|The route via a bit of Croatia|
A bit further in, nature completely closed in, leaving only the roads and greenery (which was beautiful) on either side before slowly, a bit further in, one could spot the odd restaurants, houses and petrol stations once more. The journey (If you ignored the ghost houses) felt like travelling through the Western Ghats in the monsoons. The Sava river merrily gurgled along with us and clouds rolled in through the hills.
We stopped along the highway at a motel for lunch. Great view, friendly staff and not a word of English between the lot of them. Led to a lot of hand gesturing and finger-pointing and sheepish grinning, but we ended up with a pretty decent meal of buttered rice, mushrooms, clear soups and fresh bread.
We entered Sarajevo by early evening - it was tucked away in the plains, surrounded by the lovely hills. Our apartment was an interesting mix of the modern and the not-quite-making-it-there... The washing machine was a model of the sorts I'd last seen in the 80s and the the German microwave made frightening noises as it ran, but the Telly was a massive LED flat screen. We also didn't know quite what to make of the heavily reinforced and Padded front door or what looked like a bomb bunker with steel doors near the car park.
|The Eternal flame memorial for those who lost their lives in WWII|
The Sarajevo that greeted us the next morning was a Sarajevo that was eager to show us the famous Sarajevan resilience. After a brief history of the Bosnian-Serbian conflict, our guide walked us through various historical places, including the Latin Bridge - The spot of the assassination of Prince Ferdinand (the alleged trigger to WW I), the oldest orthodox church, Roman Catholic church and Mosque in Sarajevo (despite Bosnia having an overwhelmingly Muslim Population) and a unique shrine (of the 7 brothers) where apparently wishes are granted. :)
|The Latin Bridge (in the far distance)|
|The Orthodox church and the statue of the naked man. Spot the real pigeons from the ones that are part of the sculpture...|
The afternoon in our schedule was reserved for the 'Tunnel of Hope' - an 800 m secret tunnel that connect free BiH with Sarajevo during the siege of Sarajevo.
|What's left of the tunnel|
|The house cat sitting on a (disarmed) landmine just behind the house|
|The baa-lamb with Abid|
From the tunnels we headed further on towards the outskirts of the city to Vrelo Bosna, a freshwater spring close to Sarajevo. What a beautiful, serene place (well, it was serene until our kids invaded it. After that it was all excited squeals and delighted giggles and disgruntled swans). Definitely a must see for anyone deciding to visit Sarajevo.
|The water was so clear cold, you could see right to the bottom|
|More of Vrelo Bosna. We wish we could have stayed longer|
|The Sarajevsko brewery. During the siege, this was a vital source of water for the citizens of Sarajevo as a spring runs right under it.|
|Night Life in Sarajevo. The main streets are completely taken over by the tents and DJ consoles|
|A lovely, quiet Cafe bar near Starigrad - Zaltna Ribica. This was the entrance porch|
|Inside Zlatna Ribica or the Goldfish Cafe|
|Some fast-paced street chess in action, with bystanders calling out 'helpful' moves|