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A wall on the main tourist drag of the old town, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Tell your friends to come to Bosnia because of the people, the food, the beautiful nature. Not the war”, Haris insisted as we said goodbye after his tour of Sarajevo.

And it’s true. The people are the warmest I have met, the food is so very full of meat, and the nature is beautiful (check out this waterfall, for instance). But there’s no denying that there are tangible remnants of the war here.

On a sunny afternoon in Mostar, we found the snipers’ nest. Of what was built to be a bank, there remains an empty shell of a concrete building, littered with broken glass.

While my brother and fellow-hosteller climbed the scary no-banister stairs to the no-walls storeys high up and collected a few empty bullet casings, I stayed safely at ground level, watching my step. Evidently, this is not only the place to come drink and break all your bottles, it’s also great to come shoot up and/or hook up. And paint on the walls.

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In Sarajevo, they built a 4.5 million-dollar bobsled and luge track for the 1984 Olympics. During the war and the siege, it was used as a kind of trench for the Serbian army.

Now, it is damaged, abandoned, and covered in graffiti in the middle of the woods (don’t go ‘awandering- there are still landmines in there). It was very affecting. Some sort of metaphor, maybe. Surrounded by beauty, face to face with such a state-of-the-art track, destroyed.

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