Bosnia is different. I realiced that in the first few hours by entering the country. Warning signs for minefields are suspended along the road. A sad reminder to the Civil War.
At the first Night some Roma Kids harassed me when i wanted to sleep in a Sport Stadion. Fortunately some people helped me to find a Hostel where i could stay for the night. The very next day i experienced the opposite.
In Srebrenik stands the Castle of Srebrenik. A men stoped me, when i wanted to get there. Meho and his neighbor Sehalia drove me to the Castle and invited me for having lunch.
Meho told me a lot about the social problems in Bosnia and Hercegovina. A normal worker earns about 10- 15 € per day. The average pension amount to 150 € per month. The most people are growing their own vegetables in the garden. Otherwise they had no chance to survive.
Immediately after Tuzla i met the first cyclist since Austria. Rich from the USA is cycling with his recumbent bike through Europe.
In Potočari i visited a further sad part about the history of this country. The Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide, was the genocidal killing, in July 1995, of more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War. While looking at the grave stones, which were erected for every single Victim of the Genocide, you hint slowly the dimension of this crime.
I found an inscription on a memorial stone very important:
„In the Name of God.
The most Merciful,
the most Compassionate.
We pray to Almighty God.
May grievance become hope!
May revenge become justice!Er
May mothers tears become prayers.
That Srebrenica never happens again.
To no one and nowhere!“
A few days later i arrived in Sarajevo. 10 years ago i visited Sarajevo the last time. Many things have changed since that time. Especially Baščaršijske, the city centre, feels for me like „little Istanbul“. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that sparked World War I. Seventy years later, it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. For nearly four years, from 1992 to 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare (1,425 days long) during the Bosnian War.
On my way back from my visit of the Tunnel of Hope (The tunnel linked the Sarajevo neighborhoods of Dobrinja and Butmir, allowing food, war supplies, and humanitarian aid to come into the city, and people to get out.) a lady invited me for a tea. Azra lived in New York for 3 years. Here father is proud 92 years old. He experienced nearly 3 wars during his live. It was a great honor to meet him.
I decided to cycle through the mountains to see more from the rural area. Bosnia and Hercegovina is a land of contrasts with a moving past. I hope that the cultural diversity will remain. This makes this country so unique.