New Yorker Moments: Snapshots From Sarajevo

I’ve just returned from my trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia!  While it wasn’t the first time I’ve been there (once before in 2012 for a solo trip), it was a completely different experience this time since I went with my hubby and in-laws, all of whom haven’t been back to their motherland in 14 years!  Needless to say, this time around was less about visiting museums and historical sites and more about meeting and visiting extended family members and friends.  Who knew I was now related to about half of Sarajevo?!

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I’ve spoken before about trying to learn the language, and while I’d say my understanding rate is still pretty low, I have certainly mastered the art of hellos and goodbyes, which we’ll consider a small success!

A visit to a Bosnian household is quite a treat.  While in America the custom may be (at least in my house), “can I get you anything to drink?”, and when the person responds “no, thanks”, to just leave it at that, this absolutely doesn’t fly in Bosnian hoods (which are referred to as “mahalas”.)  Every time we’d visit a house, we were served a huge spread of traditional Bosnian coffee, juice, sparkling and still water, and sweet and savory treats.  They wouldn’t take no for an answer, I tell you!  And of course it would be considered rudest of rude not to accept.  End story: it’s a good thing we came back when we did or we would have been rolled onto the plane!

One of the highlights of the trip was a beautiful dinner arranged by the family where they took my love for the story “The Little Prince” and provided Bosnian versions of the book for all the guests and a Little Prince cake!  Completely, completely touched.

Seriously, Sarajevo hospitality just can’t be beat, and I feel really blessed to have such a wonderful culture of people to now call family.

Here’s snapshots from my iPhone that didn’t make it on Instagram.  Hanging out with that herd of sheep was the ultimate:-)

And if you’re in need of a US Visa Waiver during your travels, be sure to apply electronically online.  Happy travels!

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24 Comments

  • Bosnian families remind me of Filipino ones as I pretty much experienced the same level of hospitality when visiting my parents’ families in the Philippines this June. I’ve wondered if everyone gets this treatment or if it has something to do with being long-gone relatives. It must have been such a difference to visit Bosnia with native family this time as opposed to being merely a tourist. NIce sheep herd photo. You’re definitely not in NYC.

    • Used York City says:

      Haha, I’m beginning to think it’s just Americans that need to step the hospitality up a bit!;-) Sees like a lot of other cultures have it down to a science!

  • Heather says:

    What a special visit! That was so very sweet of them to include something you love so much. That’s a lesson in how to be a good host that we’d all do well to take to heart!

    • Used York City says:

      It really is! While it’s hard to play “hostess” in our tiny NYC apartment, it’s definitely encouraged me to try a little harder;-)

  • Bosnian sound like Lebanese and Italian re don’t accept no as an answer! I never made it to Bosnia but it’s definitely on my bucket list! It looks beautiful!
    Well, we’re in spring now in Australia and I can’t wait for summer to be here!
    And, I also adore The Little Prince!

    • Used York City says:

      I hope you make it over there, you’d love it!:-)

      Oh and that’s right…reversed seasons! I will live vivaciously through your posts during our long, cold, NYC winter!;-)

  • How nice of the family to set out a spread involving the little prince. It is moment like that that make traveling so much fun.

  • Lovely! Although, I’m not I’d make it up that hill. Maybe I could ride up on a sheep! :)

  • jan says:

    Was that a stained glass ceiling I spied? Your last photo of green cup and red delight is very inviting – I felt like I should be drinking from that cup and eating the delight. I love that the culture is to play guitars outside with nature. You are very lucky indeed.

    • Used York City says:

      The stained glass ceiling is in what used to be the Sarajevo Library (it was destroyed during the war), and has recently reopened after A LOT of renovations as the city’s new City Hall…stunning building!

  • Muza-chan says:

    Beautiful place…

  • Sanja Mehremic says:

    Absolutely love the article. I, myself, am Bosnian. Truly a touching article about my homeland. Thank you so much for sharing with others about how wonderful your experience was. The photos are as well breathtaking, especially, the one with the herd of sheep.

    • Used York City says:

      Thank you, Sanja! Your homeland is truly a special one, and I look forward to retuning regularly to embrace the culture as my own! Now to work on my language skills…!;-)

  • noel says:

    This is one country I would love to explore but didn’t have enough time when I was visiting close by in Croatia…one day I would love to revisit and spend more time in the Balkans

  • Tamara says:

    Sometimes when I visit a house and I’m offered something to eat or drink, I politely decline but really I want to say “yes!” So I’d fit in well there, and I’d learn not to decline when I really mean to say yes.

    • Used York City says:

      That’s a great point, Tamara! I think sometimes our American culture leans towards saying no to be nice, in terms of not wanting people to have to go out of their way…(true even for New Yorkers!;-)

  • How wonderful to have experienced all that lovely Bosnian hospitality. I haven’t been to Sarajevo but last year I spent some time in Mostar and stayed with a very welcoming local family. You’re right that they won’t take no for an answer, we were constantly being given drinks and snacks. Their insider knowledge was fantastic too. #TPThursday

    • Used York City says:

      Mostar is such a gorgeous city! I went there on my last trip and loved watching all the activity around the bridge:-)

  • looks SO nice! as much as I love city life, it’s nice to get away sometimes :)

    • Used York City says:

      Totally agree, Jenn! You’ve had a pretty exciting summer yourself, ya know, getting married and all…!!!;-)

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