Saturday, May 30, 2015

Last field trip

We went to see another river spring to life. It turns out that every teacher in the area had the same idea, so there were hundreds of children there as well. It was amazing to see how the river comes gushing out of the base of the hill.

A swan paddled against the current so that it could stay in one place.

Everything is so verdant compared to our desert home.

The water is incredibly clear and the growth in it looks like a map of the world or something like that.

We went to a lecture after the park, but didn't take pictures there. It was about urbanization and architecture in Sarajevo. Some very creative people presented using film and pictures and it was very interesting. 

We have learned a lot here, and had a good time getting to know MCC in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Lunch at a trout farm

Cornelius and Shauna knew this great restaurant that grows its own fish on site and were happy to bring us there.

It is only a few minutes away from Sarajevo, but is very rural.

We sat in the shade and all ate fresh grilled trout.

One of these fish is not like the others. We didn't meet our fish before we ate, so we could thoroughly enjoy them.

Franz and Sophie's

Life really is too short to drink ordinary green tea, when there are hundreds of blends waiting for you to try. We had to visit this tea shop because when Tamara went there in January to buy us some tea, the guy asked questions about us so that he could choose just the right tea for us. We love it, so came here to meet this man and to choose some tea for ourselves.

Here is just one small selection of teas available. The funny thing is that Bosnians only drink tea for medicinal purposes, so this is a hard sell in Sarajevo.

A timer was set, so that each of our teas was steeped to perfection. First he brewed the tea in the clear pots and then transferred it to the white pots. 

The tea guy is Adnan, and he and Phyllis are great friends now. He chose some great tea for some of our team members.
We are looking forward to enjoying some great tea in the months to come.

Friday, May 29, 2015


We had a portion of lamb for supper. They were traditionally rotated using a water wheel, though these are turned with small electric motors. There were about a dozen of these restaurants in a row down the highway, all roasting their sheep in sight of the road. It was very delicious. Behind the restaurant is a river, so we had a good view to enjoy as well.

Pocitelj, Herzegovina

We stopped in the Medieval town of Pocitelj which ten years ago was vacant. Now people have discovered that it has tourist dollar potential and others are trying to get it classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. We bought some fruit we've never seen before, served in a paper cone.

There is a watch tower at the top of a cliff, which two of us climbed.

These two.

This roof is seriously rotten, so we didn't linger too long.

There is a great view at the top though. Beyond the mountains in the background is the Mediterranean Sea. At the top we met a woman who begged us for a bandaid. Fortunately I had one for her, and she claimed that I had saved her life. So it was well worth the effort of climbing all those steps.

Blagaj, Herzegovina

We went to the source of the River Buna in Blagaj.

The water is pure at this point. Legend has it that drinking from the source will cause you to return. Hmm.

There is a Dervish monestary at the source called Blagaj Tekija, founded in 1520. There were no Dervishes to be seen this day.

Mostar, Herzegovina

The road is two lane and windy. It was great to see mountains and greenery.

We parked the car beside this building.

Cornelius shows the wooden support for the shale roof.

Pomegranate tree. A first for two of us.

The famous bridge. There is a YouTube video of this bridge being destroyed. 

Young men work the crowd, asking for money. When they collect enough they will jump off the bridge. We just happened to be at the right spot at the right time to get the full effect.

You can see the jumper in front of the red tiles.

Another view of the bridge. We had lunch on the terrace on the extreme right of this photo.

Our tour guides. 

A lesser bridge in Mostar. 

Konjic Herzegovina

We were taken on a day trip to Herzegovina. Our first stop was to see one of the Ottoman stone bridges. This one, like most of the others, is a reconstruction because it was destroyed during the conflict here.

The day started off cool and cloudy.

This town is famous for its wood carving. We stopped to see a museum and a workshop where men were busy carving beautiful designs in the furniture they were making.

These traditional stools have a new twist with the many colours.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sight seeing in Sarajevo

Wednesday was a "free" day for us, so we took a tram to the old city and toured some museums.
The first one is a house rom the Ottoman period which was similar to the Muslim architecture in Cairo, though adapted to the colder climate with lower ceilings, indoor showers beside the stoves and a cellar for cold storage.

We couldn't figure out why these young people were taking pictures of each other pretending to film something. Eventually two actresses showed up and we were asked to be quiet while they filmed a scene a few times.

Sarajevo has many artesian wells that just sprout water continuously. A marked difference from the Egyptian desert.

For Conrad, a picture of his father looking like a tourist studying a guide book in the middle of the street.

We aren't used to hills either. This is a city within a valley, so there are hills on all sides to climb.

We visited the Jewish museum which is housed in a very lovely building.

We also visited the Orthodox Church which is a different kind of Orthodox from what we know.

Here is a cross just leaning against an outside wall.

Our last museum of the day was the "Sarajevo Historical Museum" which is dedicated to the most recent war and siege on the city. A very sobering exhibit. It's a bit shocking to see all the evidence of the fighting on all the buildings we see, so in a way the whole city is a memorial to the conflict.

Tea time

We were told that Bosnians can spend their whole day hanging out drinking coffee. Arthur opted for tea, but you get the idea. Phyllis asked for her whipped cream for her hot chocolate to be on the side.
Shauna and Cornelius are taking really good care of us. They are program coordinators for East Europe.

It's like the T is optional

This is where we are staying while in Sarajevo. The hotel that is.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina

Our Area Director lives in Sarajevo and we are here for the week for orientation. We are also getting a tour of the area. The city lies in a valley and we took a taxi to the top of the hill for a view. You can see why it was easy to siege the city in 1992.

Here is a view without us in the way.

We toured a bit of the old city which has the requisite square full of pigeons.

There is an old mosque there as well.

We toured the old city hall turned library, which was burned down during the war. This is where the cellist of Sarajevo played in the ruins. The building was reconstructed and they are now deciding what to do with it. 

While we were looking from the balcony a violinist and film crew preformed for us below.

Back on the streets we saw the mosque in action.

We were constantly reminded of the war because all of the buildings have bullet holes and the streets have marks of red showing where someone had been killed by a grenade. Above and below is a shell of a building being taken over by trees.