It’s a long way from Paris to Sarajevo. Or at least it’s a long time. Our flight from Paris to Zagreb was delayed but Croatia Air appeased us with croque monsieurs at the airport. We were expecting a 7 hour layover in Croatia anyway so it wasn’t like we were worried about missing the connecting flight.
Zagreb’s facilities are awfully spartan for a capital city airport. If there’s more to the place, we weren’t going to see it. Travellers passing through without Croatian visas are confined to a small waiting area with a snack bar: ham sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, and beer. We tried to escape to see if we could find other food (after the croque monsieurs, ordinary ham and cheese sandwiches did not appeal) but got sent back by passport control. No visa, no sandwich.
So I read my Kindle book, Andreas took a nap, and Alekka caught up on her math homework.
We learned that Croatia Airlines operates 13 planes. By the time we got to Bosnia we had ridden in 15% of the fleet.
We arrived in Sarajevo on the tail of a massive snowstorm. We had booked a hotel ahead of time so were able to tell the taxi driver where to take us. But the driver was so worried about getting stuck in a snowdrift that he left us at the bottom of the road and we had to lug our five giant suitcases and five overstuffed carry-ons up a slippery hill and then wrestle them upstairs one by one to the third floor. We seemed to be the only guests in the hotel so there were no witnesses to the spectacle. I am so done with this luggage.
A wisecracking young couple runs the front desk at this hotel. I like them. They are funny and helpful. They told us how to get to a street where we could find good Bosnian restaurants.
We followed their directions down the hill along narrow, snowy residential roads to an old part of the city that is closed to automobile traffic. It seems like a touristy kind of area but without any tourists at this time of year. The restaurant we picked had descriptions in English – good thing, because just from the look of it, the local language (Bosnian) is going to be a challenge for me.
The menu options were heavy on meat, with lots of beef and veal. I chose what turned out to be a very tender steak and a shaved cabbage salad dressed in oil and vinegar that tasted like good home cooking. No alcohol at this place – over half the population of Bosnia is Muslim – but surprisingly no coffee on the menu either. As we walked around after dinner, we realized that there are sweet shops all around where you can get coffee and fancy pastries. We stopped into one and ordered espresso and tiramisu. I think maybe we’re going to like it here.