Of the four countries, and five cities we visited on our European tour, I will empathically say, Bosnia was the ‘best’. Best is a tough thing to say when I explain why I found it the most impactful. This is a city that, IN MY CHILDHOOD, suffered a civil war for 44 months. People starved, for 44 months. I was in primary school. The world knew, but didn’t do anything. I chose to read about Sarajevo/Bosnia prior to coming, and also read two books whilst in Sarajevo (yes, I even bought new books, which is something I NEVER do, but am so glad I did do!). These books really helped me to understand how it was to be in Sarajevo during this time. I also dated a Bosnian whilst at university, and that is a large reason I ever learnt about Bosnia.
My brother, Rory, returned back to the UK two days before my departure. Once he was on his way to the airport, I joined a hostel tour of the tunnel under the aiport (and got to see my little bro’s plane take off), and then onto the Toboggan course.
Doing these posts two months after my trip help me realise how much I enjoyed my time. Sure – there were struggles like the steep hills in Sarajevo, the cash card not working in Romania, and mould in bathrooms in Turkey. However, on the balance, I saw so much. I learnt so much about four other cultures, four other countries, and their capital cities. My brother was an awesome travel buddy – we were lazy for a good half of the day, really taking the rest and recover part of the holiday seriously. I often felt ‘guilt’ about this – not making the most of where we were. For Rory, he was homeless by work and home circumstances, so didn’t have the same hang up. And I shouldn’t either! Concurrently to this trip were some things happening in Australia that were challenging. For that reason, I travelled for three weeks, rather than four weeks. It got shocked responses from people I told in Bosnia that I was going home early. But I was ‘done’. I was rested. I no longe rhad the drive and momentum to go to another new place. I didn’t want to search for a good deal for a place to stay, or a flight. Actually, I think I realised – I don’t actually like to PLAN holidays. I might consider outsouring that next time – I didn’t hate my two weeks in Japan when I was largely ‘scheduled’; that trip, I did seek a little more idle time, but as that two week trip developed, I ekked out that time. And having a tour or a guide can really help you understand a culture, and answer your questions as they come into your mind (rather than relying on google when you get back to wifi).