Arrived mid-afternoon after three flights with two smooth connections in Munich and Vienna. Beautiful day all the way. I had a window seat coming into Sarajevo which is surrounded by mountains, some still topped with snow. The overall impression was lush and green. I would have been surprised if I hadn’t read Tim Clancy’s Bradt guide on the plane which goes on with some passion about Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largely undiscovered natural resources and the urgent need to protect them.
My guide and translator Irfan met me at the airport and whisked me off for a coffee so we could discuss the week’s plans. Then he treated me to a Sunday meal at his parents’ house! I had my first taste of the traditional meat pastry called the burek and the thin yogurt drink that goes with it. Both delicious. Tired though I was I even had a taste of the proffered local spirit made of plums which my guidebook tells me is called Sljivovica. Irfan and his father took me to a window in the apartment and pointed out how close the front line had been during the war and described life in the building when Sarajevo was under siege.
Then a meeting with a prominent journalist and a friend of his who works as a translator at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague. And after that an interview with a lawyer and sociologist and founding member of a new multiethnic party hoping to shake up the political landscape here in coming months.
Took in the sunset from a hillside above the old city in a park full of young people chatting and laughing and wiling away what was left of Sunday.