Saturday, July 4, 2009
July 3 - Train to Sarajevo
Lonely Planet lists the two and a half hour train ride through the mountains from Mostar to Sarajevo as one of the top five most scenic trips ever. Our train wound its way into the mountain canyon, following the green Neretva River gorge and hydroelectric dams and little farms. Through tunnels and switchbacks we crossed the Bjelasnica Mountains and descended into hazy Sarajevo.
In the afternoon Patricia and I wandered the old city, winding cobblestone streets and vendors chasing us down with perfume knock-offs. One of my best meals yet was at a tiny restaurant where we pointed out to the woman behind the counter what we wanted and then she created a bowl combining what we'd pointed at. The place was filled mostly with men, something I've noticed in this Moslem country. Nothing was written down yet everyone's bowl was made just right. I had dumplings with cream/cheese sauce, a specialty of this area, and meat-stuffed peppers and tomatoes. Incredibly savory.
Last night we tasted the beer at the large Austro-Hungarian Sarajevo brewery. I asked for a menu and the surly waiter told me they had three beers; light, dark, and unfiltered. He didn't give us a chance to order a second beer. The rain poured down as we left, crossing the Latin Bridge where Franz Ferdinand was shot, triggering the beginning of world war. We made our way darting from awning to awning until we found City Pub. Here a dj played house music and American classics like Micheal Jackson.