What is it good for?

There are almost always wars going on in our world in some form or another.  When peace arrises in some part of the world, chaos outbreaks in another.

What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing...?

It was only 15 years ago that the part of the world where I am visiting was in chaos.  It is impossible to imagine what life could have been like, but seeing some cities which were under seige and talking to local residents really helps create an idea of how terrible the conditions were in Bosnia and Serbia.

I was accompanied by some fun and rowdy erasmus students from Prague which made traveling to Belgrade and experiencing the city a lot of fun.

Rolling into Belgrade, just in time for sunrise.

The weekend was filled with protests and parties, we only took part in the parties. 

Much of the buildings were old and beat up.  

Even the main fortress of Belgrade, which has been demolished something like 38 times during its 500+ years of existence.

Despite the destruction, it was nice to experience a new culture, quite different from anything that I have known.  Hostility could be sensed in some ways and I didn't feel as though many Serbs had a feeling of national pride.

I said au revoir to my French, Spanish, and Portuguese travel companions and joined forces with a nice young Danish man, Morten, for the second part of my Balkan adventure.  We headed to the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo.  I was looking forward to comparing these two cultures who were so hostile so recently.

Home of the 1984 Olympics and situated within the mountains, I knew that physically, I would like Sarajevo.

 Bosnia is also an Islamic country filled with beautiful mosques which really intrigue me.

Sarajevo was under siege by the Serbians for 4 years, during which time the only access to the outside world was via the "Tunnel of Hope."

This tunnel spanned ~900m under the Sarajevo airport and into a courageous woman's house in a surrounding neighborhood.

This city has been significant in history for more reasons than the recent war - Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on this bridge which was the single event that began the first World War. 

Every part of this city was very enjoyable, even the local dark beer fresh from Sarajevska Pivara... Morten asked for a couple "big beers"... neither of us knew that "big" meant 1 liter.

My feeling during my short stay that Bosnians living in Sarajevo really valued their lives.  Maybe living 4 years under such terrible conditions really allowed these people to value life.

Sure there were many destructed buildings, but rather than make the city feel dirty and slummy, it gave a sense of pride.  

There was a sense that even though some buildings may not survive 4 years of bombing, a culture can live on.

BA - out


  1. Ben, the adventure looks amazing. I am glad you are having such an incredible journey and appreciate that you are sharing with us back home. Safe travels!


  2. I have a Canadian friend with Serbian heritage who visited there recently - he said it was depressing because they've never fully recovered from the war, and he doesn't think they ever will.

    However, he said it was eye opening and he realised how lucky his family was to get out before it all went bad.

  3. BEEEEEEER! Them some dandies! 'nother great post brotha ben.