he was using up my battery. It was honestly just a bizarre situation and I was glad when he finally got the hint to stop asking.
The countryside was really pretty (at least what of it that I could see through the rain) and over seven hours later I finally arrived in Sarajevo! It was around 3pm so I would only have a few hours of sunlight left to explore the city. I went ahead and bought my bus ticket for tomorrow and then took a taxi to my hotel, Hotel Story. It was not a long ride at all and when I arrived I was able to meet the two very sweet girls working there, Ilma and Elvedina. They were so kind! Ilma especially was so interested in my trip and told me about how she had pleaded with her manager to sponsor me on my trip. And thankfully her convincing worked!
I cannot thank everyone at Hotel Story enough for sponsoring this night of my trip. The hotel was so nice, right in the heart of the Old Town of Sarajevo, and the people who worked there were incredibly kind. My room was very spacious - I especially enjoyed the nice TV and comfy couch. I checked in to my room, got some recommendations from Ilma, and then headed out to see the city!
My first stop was right down the road, Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. It was a beautiful, yet small, mosque, and I am glad that I stopped in to see it. It was pouring down rain at this point so I also appreciated being able to go inside even more than normal. My next stop was Sarajevo Old Market square and the city’s famous Sebilj market. I took a few pictures there before walking along the water to see the beautiful Sarajevo City Hall building and then walking along the water. I really liked this area along the water as it was very pretty and had beautiful mountains in the background.
My walk took me to the very famous Latin Bridge. I had no idea until I was planning my trip in Sarajevo, but the Latin Bridge is actually the bridge that helped to start World War 1, as it was where Franz Ferdinand was shot. In reality, it just looked like a pretty normal bridge, but the historic significance is obviously huge. From there I headed to see the Sacred Heart Cathedral which was closed but had a beautiful exterior. I then headed to a museum on the same square as the cathedral, called Gallery 11/07/95.
Gallery 11/07/95 is about the genocide that was committed by the Serbs against the Bosnians in a little town called Srebrenica in 1995. Basically, over 8,000 people were killed for being Muslim. I had no idea about this but I learned so much thanks to Gallery 11/07/95. There is a lot of relatively recent conflict that has taken place in this region and I look forward to learning even more over the coming days. Gallery 11/07/95 was really well done and I learned a lot already.
My last stop was to grab a quick bite to eat across the street at a restaurant called Metropolis Midtown. This dinner was more shocking than you might imagine for a minor reason: indoor smoking. As I quickly came to learn indoor smoking is still a thing in the Balkan countries, even in restaurants. It was pretty bizarre but I knew I would have to pretend to be okay with it (even though I definitely was not) over the coming days. It thankfully was not very bothersome in this instance but just more of a surprise. I had a nice, and very inexpensive, chicken sandwich before heading back to Hotel Story.
I enjoyed talking with Elvedina a bit more before heading back to my room and getting a much needed good night of sleep before another early morning bus ride adventure. Next stop: Serbia!
85 countries down, 111 to go.
To learn more about Hotel Story click here.