A friend of mine stopped by one day and told me he knew a guy that operates a taxi service of sorts and drives between Mitrovice (Mitrovicë ) and Sarajevo once a week. I asked him if there was an extra seat and he got back to me later on in the week to say one was available if I wished to tag along. We worked out a schedule and I met the driver in Mitrovica early one morning and took off. It was quite a ride as the car was packed with people and luggage but it was inexpensive and I wanted to go to Sarajevo so I figured what the heck.
We traveled northwest and crossed the border at some small town but I don’t recall the name and I didn’t see it on a map either for some reason. Anyhow, I was the only American in the car and the driver handed the passports to the guard. Although I didn’t understand what he said, I did recognize the last part of the sentence when he said, “And One American”. The guard immediately looked at the passport and then me and I figured, here we go. Anyhow, the driver apparently knew the guards as he makes the trip so frequently. After a brief conversation, the guard walked to the shack and returned with our passports. During the wait the other guards were watching us for some reason as by this time everyone knew an American was crossing over.
The border crossing point was very remote and isolated or so it seemed. The offices were small mobile, aluminum type huts that must have been set up rather quickly. I didn’t see anything resembling civilization in the area, so everyone must commute from somewhere.
In any event we received the passports and off we went to our next stop which turned out to be Novi Pazar (Нови Пазар0) where we stopped to have breakfast. We pulled in and the driver had a short conversation with the people who spoke Albanian who in turn told me we would be there for half hour or so to get some coffee. So, I sat at a table, ordered coffee and watched the surroundings as people drove or walked by going about their business. Did I mention I was the only one who spoke English? One other person spoke enough English to keep me somewhat informed and this made the trip that much more fun.
After a quick bite we were off again through the countryside. The whole country from the time I left Pristina, through Serbia and on into Bosnia-Herzegovina was very rural and even the cities although active appeared somewhat economically depressed. I believe we crossed two border points and one of them was perhaps unregulated and it was explained to me in broken English that we were crossing Herzegovina and they were intent on independence of some sort but I’m not sure. But, at each point we went through the same process. The driver would hand the passports out, explain something and the last part of the sentence was, “And, One American”. I sort of got used to this after the third time as it seemed to be no big deal at this point.
So, we made it into Bosnia and the Bus terminal where he let us all out. The guy that spoke passable English had his wife meet us there and she offered to give me a lift to a place I had rented in the town. I gave her an address and phone number which she immediately called and the owner explained where the place was. The route she took seemed sort of circuitous but we finally drove up a hill via a narrow paved road. We drove past the place the first time because she didn’t see an address. A cab driver happened to be on the street and she made more inquiries but by this time the owner of the condo was on the street waving at us. I jumped out of the car, introduced myself and my ride left to enjoy the weekend.
You can read more about my trip here:
You expected pictures of Sarajevo and Mostar and you shall not be disappointed. Here they are