Posts Tagged With: Sarajevo

From Sarajevo to Donji Vakuf

Sarajevo-Donij Vakuf

Sarajevo-Donij Vakuf

We woke up early in the morning, folded our tent and we said goodbye to the garden’s man who was already active attending his business. We went to the downtown for the last time, taking the opportunity to thank the man from the Muslim hostel and check on http://hitchwiki.org/ where we should go. We passed again through the Sarajevo’s main avenue Maršala Tita looking at the market, the Cathedral and the Veliki Park for the last time, and than we turned to the right on the Alipašina street to reach the bus stop where you could take a bus to the north exit of the town. Once there. we started talking to some locals that told us about the right bus and when we got in, as if we had still not caught enough attention, we scattered a full bag of salty sticks all over the bus floor. Everybody was looking at us. Finally we arrived to a place that was quite further than our expectations. But it was very suitable to hitchhike (now, thanks to Google maps I know that we were in Vogošća).

Vogošća

Vogošća

There were also two other locals trying to get a ride, but it was quite easy for the three of us. The driver that took us was a very friendly Bosnian who used to work in the French part of Switzerland , so for the first time I could have a conversation with someone in the car.

Valley

Valley

At first he was keeping the distance but soon after he stopped in a ditch so that we could make pictures of the impressive valley we were crossing and in the end he even made a small detour to show us Travnik and offered us a coffee. Travnik is a quite touristic town in the middle of the Lašva valley , especially because of its Fortress, its Ottoman remains and the Lašva River crossing the old town through several ponds.

Travnik

Travnik

Travnik II

Travnik II

Finally, in the late evening we arrived to Donji Vakuf  – our driver’s final destination, a very small town in the middle of nowhere a green steep valley in the center of Bosnia. We tried to hitchhike again till the sundown but any of the five cars that passed by stopped. We were already quite in a hurry because we had to arrive in two days to Zagreb and we were planning to arrive to Banja Luka during the day but the journey became so relaxed and touristic that we had to sleep there. We moved to a nearby desertic gas station and we put our tent, then I went very fast to the village trying to find an open store. I found one and there I realized that I was probably the first Spanish costumer they ever had because I caused a great excitement, so much that I decided to enter to another store only to show off.

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Sarajevo Second day

The previous night we had already decided to leave the Titos46 Hostel, so in the morning we took a shower, we packed and we were just on time (at 11:00) on the reception, not to miss the check out.

Tito46 Hostel entrance

Tito46 Hostel entrance

Then, we had a breakfast and decided to leave our backpacks there until we find something cheaper. We started looking on the Internet, we had one or two coffees and we spent a while playing with Pulguita on the terrace.

Tito46 Hostel terrace

Tito46 Hostel terrace

Finally we spent the whole morning there whereupon we decided to go out and search from the field. We where quite relaxed, we started to wander about, seeing again the city, this time in the daylight. We could see the markets with tempting fresh fruits and vegetables, the old stately buildings and the mix of Muslim, Serbian Orthodox and Croatian Catholics even from the separates cemeteries. We crossed the river and we ended up eating in a park without any pressure.

…It’s MY food!

Sarajevo central market

Sarajevo central market

Jesus Heart Cathedral back

Jesus Heart Cathedral back

Then we came back to the city center and I don’t remember well how we finished in a Muslim hostel with an advert on the frontwindow, where you could see a garden with camp tents. We came inside, and it turned out it was exactly what we were looking for- a cheap private camping 5 minutes walking from the city centre. The receptionist called for us and we made an appointment with the bakcyard´s owner in the nearby “pigeons´ square” one hour later. Meanwhile we where supposed to pick up our things from the previous hostel.

Doves square

Pigeons´ square (Guess why?)

We were surprisingly on time, the owner was a very talkative and friendly middle-aged guy who had prepared a weird map for us, without any streets names but with arrows “right” and “left”. He was right that it was quite tricky to arrive to the camping site, but not impossible. The garden was part of a big property where, apparently, more families lived. It was a quite spacious piece of land with apple trees, 3 or 4 levels and space for several cars and tents.

Garden

Garden

We realized that there were also many kittens and we wanted to see Pulguita’s reactions to her relatives.  The other cats didn’t care too much about her until we gave her food, then she had to fight a little bit against a bigger (but still small) kitten. We were sooo proud of her bravery.

Pulguitas VS killer cat round 1

Pulguita VS Killer Cat : Round 1

We put the tent and we remained in the backyard for a while playing with Pulguita and enjoying the beautiful view drinking a beer. Then we went again to the city center, thanks to the invaluable help of our new map. On the way down we could see closer the impressive Muslim cemetery because, as I said before, the cemeteries are separated by religion (we didn´t know that before). It was quite distressing to see the ocean of white gravestones, knowing all these people died at the same time, not so long ago, died with no peace, figthing with their neigbours.

Muslim cementery

Muslim cemetery

We walked around the city again, discovering new things like for example the Serb Orthodox Cathedral. But, finally we ended up in the same park we had eaten during the day. There we drank more beer and I played some guitar, but it was getting colder so we decided to come back. We got lost a bit in the small streets, but finally we arrived to our private garden.

Serb Orthodox Church

Serb Orthodox Church

Sarajevo at night

Sarajevo by night

Al Jazeera Balkan headquarters

Al Jazeera Balkan headquarters

War memorandum monument

War memorandum monument

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Sarajevo First day

From the outskirts of the city we took an old charming blue tram to the city center, catching people’s eyes again with our big backpacks and our foreigner faces, but specially because of the Pulguita’s meows. However, we started to realize that Sarajevo will be one of the more multicultural places we were going to see (and not talking about tourists).

Old charming blue tram

Old charming blue tram

The Tram left us in the city center. We wanted to look for a cheap place to sleep. We had heard about private backyards to place the tent and we also had the address of a hostel from the previous landlady from Mostar. We wandered around  the city center that is the Muslim neighborhood, made up of narrow streets with maximum 2 floor buildings, full of cafés, souvenir shops, mosques and people everywhere, looking for the tourist information office.

Mosque

Mosque

Arabic Souvenirs Shop

Arabic Souvenirs Shop

Arabic Souvenirs Shop II

Typical coffee shops

After spinning around a little bit we got a map with some hostels marked in, we decided to try with the one we were recommended but in the way something change our plans. In one of the main squares of Sarajevo just in front of Jesus Heart Cathedral and in one of the most trendy cafés of the city we met… Habib again.

Jesus Heart Cathedral

Jesus Heart Cathedral

He was very glad to meet us  (we like to think so), because his friend had already left him, and  so were we, because we didn’t have any plans for a Friday night in a so lively city as Sarajevo. He invited us to drink a beer and we´ve decided to meet up again for later that night, hewanted to to show us the Turkish cuisine.  After the fast beer we had to continue looking for the hostel we knew, we walked for a while so we could see how the city changes when the old town becomes a new business area with big skyscrapers, cinemas and fast food restaurants with some 5 or 6 floors old building still wounded from the war. Anyway, we found the hostel and it was full, so we did the same way back looking for any hostel in our way, we were quite tired, Habib was waiting for us and we saw the prices didn’t vary too much in Sarajevo so we ended up in the hostel Tito 46, guess the street and the number. It was a huge hostel with different types of rooms, a big living room with a kitchen and not-too-friendly receptionist. We took a dry shower (i.e. no shower at all) and we went to meet Habib in the city center.

Tito46 Hostel view

Tito46 Hostel view

Again in the Arabic area, he led us to a street where we chose one of the several Arabic style restaurants, in all of them the specialty was, without any doubts, the Ćevapi, so I had one as well as Habib.  It is a typical Bosnian (Balkan) dish made from minced meat (pork, lamb or beef) usually served with with chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, cottage cheese, minced red pepper and salt. Aleksandra had a great Mediterranean salad (with feta cheese and black olives) and all together we shared a baked potatoes with sauce.

Ćevapi

Ćevapi

Habib

Habib

After that blow out we really needed help our stomachs digest, so we decided to go to one of many tea houses, usually placed in typical Arabic patios in the middle of the block of buildings, where we had an authentic Turkish tea accompanied, of course, by a water pipe. We had a very nice night and we are very grateful to Habib, thank you!  

Typical Arabic patio

Typical Arabic patio

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Pulguita

We had to leave the room before 10, but we were hanging around the guest house till 11, trying to use the computer. The children were using it and the grandma didn’t speak English at all. We went out to the fence and we turned left heading the end of the town and the road to Sarajevo. But 10 meters away we found  something on the floor moving in all directions and smashing a shops’s glass door. When we looked more carefully we realized that it was a small kitten, very frightened and with eye boogers in its eyes that prevented it from seeing. Aleksandra grabbed it instantly, it first tried to escape but finally felt protected and stayed calm.

Pulgui firsts pictures

Pulgui firsts pictures

Pulgui firsts pictures II

Pulgui firsts pictures II

We thought that it probably lost its mum and we started to look around for her, and ask in the businesses nearby, including shops, bars and our hostel, but no one had seen this cat before. Aleksandra insisted on carrying it to a veterinary. I had to admit that in this first moment I was not so convinced about the idea, Mostar was full of cats, and I was more inclined to let it in a safe place far from the road and maybe with some food. But it was so cute and Aleksandra was already so involved that we decided to look for a Veterinary. We where asking young people, where we can find a veterinary clinic in Mostar, but people looked at us as we where crazy and said that they didn’t know, becausethey rather eat animals than cure them. Finally, we asked to a heavy metal dressed teenager and she politely showed us the way, but it was quite far. We decided that I should stay in a coffee shop as an Internet Support Counselor (ISC), so Aleksandra went alone with the cat. It had to take long because I had the time to write 3 posts. In the end she arrived with a pet box, food and a spray for fleas, in that exactly moment I realized that the idea to take the cat with us was serious and we had a new trip member.

Pulgui in her cage

Pulgui in her travel bag

Pulgui in her cage II

Pulgui in her travel bagII

With that scenario the trip was becoming more messy but funnier at the same tame. In my role of sceptic I was pointing out the bad consequences of bring it  with us, but it was already too late. To not change our tradition we decided to call it Pulgui, but it was a gril, so the full name is Pulguita. We were very excited. Pulguita too. So much, that she didn’t stop to meow in the whole walk. She only stopped meowing when Aleksandra, who was developing a new maternal instinct, took her on her hands. We wanted to arrive fast to the hitchhiking point to see what will be the Pulguita’s and, above all, the drivers’ reaction…

 

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