Despite all the scars from wars, Sarajevo still feels very much like a typical European city. It feels more like “Europe” to me than Split did. I’m sure that’s the influence of the Habsburgs. As we walked around the city tonight, I found myself thinking about how important Sarajevo has been in the history of Europe and the world. And I’m not just talking about hosting the Olympics. It was the first city in Europe to have electricity, tramways, and other technologies.
We walked to the bridge where the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife were shot and killed. This was the spark that started the “Great War” (now known as World War I). I think a lot of Americans have forgotten about Sarajevo, if they ever knew anything about it in the first place. It’s a really interesting city with a very rich history. The predominant religion is probably Islam, but there are plenty of both Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches and cathedrals as well as Jewish synagogues in the city. People seem to get along pretty well and it feels very safe and peaceful. Next to our hotel are some newer office towers hosting tech companies including Microsoft and Oracle. There are still lots of problems and a big discrepancy between the rich and the poor, but a lot of things seem to be moving in a good direction.
The bread in Bosnia has been really good. Even when we were up in the mountains, the bread our guides brought us for lunch was just fantastic. I have been really impressed with the quality of everything. We have even been able to drink the tap water, etc. We stopped at Zeks Döner for some street kebab sandwiches tonight. We fed all 6 of us, including drinks, for about $22 US and it was really good.