There's so much to report about Sarajevo, so the question is, where to start?
The answer to this is obvious: beer prices. The price of beer in Bosnia is a bit of a mystery to me. At Banja Luka, I'm certain that the price of the 0.5 litre bottle in two separate restaurants was cheaper than the 0.33 l bottle, for seemingly the same beer. And here in Sarajevo, the price of the 0.5 l and 0.33 l bottles was definitely the same at the cafe at which I had lunch. At 2 Bosnian marks (about 1 euro) it's a pretty good buy in either size! I'm not sure if the same holds true of the price on the train, though. The guy who came through with his garden-barrow type wheelie trolley selling drinks to a captive market charged me 3.5 marks, and it wasn't even really cold. But as Sue says, you always pay for room service, even if it is in a 30+ year old railway carriage.
Now, where were we? The hotel at Sarajevo is apparently one of the best in town, at least from the price they're charging and the presence of a range of business types at breakfast. The room is Viennese style - heavy on little lights hanging off the walls, dark stained furniture, etc. But I think the Viennese even in their heyday would have had more functional bath fittings. The fancy controls for the shower require the tap to be twisted outwards in order to turn the water on. There are illustrated instructions about how to manage this, but even so it took me about 5 minutes to cotton on.
And I may have mentioned how the double-glazed windows keep out the calls to prayer. Late in the evening, we realised this wasn't the only reason for the double glazing. Sarajevians are given to late-night partying in the old town, including in the street over the road from our hotel! But the double glazing was effective, especially as we were pretty tired after the train trip.
|Detail from Despica's house|
|Courtyard of old Orthodox Church|
Sarajevo promotes itself as a place where Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats, Jews and Roma all mix, and certainly the street scene is very varied. In addition to the locals, there are obviously lots of tourists. And there are lots of things to see. Obviously the first site we visited was the Latin Bridge (where Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated), followed by Makso Despica's House (the house of a Serbian merchant in the 19th century which has been retained as a museum in near-intact condition). In the course of the afternoon we found (amongst other things) the Old Serbian Orthodox Church of St Michael The Archangel (dating back to the middle ages), the main Mosque, the Synod Orthodox Church, the obligatory open air chess game, the Catholic cathedral and the Synagogue (the latter two not being open). Just as importantly, Sue spent some time on retail therapy. My comments that she should leave some capacity so as to be able to shop in Istanbul were met with a response along the lines that there is always capacity to shop!