My body and I need to come to a mutual agreement that, when I’m in bed by 9:30pm, regardless of how many a-holes interrupt my sleep with their shrill laughter and awkward attempts to hook up against my bedroom door, I will awake refreshed and rejuvenated the next morning. After all, I did my part. Unfortunately my passive-aggressive side saddles me with a headache instead of just saying what’s on its mind – mainly “I hate you”. Well guess what, I hate you too (sometimes, mostly when I’m trying to look really calm and collected and you fail me – or when you give me a headache after a long sleepless night).
Headache in tow, Travis and I made our way to the airport, a forty-five minute bus trip from the Old Town of Ljubljana, and although we were sad to leave the beauty of Slovenia, we were also excited to be moving on to Sarajevo. Cranky, famished, with wet shoes and stinky feet, I couldn’t wait to arrive at the fantasy-land that is large international airports. Full of shops, restaurants, and if you’re lucky, free wi-fi, there are worse places to spend a few hours. However as it turns out, the Slovenian airport is less of a metropolitan adventure land than a shabby throwback to Yugoslavia. No, no, it’s ok that I said that, because our airport at home is equally as shameful; although it only serves 80,000 or so citizens and flies to such exotic locales as Fort St. John, Smithers, and Calgary, so no one is really up in arms over the lack of dining choices.
Luckily, the ever present Duty Free Shop came to my rescue, and a bulk bag of peanut m&m’s became both breakfast and lunch (peanuts for protein). Thank goodness for humankind’s incessant need to purchase oversized quantities of cheap cigarettes and liquor before leaving a country, or I may have starved to death.
As it turns out, the Slovenian airport’s main concern may not be fancy dining and shopping at all, but simply getting planes off the ground, as nearly every departure was delayed by ten to fifteen minutes. Later, we discovered the bottleneck causing this turmoil, as our gate opened a mere fifteen minutes before our scheduled departure time. Fortunately, the plane was small and comfortable, and less than 45 minutes later we were landing in Sarajevo.
Disembarking from the plane, we cleared customs in record time to find our bags already on the turnstile awaiting us. Although I didn’t see any luxury stores or sparkling restaurants in the airport, it’s already impressed me with it’s stunning efficiency (honestly, it was less than 15 minutes from walking out of the plane to standing outside the front doors of the airport). As a city still on the mend, there is currently no (reliable) public bus serving the airport, and although Travis and I could have likely found the tram station, a ten minute walk away, we decided to bite the bullet and treat ourselves to a relaxing cab ride to our accommodation.
Driving through Sarajevo, we immediately realized we weren’t in Kansas anymore – everything feels so different and more exotic than the parts of Europe we’ve visited before. The city is definitely growing and modernizing, as evident by a few large glass skyscrapers that dot the “new” town; however, crumbling communist era buildings riddled with bullet holes are still more common and immediately bring to mind the country’s recent bloody history.
After paying our driver and hiking up the three flights of stairs to our home for the next six days, we anxiously looked around – small place, seems quiet, likely no room for noisy travel groups. And, upon seeing our room, spacious with fluffy pillows, individual comforters, and a view of the historical Turkish district, we didn’t quite know what to do first, fall into bed or throw open the windows and breath in Sarajevo. From our windows, Travis and I peered out into this exciting new world, tapping the other to point out a mosque or partially demolished building. Although we tried to seem nonchalant, I’m sure we failed miserably.