Thursday, May 7, 2009

Croatia, Bosnia.. the Warm Welcome To The Eastern parts

(Small note, to see a picture bigger just click on it, it will open in its original size in the web, so you dont even need to save..enjoy the blog and please leave comments)

So Easter holidays is a time for families to gather, to reflect on god, on tradition, and of course on god again. Well for Christians that is. For myself and Emir, its a time to think about where we should go as our first vacation as a European couple. Having both a financial issue ( I STILL, more or less, HAVE NO JOB), and a Winnie issue (no planes), the only solution was to take the car to the Benca palace in Bosnia passing through the Benca Summer Residence in Croatia. So off we go on our road trip. First stop... Croatia!

Croatia, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a part of the former Yugoslavia, and is now a center for European richie riches to gather in the summer on the beautiful beaches that Croatia has to offer. Unfortunately, I never got to see these marvelous blue waters, as my sweetie of a boy friend had forgotten the key to the house. FAIL! haha so the romance was limited to the inside of the car, front seat only, as Winnies harmonious snoring was taking up the entire back seat. Where most people leave with sun tans and sunkissed hair, I left with a bruise on my back left by the emergency break, which was keeping us from skidding off the cliff. But I now have Croatia marked off as a place I have been, proven by a stamp on my passport, and all said and done, it was still a fun adventure, and one I will always remember. Here is us having dinner before we realised the elusive key situation: we look happy dont we...

Fortunatley, I got a beautiful view of the shore line at least. I wont say whether this is the sunset as we were arriving to the city, or if this is the early morning sunrise as we decided to drive to Bosnia at 3 am. Either way it was beautiful and worth the suffering. :D

Sooo Off we go again to Bosnia

Arriving in Bosnia was pretty spectacular, even if it was still 6 in the morning after 5 hours of driving. I was not warned of how beautiful the landscape was. Although Vienna is surrounded by mountains as well, they somehow don't seem as green and "soft" as these mountains. Each green mound of fairtale-like mountain is lined with a whispy little river, winding, kissing, and rushing through and around the landscape. At the moment, as tired as I was, I couldnt stop noticing all the cute little scenes a camera could capture, and somehow managed to miss taking an actual picture, as I was too busy LOOKING. haha. Im sorry this sucks, you know how I pride myself on pictures. So you can image my embarrassment to show you this: I know the picture is pretty horrific, but try to look past the badly placed light post on the right and the barbed wire lining the bottom, and notice the green carpet of grass dotted with villager's homes, and even that river at the bottom making its way to the other side to warn the mountain that the sun is coming around. Well in any case, go there for yourself and see :D

The people were even more surprising. Stricken by betrayal, persecution, barbaric torture, and otherwise all words that describe war, these people were not at all dressed in black as I expected. Walking through the streets, the only thing brighter than the clothing adorning these people were their smiles, well and their fake Gucci glasses. Bright lipstick accompanying bright dresses and sparkling eyes, the Bosnians were a people full of conversation and happiness. I had a great time walking around, welcoming all questions about Winnie that were helplessly spewing from stranger's mouths. They couldnt help themselves to ask, and I couldnt help myself in enjoying the attention. I mean, after Vienna, could you blame me? Its hard enough talking to someone who is actually in a circle of friends in Vienna, never mind trying to start a conversation with a stranger. So I really enjoyed the socialization that Sarajevo was offering. I got to stretch my tongue a bit in conversation. Cant say the enjoyment was equally as filling for Winnie dog to have all those strangers approach us for friendly conversation, but she was actually pretty good for once.
However, once you turn you attention away from the happy curtain that the people become, whose happy faces cover the sad truth about the past decades, once you pull back from their joy, you can see what's behind. What cannot be erased as easy as a frown, and cannot be rebuilt as fast as one can learn to smile again. You see that behind the smile, and right there on the streets, is a daunting reminder of what has plagued the town for five years. Metal locusts flying overhead, covering the sun, and landing down below- destroying all that it met. Houses, schools, hotels, parks, cemeteries.. none where safe from the plague. From the vicious devourment of human heart and soul. And I cannot suppose, because I have not gone through any of this, but I can imagine, how hard it must be to remain such an optimistic and positive population after what they went through and while the reminders still haunt their streets. These aren't your Roman or Greek ruins, seized by time. This is an average home that was destroyed with bombs, machine guns, and explosives while people were still inside. And if this is not the story of the particular building you see here, it is the story of hundreds others like this in the town, a story which you can read while talking with any local, or on the marble painted cemeteries.

Enough of the sorrow, because if Sarajevo has taught me anything, is that you can never forget fast enough the sorrow and begin with the Gucci :D.

There is still enough to see in Sarajevo and the surrounding areas, and I have already written a novel.

We went for an amazing hike, through the rain, which honestly made it so much more fun for me.. because whats an adventure without umm and adventure haha. So here we are, soaking wet, hiking through villages in a far away land. How far away? Well lets just say an old man with more wrinkles than my grandmother (for those of you who know her are fairly impressed right now, right??) comes over to Emir ready to hug him, swearing that he knows him. In fact he knows his village (Šabići) and his father and his name is not really Emir, as he tried to remember his REAL name. Awe, I didnt know whether to hug him at his cuteness or to give him some Xanex or some other medication to calm his crazy down hahahah.
Winnie was particularly impressive, not only does she look like a goat, but she actually jumped, hopped, puffed, and climbed her way up the entire mountain, which was mainly rock, and very steep. Good job! Oh, and she also mushed her face into a pile of cow shit. That part was not so impressive, but the guys found in hilarious. ok so did I hehe.
Our sheep

Group pic at the peek

Winnie's Facebook Profile ;D
Oh dont worry, it gets more dangerous
but you know what your parents always said would happen...
you would have way too much fun if you stand close to the edge haha..

Was a beautiful end to what could have been a very cold day, and the view was very rewarding.

Needless to say, Winnie was pretty pooped!

The outskirts of Sarajevo were quiet breathtaking, but the city itself had some nice places to share. Here is some pics from the old city, which was full of weird dancing people, cotton candy, and of course SHOPPING. Walking home, we took the scenic route back alongside the river, and of course some more photo opportunities arose, which I gladly grabbed :D I figure seeing some pics would be a bit easier than reading about my gracious stroll through the bricked streets and blooming flowers, and villagers in funny hats selling cow skin rugs on the street fences (I of COURSE had to get not one but TWO- I sure know how to bargain).

One of my favorite pictures from Sarajevo. Reminds me of Einstein and his friends trying to figure out the Theory of Relativity.

I dont think anyone actually gave him money for dancing like a Martian, he just does it for the love of the game :D

Mmm cotton candy. Oh, thats a new bag I bought :D

Mr. Sexy himself hahah

Oh did I have an audience at the other side of the river? I did..

And last but not least.. the lovebirds perched on a fence <3

So Bosnia...definitely recommended for those who like to have a good time and smile in the face of adversity and sorrow, and live another day with a wrinkle by the eyes instead of folds by the lips.

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