I made my way back into Sarajevo, the Old Town actually to get a feel for the nightlife and differences between night and day. The place was still packed with tourists but now it was quite a bit cooler. The place is a maze of shops with a mosque in the middle which I wandered into and took a few photos. The other tourists were also wandering in and out of the doors that led into a courtyard for photo ops and to look around or relax. I ended up a short distance away at a restaurant looking through the deli glass deciding what to eat. There was one person behind the counter that spoke English and I ended up with a traditional dish I was told. I believe it was lamb a sauce, pita and some vegetables and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It was evening and the place was bustling with activity so I began wandering around the maze of stores to check things out. I’ve been in many outdoor and indoor bazaars and this one was quite similar to all the others, the difference being there were products and people unique to Bosnia-Herzegovina. It had all the standard stuff like t-shirts, mugs, trinkets, flags, coffee and things you expect to see where tourists gather. But there was also quite a bit of hand made gifts, quite a few actually. There were a variety of artisans making things out of wood, metal, clay and I’m not completely sure what some of the material was. There were also painters, sculptors, street musicians and performers. It was a fascinating trip through the maze of shops and I stopped to speak with the clerks and look around but didn’t end up purchasing anything as I wasn’t sure what I wanted at this point.
One thing I did see and it became common as I wandered about Eastern Europe were Roma. This isn’t something you run into in the United States, at least not where I’m from so it was so it was actually fascinating at times. This place in particular I recall because there were two young children putting some serious effort into begging or acting to get the donations coming in. One was crying as loud as he could, wailing and flailing about until I thought he would exhaust himself. I dropped in some coins and wandered over to a coffee shop to watch for a minute as I’d run into this before. If you merely pass by all you see is the kid crying but if you stop for a bit as I did you see he stops, regains his composure and counts the money completely oblivious to the people passing by. It’s an act devised to separate tourists from their cash.
The other kid had an instrument in another part of the bazaar and was singing and playing away while looking people in the eye as he varied his stare between something forlorn and joyous. Both kids were doing a marvelous job extracting cash from the tourists and in my opinion were professionals in every sense of the word. The Roma are a fascinating bunch and the opinions I experienced ran the gamut from nuisance to down right hatred depending on where in Eastern Europe I was. I was never quite sure if they can’t or will not work as depending on who I asked I heard another story. Whatever the reason is they are part of the fabric of pretty much every major city I traveled through in Eastern Europe as far as I remember.
Well, that lost it’s ability to hold my attention so I wandered in the direction of what I was told is a well known brewery and restaurant, which again was up a hill. The streets I found run in what appear to be somewhat random directions or wind back and forth. Its probably old horse trails that were paved at some point and it made finding my way around the city quite a trip. The great thing about Sarajevo is it is impossible to get lost as all you have to do is walk up a street and look down on the city to see where you are approximately and make adjustments.
I finally located the restaurant/brewery and walked inside. The people working inside said it was once a brewery and still was but part had become a restaurant some time in the past. It was a higher end eating establishment and I grabbed a menu to see what was available. I had a short conversation with the staff and ordered a drink with an elaborate salad. I ate while I watched the locals and tourists wander in and out and as I was by a window I also had a great view if the activity on the street an the surrounding mountains. I actually liked it so much I returned several times during my trip and it was basically a straight shot back to my place which made it even better. After dinner I headed back to my apartment because I wanted to head to Mostar as a friend said if I go to Bosnia, I absolutely had to go to Mostar so I figured, what the heck.
More on that on the following pages.