Day 59 – Thursday 22st of August – Sarajevo (0km)
The previous day we got to Sarajevo late, tired and cold, and I had resigned myself to not having time to visit the city, even though I really wanted to, so it was not very difficult to come to the decision of staying for an extra day while we were having dinner.
The following morning we told the woman who ran the guest house where we were staying and she said there was no problem. We went to visit the city I so much wanted to see and I was not disappointed; the good first impressions I had got the day before and I quickly fell in love with the place – the looks, the history, the people, the atmosphere… it worked its magic on me in a matter of minutes and I was hooked and determined to go back some day in the future and spend a holiday discovering the country.
We visited the Old Town, a permanent exhibition about the Srebenica massacre, the Martyr’s Memorial Cementery, some of the bridges over the Milijacka river…
Seeing how lively the city was, it was hard to imagine that not that long ago, between 1992 and 1995, the city had suffered the longest siege in modern war history, a siege that put its inhabitants under constant fear for their lives, living day in, day out under artillery and sniper’s fire from the Serbian troops in the hills surrounding the city. There are still scars if you look for them, virtually all buildings in the city suffered damaged during that period and the repairs are visible on some of them, while other still wear the scars left by the siege clearly on their walls.
The woman who owned the guest house where we were staying, Nadia, told us she had lost seven members of her family during the siege, but that previous to the war, all cultures had peacefully coexisted in city for ages and, according to her, all the hatred that sparked the war was caused solely by politicians.
In the afternoon we walked up a hill to see the city in the evening light, and found a viewing point in an old fortress overlooking the city where several locals had gathered to see the sunset. We spent some time there and on the way down, a kitten coming out from a nearby house drew our attention. I stopped and it came straight to me, which is unusual for most cats. It was one of those very rare cats that behave more like a dog, and it let us pick it up and stroke her, for it was a her.
We took her for a walk with us, and she was as happy as a kitten can be, purring loudly all the time. We called here Sara, for Sarajevo, and even toyed with the idea of staying in the city an extra day to get the proper paperwork done and take her with us back to Barcelona, but she was clean and well taken care of, it was clear that she lived in the house she had jumped out of, so in the end we let her go back to her owner.
We had dinner out that night too, and after that we went for a beer and sat down at a place with shisha pipes, where we spent a long time laughing and thinking about the last ride the following day, after which we would finally stop and rest for a few days.