Good news, I made it back to Freiburg safe and sound! I have to say that flying is so much more enjoyable when it’s with a group of friends (even when you get on a flight with three babies all crying in unison).
Here are some highlights from the rest of the field trip in Bosnia:
-Tour of the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center: Okay, I’m not sure highlight is the right term for something so depressing, but it’s an experience I’m definitely glad that I had. Seeing the endless rows of tombstones really made me reflect on how lucky I am to never have experienced a genocide or anything close to it. Our tour guide had lost his dad and twin brother, so it was especially moving to hear testimony from him in particular.
-I had my first baklava, and it was the most delicious thing in Bosnia.
-One evening during iftar (the Muslim meal to break the fast at sunset; we were there during Ramadan), we went up to a public eating platform on the side of the mountain and stayed there until the sun went down. You could see the glittering city for miles, and it was the perfect way to end our last night in Sarajevo.
-Mostar featured one of the most beautiful blue rivers I’ve ever seen. We spent a lot of time eating ice cream on the bank as we watched tourists pay the speedo-clad locals to jump off The Old Bridge. It’s kind of funny, because when I read Greg Hauser’s blog about swimming in Mostar and he said the water was “colder than a penguin’s foot,” I thought ha, that’s cute. Then I actually tested the water and MAN it was cold. The 90 degree day had me fully intending to get in until my feet started to ache in under a minute. I have endless respect for anyone brave enough to strip down and actually jump in.
-After our farewell dinner of regional classics like ćevapi and Bosnian cake, the gang and I went to The Cave, which is the coolest club I’ve ever been to (It’s also the only club I’ve ever been to, so that might have something to do with it). The entire club is literally inside a cave, so the tables are situated back in the crevices, and there’s cool cave air circulating to keep the dancefloor from getting too stuffy. It’s definitely worth checking out.
-If you want souvenirs, look no further than Mostar. It’s very much a tourist-centered city, and the streets are lined on both sides with back-to-back trinket stands that accept several kinds of currency. It’s a bit more expensive than the prices in Sarajevo, but there’s also a better variety.
Bosnia exceeded my expectations in so many ways—the scenery was breathtaking, the locals were friendly and quick to assist us in English, and I never had a bad meal. I would say that I look forward to the routine of being back in Freiburg, but I think there’s going to be very little of that this week, too. In addition to our midterms, one of the girls in our program is having her twenty-first birthday on Wednesday, so we plan to celebrate accordingly (or at least as accordingly as we can on a Wednesday night with a 9:00am midterm the next day). This upcoming weekend is our last free weekend in the program, and for the most part I think the eleven of us are going our separate ways, which is rare. I’ll be taking a bus to Nürnberg to stay with one of my German friends for her high school graduation. Hopefully I can buy a jacket when I get there, because it’s been a surprisingly wet and chilly summer so far.
A week from now, I’ll be preparing for Greece and Cyprus. I can’t believe we’re already over halfway done with the program! It’s gone by very fast, and there are times when I feel like I’ve been here forever. I’m not sure how I’m going to adjust to going back to a lifestyle that’s so completely different from what’s going on now. Of course I’m not ready to find out just yet!
Until next time,