Sarajevo Grays

We arrive to Bascarsija to its center to sit for a cup of coffee waiting for our room to be ready. The pigeons swirl in the square as an old lady tosses seed to them. Every place seems to have a square like this with an old lady scattering seed soon after daybreak. Breathing in the chill morning air and drinking delicious strong macchiatos is just what we need after the horrific busride to get here.

But let's not dwell on the night trip, because arriving to Sarajevo rocked. It's such a beautiful city, surrounded by green mountains with pleasant people sweeping the cobblestone walkways. It was a gray day when we arrived and the clouds stuck with us the whole time, but only really tipped once. The blending of religions is apparent in the skyline. It's mostly Muslim, also apparent from the skyline, as we could count (without standing up) 20 minarets just from the balcony of our hostel. Within an eyeshot, crosses, domes and minarets all cut at the gloomy sky.

Traveling through southeastern Europe after staying a while in Turkey, you definitely see the Ottoman influences everywhere: in the foods and the words and the Turkish Quarters, which seem to be every town center's highlight. In the morning we explore the narrow cobbled streets of the Turkish Quarter where no cars can go. Copper coffee pots garland the windows of every other shop. Silk scarves and pretty knit goods fill the stores in between. The rest are cafes bars, restaurants and more kebab and burek fast food joints than you care to sample. It's definitely not a good place for vegetarians, so I end up eating a lot of burek. Burek is also Turkish, but Sarajevo has the and the best damned burek on the planet. (Burek is a flaky meat-filled pastry, but veggie versions can contain cheese, spinach, potato, or more creative versions with pumpkin, etc.) Also we become instant friends with a young Dutch couple caravannig through Europe. The four of us spend a couple nights of merrymaking with beers, "alternative cuisine" (not kebab) in To Be or Not To Be, ice cream, margaritas and mojitos, scant dancing and a long morning after relaxing.

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