Category Archives: Balkans

Sarajevo – Zagreb, one last time.

How much more can you write about the Balkans? Well, in fact a lot. You can say, for example, that you finally managed to find a Sarajevo Rose and, whilst you were standing there thinking “Somebody died here” a group … Continue reading

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On the night bus.

Eyes closed, you rub your palms on the face, trying to restart circulation. You stop and catch your reflex in the brown bottle of Sarajevska – the fifth, or sixth? – of the day. It looks exactly as tired as it … Continue reading

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Börek, burek, byrek, byorek, bouréki: a food pilgrimage.

In 1389 a momentous event happened, something that changed the landscape of the Balkans, and of much of Central Europe, for ever. The armies of Murad I, no longer held in check by the Byzantine empire, swarmed into the Balkan … Continue reading

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Zagreb people watching

Sometimes, the places we least think about are those that leave the deepest impression, and this was the case with Zagreb. Of our errands through the Balkans, the Croatian capital was the only place I thought about as a stopover and … Continue reading

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Sunset in Zadar

We rolled down from the mountains, through caves and gorges, towards the sea, as if driven by an invisible force. Zadar was our goal, an old Venetian town built on a small peninsula, a natural battleship moored in a landscape … Continue reading

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Sarajevo people (and dog) watching

I had always had a positive connotation towards Sarajevo. For whatever reason, the Bosnian capital is in my list of places – including Tbilisi, Budapest and a few others – that, I’m convinced, cannot harbor any fathead. This belief has … Continue reading

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Veterans

I was standing outside the National Library of Sarajevo, looking at the mountains reflecting in the glass doors of the grand entrance – the same mountains from which incendiary ordnance was dropped, burning the Library and its heritage to the … Continue reading

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Bullet holes and tombstones: entering Sarajevo

If I had any doubts about how fragmented the kaleidoscope of Bosnia’s ethnicities was, a drive to Sarajevo was all I needed to dispel them. My passport was stamped at a crossing in Šamac, in the Republika Srpska and as … Continue reading

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Honey, scenic roads and wrong turns: A brief guide to driving in the Balkans

The road is a perfect combination of smooth tarmac, beautifully designed hairpin bends and quick straights that seem to say “Come on, get loose on that accelerator”. A bit of traffic is coming the other way – trucks, mostly, and the … Continue reading

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