Episode 3: My dear Sarajevo
That was a long time ago when I first saw you. I was a kid sitting in front of my TV and I was watching you very sad and devastated. It was a long time ago… and I didn’t really thought that one day I will come to visit you. But then how to pass so close and not come to see you.
After three days cycling from Novi Sad, here I am finally. Surrounded by all those wild mountains, you are not easy to reach. Tough climb to the top of the Romanija before a long downhill, where you eventually appear.
The first impression is very important. As one of my friend says: “when you get somewhere, listen to your stomach. Your heart sometimes get crazy, your brain will always try be rational but your stomach tells you the truth. It just doesn’t lie.” So I did.
The city centre came back to life a long time ago and I am happy to see how good you recovered. It took me no more than 5 minutes to get why people call you the small Istanbul and the small Vienna. Successively part of the Ottoman and the Austro Hungarian empires you kept the best of both. Here, Mosques face churches and turkey is 50 metres far from Austria. So much culture and diversity in such a small city.
Your beauty wouldn’t be the same without your people. Bosnians, Serbs, Croats have lived together within your walls. You, the most Yugoslavian city. As the rest of the Balkans, your people has something special. Kindness, hospitality and human warmth are not vain words here. Difficult to describe and even understand it without seeing it.
Like an old lady, you still carry some pains of the past but you found the strength to move forward and your people can be very proud of what they have. During those few days I had good time walking around, exploring your mountains and meeting people.
“Drink the Gazi Hursev-Beg Mosque water and you will come back to Sarajevo”. This is what people believe. So after few sips it is time to go.
I leave you in peace,
See you when I see you.