The apartment owner and I walked to the place I’d rented and she showed me around the place so I knew where things were. It was a standard apartment as I’d come to experience during my travels. It consisted of a bathroom which was on the left as you enter and a single room which functioned as a kitchen, living room and bedroom. Nevertheless it was comfortable, had everything I needed, the owner was quite pleasant and she even had a bottle of wine and some fruit for me on the table. We left the apartment and she explained the city to me as we walked down the hill to the city center. About halfway she left as the day was only half over and she had to return to work. I thanked here and made my way to town.
I followed the street straight and was sort of searching for what the locals called “Old Town” I walked over the river and headed back up another hill as Sarajevo is in somewhat of a valley. I figured I’d gone to far and turned around. Back at the river I passed a group of people, asked if anyone spoke English and inquired of them the correct directions. Turns out I was close, only a few blocks. They were quite nice, explained how to get there and off I went. I made a quick loop of what I thought was the area I sought and headed back to the river.
The Miljacka River runs through Sarajevo and at one end lies a dam. I headed in the direction of the dam and took a couple pictures, The river seems to be a focal point for the city and tourists in general as it is a good point to orient yourself and is easily located or view from just about anywhere. I noticed a paved path winding up the hill in the direction of a mountainside hotel or something so I took off in that direction. It was quite a climb and it is a good thing I am in reasonable shape as it took 20 minutes or so to make my way up, but it did offer a great vantage point to the city. From where I stood I could see the river wind through the town and off into the distance, quite a sight. I did eventually make my way to what I thought was a hotel and as I had no business there I turned around and made my way back to the river.
It was early in the day so I figured I’d walk the river to see where it took me an perhaps visit something of interest. I recall the name Sarajevo from the Olympics in 1984 and it is one of the reasons I made the trip. As I walked I noticed all the buildings constructed during the previous 50 years or so were more more or less the same or so it appeared. They were gray concrete and I got the feeling prefabricated somewhere an assembled on site. It made me think of the Soviet Union for some reason but perhaps it was just me. I walked the river for perhaps two hours or so watching the people, taking pictures of the buildings and enjoying the day. Something I did notice was quite a few young backpackers wandering the city on their own vacation. Despite the obvious economic challenges the country was experiencing, Sarajevo was alive with activity everywhere I went along or adjacent to the river and Old city.
I eventually crossed the river and came back the other side, drifting off to adjacent roads and alleys along the way out of curiosity. The day was hot and sunny and I stopped at a few stores to grab a water or coke whichever I felt like drinking at the time. It was a nice walk and as I returned I noticed a sign on one of the bridges, The Italian Bridge. Up until my travels a few years ago I wasn’t much of a history buff but the more I travel the more interesting history becomes as it comes alive as this bridge proved again. The Italian Bridge from what I can tell was a focal point for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg. Interesting, I stood near or perhaps on a location where events transpired that precipitated World War I. These types of things make my trips fascinating and help me learn about the past and recall it better and in more detail.
Afer that I grabbed bite and returned to my apartment to change so back up the hill I went. It was quite a climb too, perhaps 30 degrees or more so I don’t suppose there are many out of shape people living in the city, especially if they live on the side of a hill where most of the houses appeared to be.