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Sarajevo (Bosnia Herzegovina)

“Let the past behind,” this has been one of the comments most widely repeated in all the meetings we had with Bosnians. Most of them young people, through whom we have learned a lot from the current reality and something from the past.

It was shocking when Amela from “Jajce” (a walled town surrounded by waterfalls, something worth visiting in the heart of the country) told us how he was expelled with his family and his people were forced to be “refugees” in another area of the same country. On that trip, when they were taken, the bus stopped and pushed down to all the men, one of them was his father and never saw him again …. she knew that they were shotted, nothing else.

In war there are all horrible and beautiful stories.
In the capital some friends told us there is a saying since the end of the war: “When this question” how are you? “He responds ….” Well, I’m fine as long as no one wants to kill me. ”

A country that has suffered so much that it does not feel like sobbing more and the most people of the new generations want to forget and continue living though, others, imbued with the hatred and rancor still fresh that have inherited from their parents …. don´t want to forgive and keep in mind the distance. As they say are 50% who wants to forgive and another 50% who can´t forget it.

Bosnians, Serbs, Croats … all the same people, there is no difference between them only the religion and the only way to differentiate is by knowing their names or surnames, impossible otherwise. They all, kind, humble, have done richer, more rewarding and easier to cross the country from west to east. To have changed the plans and to decide to go to Bosnia has been a success, a gift. We feared that perhaps the road, (being the only one there) would be full of trucks and traffic but has not been the case. The price of gasoline makes people unable to use the car for long journeys so that, outside the few large towns, they are almost completely empty and for us is what we say: quality of life.

In this country, the low and ups is constant, there barely is plain. the many up-hills has broken our legs but at the same time they strengthened with our desire to continue moving forward with curiosity. More we knew about, more was the desire to know more.

Thus we come to Sarajevo and happened to coincide with the anniversary of this city, with many cyclists and some new friends that were telling us about the history of this place which was besieged for 4 years. We also talked about their origins with the Turkish Empire, of how the Jewish (from Spain) arrived here, Christian, Muslim, Protestant and all settled down to share this magical place of peace for hundreds of years. In the same square you can find a mosque near a church, you can hear the bells while the mullah calls his people from the top of the tower of the mosque. And it all happens at the same time, in this place on the bottom of a valley, surronded by mountains over 2000 meters high. Mountains crowded with small houses make it even more beautiful.

Sarajevo, a place where before leaving we were thinking to come back again. A place that keeps you here and nobody knows why but the words of a French composer …. “(…) here my heart trembles even standing at the simple post office as never didt it before in the beautifulParis. The coexistence of empires and cultures has given it a special and electric energy that permeates everything and everyone. ”

Traveling we discover places that are on our way and that we crossed just because they were there, but ended being the jewel of the entire journey. That’s what happened to Bosnia Herzegobina, a country without a doubt to recommend.
And here we start today, heading eastward.

After yesterday’s snow-fall today is sunny and here we go trying to cross the mountains after which we´ll get Serbia, warmer weather and… who knows what else we will find there.

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One comment on “Sarajevo (Bosnia Herzegovina)

  1. Hi Laura & Aitor

    I LOVE how you describe Sarajev, Bosnia/Herzegovena. I can picture all of it and understand how you have fallen in love with the place and the people. its amazing and wonderful that inspite of all the horrors they have had to endure they can still be forgiving (healthier option, but probably very hard for some, especially the older people). It is one of the places that has always been on my wish list to visit. Perhaps I will get there one day and be able to remember your wonderful descriptions 🙂 I am sure you left a big part of your heart with all the people you met and they will have been inspired by meeting you and Aitor, as we are. We love you, miss you and wish you would want to come back and visit us once more in Cape Town – maybe one day!! big hug to you both. keep pedalling, be safe, happy and continue to enjoy the ride. lots of love & God bless. Helen

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