Sarajevo, Bosnia is my FAVORITE city on Earth!! Yes! It beats Ljubljana, Slovenia, Monterey, CA, and even my hometown! It’s the town of my dreams! It’s fantastic, and I’m going to tell you why.
So when Tyler first told me we were heading to Bosnia, I was like, uhhh I don’t want to go. When I mentioned Bosnia, people gave me weird looks and always said how dirty it was and how much cigarette smoke was in that city. They were right!
What they didn’t tell me was how cool it was. In what city can you take a stroll over a bridge where World War One started! Yes!! The bridge in Sarajevo was the bridge where the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria happened. The whole reasoning behind the assassination was to break the Austrian-Hungarian empire, and well, it started the first World War.
**Walking through this town, I kept thinking my High School History teacher would be SOOO JEALOUS of me right now! I remember talking about the World Wars and how they started, and I am walking over the bridge! **
The history is EVERYWHERE, you walk around the city and can see bullet holes in buildings, mortar cracks/holes in sidewalks painted red (meaning people died there) Signs of war from the Bosnian War (1992-1995) EVERYWHERE! I have never felt so close to war, as I felt in Bosnia. Below is a picture of where a mortar landed, it’s painted red because people died there.
This is a picture of the church wall with bullet holes still present.
Walking down the streets was a very humbling experience. You don’t see mortar cracks in the sidewalks of The United States. You won’t find 1200 km (1200 miles) of uncleared landmine areas. Yes!! Bosnia is still actively trying to clear all land of landmines left from the war. It’s so bad that families cannot visit loved ones for fear that they will step on a landmine when trying to get to the cemetery off the beaten path.
If you live in Bosnia and want to take a hike, it is STRONGLY advised that you take a certified Bosnia Hiker Guide with you. These guides must sit through a course and get brief regularly on where it’s okay and not okay to hike. AGAIN something that you don’t have to worry about when living in the US.
Now let’s talk about all the FUN in Bosnia!!
The food is AMAZING! I have eaten in many towns, and Bosnia has some of the best food. Yummy! The first night, we wandered the streets of the city looking for a random local Bosnian restaurant. We found one located in an alley (those are the best!) The restaurant was called SEDEF as featured in the image with Nolan; it means mother of pearl in Bosnian.
The next morning I woke up, and met up with a local friend! She and I took the boys with us to the local market. This is why I fell in LOVE with Sarajevo! I love dirty, old, random markets. Visiting these types of places is the best way to learn a language, get great items to take home, and to get to know the culture WIN WIN in my book!
If I could have crammed one of these rugs in my car I would have bought one!!! They were beautiful, and very very well priced. After speaking with the shop owner, he took me to the back and showed me his museum of accent rugs (none of them were for sale, he said they dated back 100s of years and were still in really really great shape.)
I love buying items that have meaning and a perfect story. I walked around the markets and kept seeing this purse in the window, but the store was not open. I kept walking by, checking to see if it had opened. FINALLY, it was open! I made Tyler walk in and use his “words” to ask how much it was. It was about 80 American dollars (which in Bosnia is A LOT of money, like ALOT, I’m talking Louis Vuitton in the States expensive.) I was in LOVE, but I was not just about to spend 80 dollars on some random purse. Seriously!
It wasn’t until the shop owner came out and told me all about her shop that I fell in LOVE. Her parents started the shop about 50 years ago; her dad started making the bags, and he then taught her brother (who is now the purse maker) how to continue the trade. The shop has been in the market for years and has become very popular with tourists and locals. When I was shopping, she held Heath and loved on him. (He LOVED her) not to mention kid-free shopping. When else in my life will I be able to buy a handmade purse, meet the family and hear the story all while in Bosnia…Probably never again! So I bought the bag, and it is LOVE! It’s very European ha ha (Not the best picture, but here it is!)
This is the picture of the shop and the shop owner.
Click here if you’d like to check out their Facebook page.
Sarajevo was so much FUN! I hope to visit again or maybe even live in Sarajevo one day. It truly doesn’t get enough credit for being such an AMAZING town. Nothing like I expected.