For Molly and I, what started as a trip to southern France, has transformed into one giant history lesson about Europe’s darkest 32 years. Everywhere on this continent there is death, loss, violence and destruction.
Of all the amazing and surprising things we’ve seen, perhaps no other place has earned that sentiment more than the Republic of Srpska: Never in my life did I expect to see The Republic of Srpska . . . twice.
I’ve been thinking about favorite days in Europe now that we are almost half way through our trip. Here’s the little list I came up with:
Sarajevo struck us as a friendly, tolerant, multicultural, midsized city with a beautiful backdrop of gradual hills and steep mountains. Influences from the Ottoman empire of the east and the Roman, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian empires of the west have left an indelible mark on the city through culture and religion.
On the second morning of our stay in Sarajevo, Adam almost choked on his Turkish coffee when I announced that I’d like to go to a museum. The day before, we had the privilege of touring the city with a local – a friend of a friend – who, like most Sarajevans 22 years of age or older, lived through the four year siege on Sarajevo, the longest siege in the history of the modern world.
It feels exactly like a grimy version of the train car the aristocrats in Anna Karenina would have ridden in – it’s not absurd to think it might actually be a train car Tolstoy himself rode in 150 years ago.
Outside of the charming old town, there are signs of war and destruction all over the place, woven harshly into the fabric of everyday life.