A remarkable place and people.
Revisiting Sarajevo as an adult has had a profound impact on my views on urban design, pedestrian comfort, and everything related. My childhood memories of Bosnia are carefree, ignorant of risk, on foot, and the actual physical scale of places in my memories is completely off when compared to the reality I am experiencing as a bigger, taller person. And I don’t really think that one is more right than the other. But understanding this difference is allowing me to begin to understand how children might perceive spaces. I want to write more on this, but will leave it at that for now.
We stayed very close to Bascarsija, which is Sarajevo’s old town built by the Ottomans in the 15th century. Bascarsija’s streets are predominantly only for pedestrians. Being here has been deeply inspiring. I feel like these people have something I used to have. Something that I doubt I will have again. A sense of belonging to a very close knit community. Once (or actually a few times) uprooted, it’s very difficult to get it back.
I hope to spend a lot more time here next time, and that it is sooner rather than later. This time around hasn’t quite gone as planned. Not that there was much of a plan to begin with, but no-one plans on spending majority of their travel time doing the laundry. But on this trip we were regulars at Laundro Lounge, a laundy run by an artist from Melbourne who fell in love with Sarajevo and has found a way to live here. And the children fell in love with her. I don’t know what we would have done without her, staying in a place without a washing machine, and Child #2 getting car sick on the way here, and then just as we got everything washed on our first day here, he picked up a bug and spent our second night here vomiting, using up all the spare bed linen and all of his clothes.
So we didn’t get to do many touristy things, but we got to know the city. The children quickly learned how to get to some of their favourite landmarks and places, such as the chess game that they visited regularly and watched and listened to the very heated interactions with great interest. It’s been quite an experience and I hope to be back here soon.