Postcards from Sarajevo

Sunday, 24 November 2019
When you think tourism, you might not think of Bosnia & Herzegovina. I had no real mind block against visiting the country, I think mostly because I'm too young to remember the war. During the summer, I went on the Budapest & The Balkans tour and Sarajevo was the third city on the trip. I had done a lot of research for this trip, and many reviews said that Sarajevo was the real hidden gem so it was probably the place I was looking forward to visiting the most. It did not let me down!

The drive from Belgrade to Sarajevo was the longest bit of travel on the whole trip. We left Belgrade at 7am to avoid rush hour traffic and managed to get to Sarajevo by around 2pm. The journey was very beautiful, passing through beautiful countryside and mountain scenery, but it was very twisty and left us all feeling a bit travel sick. As soon as we got off the bus in Sarajevo, several of us said that we instantly got a feeling that it was going to be a city that we liked a lot (and we were right!). Sarajevo ended up being my favourite city on the whole trip.

After dropping off our bags at our accommodation, we met our local guide Mohammed (of Urban Adventures Sarajevo) for a tour of the city. Mohammed would take us on two tours, this was the introductory orientation tour of the city lasting about an hour and a half. We saw local churches, mosques, markets whilst he told us about the history of the city including the assassination of the Franz Ferdinand, the Olympics and of course, the siege of Sarajevo. Sarajevo has been part of both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires and so it has really interesting architecture spread out across the city. As our guide put it 'you walk down the street feeling like you are in Istanbul and then all of a sudden you're in Vienna'.

We had agreed to all meet for dinner so after we disbanded from the tour we all had some free time. I ended up walking around the markets with some others from the tour before we went for a drink with them in a place called Tesla Bar that we were attracted to because of the statue outside...

A few Aperol Spritzes later, the group reunited at a diner called Dveri for dinner, which is just off the main market area. I just spent more time than I'd care to admit trying to find that on Google maps. It was the perfect little cosy restaurant with an indoor and outdoor seating area and a fantastic menu. I'm not even slightly exaggerating when I say that I had the best meal of the trip here. It was sooooo good. I ordered the beef goulash with gnocchi and it was the perfect comfort food. On the side, we ordered lots of bread for the table which came in this swirled pattern, which was absolutely perfect for soaking up all the soup with. And don't get me started on the salads, with fresh local produce they were some of the best I've eaten ever. If you go to Sarajevo, you MUST go here for dinner.

The next morning we were up bright and early for another tour from Mohammed. This tour was called 'Tales from a Forgotten City" and focused on the Seige of Sarajevo. As we drove through the city, Mohammed told us the story of how the siege started and pointed out various places that played an important part. The stories were heartbreaking and it was even more hard-hitting from someone who lived through it as a child. But I won't share anything because I think you should take the tour yourself! We then headed to the Tunnel Museum where you can walk a section of the tunnel that was built to smuggle goods and people out of Sarajevo during the siege. A striking experience and the opportunity to learn about everyday people who rose up to face challenges. To finish off the tour we stopped at a local view spot to take in the sight of the city and eat some burek - tasty pastry snacks filled with meat or spinach and cheese that Sarajevo is famous for.

The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out and walking around the markets. I picked up some jewellery and a little metal dish that I now keep salt in at home. We went for dinner at a place that had fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor. We were on the hunt for cevapi - the national dish of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Little kebabs that come served with flatbreads and salad. A very simple meal but very delicious. We were all incredibly satisfied. We then finished off our last night in Sarajevo by hanging out together and having a few drinks. Despite being a predominantly Muslim city, Sarajevo still has lots of fantastic bars and an impressive nightlife.

The next morning we were up very early to catch a train to Mostar. I was so sad to be leaving Sarajevo and would have been happy to spend a few more days there - though I know I'll return one day!

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A Day in Edinburgh with Megabus [gifted]

Sunday, 17 November 2019
"I always feel that when I come to Edinburgh, in many ways I am coming home."

- Alan Rickman

Megabus has recently launched new routes connecting Edinburgh to new UK cities. To celebrate, they've challenged me to show you how you can spend one day exploring Edinburgh for £60. I lived in Edinburgh for 4 years during university and grew up nearby - so I reckon I can give some fantastic tips. Edinburgh is a beautiful city and it's quite small, so it's easy to cover a lot of ground in a small space of time. Let's get started!