Hey all, sorry about the delay in writing this post, but I was busy/internet access was hard to come by. I know I got hopes up by posting on the same day, but at any rate, here’s the post!
After spending the first two days taking excursions in and around Sarajevo, I decided that both my wallet couldn’t afford to go on them all the time and that I also wanted to take an easier day to relax and go at my own pace. (By that, interpret it partially as “I want to sleep in for once”. I make no bones about that.) Given that I left my hostel around 11, I decided to check out the Sarajevo HS beer hall; no, the HS doesn’t stand for ‘high school’. Before I departed for Sarajevo, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there was one in the city, if not because the country is a majority Muslim one (roughly 50 percent are Bosniaks, aka Bosnian Muslims, equating to about 1.9 million people. However, Bosnia is generally a secular country, from what I saw.) and Islam generally frowns upon alcohol consumption*. However, the hall was very reminiscent of the bars back home, which I concede helped the atmosphere. Making this even special was that the hall itself was located right next to the Sarajevska brewery, ensuring a steady supply of freshly brewed cold ones. I had to earn the right for a beer, as this place was tucked away in a residential area on the opposite side of the Miljacka River (which runs through the entire city). While a handy sign pointed me in the right direction, I had to ask locals where it was given that the buildings were a bit unassuming. Finally, it was time to indulge! After taking my order, I sat down and enjoyed myself. Looking around from my table, I noticed that the hall’s decor featured plenty of dark wood; I couldn’t help but feel that I was being transported to a hunting lodge in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When my food arrived, I did a double take: my salad and pork roast dishes easily could have served three people. I eventually had to admit defeat after only getting halfway through both of them, but I was 100 percent satsified!
Afterwards, I decided to stroll around more of Sarajevo, given that I was already out and about. The original plan was to head back to the bazaar (Baščaršija) to explore more and potentially shop for gifts, but on the way there, my plans changed. While I was crossing the bridge, I realized that Sarajevo City Hall was directly in front of me, which was silently begging me to stop and check it out. Once I entered, a series of pictures reminding visitors about the 20th anniversary of the Srebenica massacre greeted me. I had read about the massacre prior to coming, so I knew how grisly it was, but seeing pictures taken when it occurred was jarring. It was a reminder that who your parents are and where you were born does dictate your fortunes at times, even more so in the Balkans. It made me also wonder how deep the scars of Srebenica extend and if they will truly ever heal; seeing pictures of friends and family members carrying away their deceased loved ones was absolutely heartbreaking.
From there, I moved on to the basement, where an exhibition about recent Bosnian history was on display. I was able to read about and see pictures about Franz Ferdinand/the start of World War I, the rise and fall of Yugoslavia,the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics/the sporting culture of Yugoslavia, and the aftermath of the Bosnian War, which shed more insight into the region. I took a class my senior year of university that shed some light into Yugoslavia, but it was priceless being able to learn even more in one of the former republics! At the end of the display, I felt that I was able to better understand a very mixed and complicated country in one of world’s most historically complex regions of the world, and I am thankfully for that opportunity.
After that, I didn’t do much else. I went back to my hostel to recharge my batteries for a bit, but I did go out later and walked further along the river. I tried visiting the Museum of Fine Arts, but it wasn’t open for some reason. Evening there was gorgeous, and the riverside view was phenomenal! All in all, having a day to myself to get further acquainted with the Bosnian capital was just what the doctor ordered.
*I know it depends on the country and how anal they are/how strictly Islamic the laws are. If I am wrong in this case, please feel free to correct me-I can always stand to gain more worldly knowledge.