Sarajevo, Bosnia (part 3) — August 2006
Manning Leonard Krull

Lada took all twenty of us to a fantastic out-of-the-way restaurant on top of one of the mountains outside the city. Arranging the whole thing was insane; some local people had cars that could fit a few extra people, some guys had driven from Italy or Spain or something and could cram a few more in, and we ended up hiring one or two taxis, too.

We had to walk up the last stretch of road, which was blocked by these creatures. Lada warned us not to go off the road because there are potentially still unexploded landmines all over the place(!). A lot of parts of the country have been thoroughly cleared of mines and deemed safe, but if you don't know you don't risk it.

We ate a huge dinner outside in the chilly mountain air as the sun set over Sarajevo.

That's our view of the city from our table on top of the moutain.

It was dinnertime for the cows, too.

Holy shit! This right here is how I plan to learn Bosnian. I found this on Lada's dad's bookshelf.

A few pieces of old military equipment are lying around an otherwise empty lot near the Bosnian History Museum. It's very sobering to see these reminders of war in what is now for the most part a beautiful and vibrant city.

That yellow building is the Holiday Inn where a lot of Western journalists stayed (and got bombs dropped on or around them) during the war. The building on the far right is one of the countless buildings that are still being rebuilt. Sarajevo right now is a fascinating mixture where half of the buildings are new, shiny, and modern, and the other half are broken, riddled with bulletholes, and blackened by smoke.

Square of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

This faded old sign for the '84 Olympics is still standing, right in front of the train station, waiting to greet visiting spectators! Yes, those are a lot of bullet holes all over it. The first bullet holes you see in Sarajevo are pretty shocking, and within a day you're completely used to seeing them practically everywhere. Walls without bullet holes become noteworthy.

Here's a pretty typical example a wall with bullet holes from the wars in the 90s. But like I mentioned, a great deal of the city is completely rebuilt, and surprisingly (to me) warm, colorful, and ornate.

This is just one piece of one of the strangest sculptures I've ever seen. The thing is huge, I took a few pictures of it...

The whole thing is very looong, and a lot of the pieces look they're made to move and be climbed upon.

I'd also like to point out the insane sky back there.

This giant chess set is near the other end of the same sculpture.

I took a walk into the outskirts of town (meaning, halfway up a mountain) one night, and I got this picture pointing back down into the city.

There's a lot of nostalgia in Sarajevo for former communist leader Tito. One night, Lada took us all to a "bar" which had no sign out front and basically looked like exactly like somebody's living room (like, I'm 99% sure this place is somebody's living room), and the walls were literally lined with Tito portraits.

Ha, this is an ad for the Sarajevo Tobacco Factory; certainly something about smoke signals.

That grouping of holes is where a mortar shell exploded on the street, falling from the right and exploding leftward. You can see these holes all over the streets and sidewalks of Sarajevo, but this one was especially striking as it was half-filled with rainwater and reflecting the streetlights. These holes are nicknamed "Sarajevo roses" and some have been painted in red as a reminder of the lives lost in the wars in the 90s. Google Sarajevo rose to see tons of examples.

These last two aren't actually Sarajevo; I took a bus to Croatia which made a stop at a restaurant up in the mountains in the Bosnian countryside somewhere. This is the view from outside the restaurant.

Another view from the same place.

Soon after this stop, I crossed the border into Croatia...

- Manning Leonard Krull

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