Saturday, August 9, 2014

bosnian roadtrip #1

before leaving | iPhone 4s + VSCOcam


where are you going again?

“Bosnia”. seeing the facial expressions that our answer evoked almost made me rethink our destination. yes, Sarajevo is not a typical summer destination for Italians, but, considering the number of “why?” that followed my answer, you’d think that Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a touristic destination at all, which is absolutely not true: many foreigner license plates move around Bosnian roads during summer, Mostar and Sarajevo’s tiny streets are crowded with tourists, and we met many young travellers from all around the world in all the hostels and guest houses where we stayed.

so, the surprise was not about the touristic value of the destination, but about the shadow of the war that continues to follow the name of this complicated country. i was a kid in the nineties, and the Bosnian war was one of the many wars seen on the tv news, but nearer, and therefore more real. it’s not guilt, the feeling that arouse when we think about the Bosnian war in 1992-1996, but it looks a lot like it. we were dreaming the European Union dream, and genocides were taking place a few kilometers outside our disappearing borders.

anyway, this is not the place, nor i am an adequately qualified person to talk about this. i’d try to mention the war as little as possible during this trip’s reportage, because that was exactly my goal: to build another Bosnia in my consciousness. a big mosaic made of landscapes, faces, songs, stories, animals, past, future, architecture, myths, books, religions, recipes. a place that was touched by a bloody war but that’s not its only feature.

this, to know Bosnia better, to be able to think about it regardless of the war, was one of the reasons why we chose Bosnia as our destination, but not the only one. other reasons had been more practical: near, with a good ferry boat connection, doable by lambretta, cheap; others more intangible: we’ve heard a lot about Bosnia and Sarajevo during the past months. as the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the 1st world war (yeah, another war.), Sarajevo was on the news for a while, being the casus belli scene (archiduke Franz Ferdinand was killed on Sarajevo’s latin bridge, triggering the diplomatic crisis between Austro Hungarian empire and Serbia). moreover, my sister just graduated with a thesis on a project developed in Bosnia, where she took two field trips.
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