On arrival in Sarajevo it was a five minute walk from the hostel to the Old Town Ottoman Style core. I wasted no time finding a local restaurant and ordering cevapcici - mini roast beef skewers stuffed in a pita with onions. The quasi sandwich is one of Bosnia's national dishes and is a versatile meal - it makes an excellent breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Shortly thereafter I joined a “free” city tour. The tour guide did a great job of using the various sites to walk through the history of the city and how different sections were interconnected. I will wind up preparing several pages of notes and anecdotes from the tour. After the tour I had another meat meal called Burek - ground veal wrapped in a filo pastry. I circled back to grab a Bosnian / Turkish coffee in the Old Town. For dinner I ordered a salad at a fancy cafe but even that came with chicken.
The other memorial is more traditional - a sculpture in a park.
West of the airport is a small museum dedicated to the Tunnel of Sarajevo. During the 1992-1995 siege Sarajevo was boxed in. The Serbs were on three sides with the UN blocking the airport. On the opposite side of the airport was the Bosnian army's position and from there potential safety in Croatia (which at the same time was trying to annex southern Bosnia in Mostar). Unfortunately the UN would not let Bosnians cross over the airport to the Bosnian Army area…thus three months into the Siege Bosnians started digging a tunnel to connect the two sides. Twenty five of the original eight hundred meters of the one meter wide, 1.6 meter high tunnel remains open to the public. Everything but alcohol and fuel (the two items with the highest Black Market increases) was allowed to pass through the tunnel. The tunnel was a lifeline that helped to sustain Sarajevoans for three years.
For a different perspective of Sarajevo I had a beer at a restaurant on the 35th Floor of the Avaz Center. With beers at only 3 KM (~$1.50 USD) the view was a surprising good value. For only 1 KM more I took a flight of stairs up to the 36th Floor's outdoor observatory.
As host of the 1984 Winter Olympics, Sarajevo has a fair share of former sites remaining - perhaps the most interesting of these sites are the bobsled and luge tracks. A ten minute, $5 USD taxi ride up a steep mountain on the southern side of the city leads to the start of the bobsled run. Trees and vegetation has overgrown the site but the attraction can be found inside the shoots - artists have covered the runs with graffiti. Most of the graffiti is words, however, there are a few interesting images, although nothing commemorating the city's struggle through the siege. I jumped into the shoot and walked back down into town. The walls of the sharp turns rise dramatically from the otherwise low wall and it's difficult to comprehend how people could maintain their balance barreling down the shoot at BLANK mphs.
The bobsled run ends high in the mountains and not, as I had hoped, close to town. There was s faint dirt trail and a wider dirt road leading down the mountain. The trail followed a more direct, straight down the mountain route…so that's what I went with. The next forty five minutes were more of a scramble and hanging on to tree branches to lower myself down the trail than actual hiking. There was definitely a sense of accomplishment when I reached the upper limits of Sarajevo. It still took another thirty minutes walking along paved roads to reach the Sarajevo Old Town.
For additional photos see FLICKR ALBUM.