Bosnia, the heart of the Balkans part 2 : Sarajevo

 Sarajevo Travel Guide

General information: It is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 300 000 inhabitants. It is pronounced like “Saraievo”. I write it because I know you can be confused with the “j” The official language is actually three of them: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. If you ask me, it’s the same thing, because I know very well that among the three nationalities living in Bosnia, everyone understands each other perfectly. I wrote a bit more about that in my Banja Luka article. In Sarajevo the vast majority is Bosniak (Bosnian muslims). Young people usually speak English, and much better than in some Western European countries. The official currency is BAM – the convertible marka. Bosnia is not part of the European Union so you must necessarily take your passport, even if you are EU citizen. And you have to be patient at border crossings where usually they ask a lot and review things. Sometimes is really annoying because they ask stupid things and I had the impression they ask just because they are bored on their job. So, patience. Or simply go by plane. The standard of living is not that high, so if you come from the “west”, you will enjoy it. For me it was very cheap, and I am from Croatia, always complaining that everything is expensive. The city is very safe, you can take a walk at two in the morning without worrying. Regarding the weather, during the winter it’s usually very cold, with snow, so you have to be appropriately dressed, if not you will freeze. Not recommended. Also, it’s important to know that sometimes during the night there are water restrictions so just a little bit of water can be used, if any. But during the day everything is normal.

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Bosnia, the heart of the Balkans part 1 : Banja Luka

General information: Banja Luka (the pronunciation – Bania Luka) has about 200,000 inhabitants, the official language is Serbian, the signs are in the Cyrillic alphabet, but the menus in restaurants are always in the Latin alphabet. In case you do not understand what Cyrillic and Latin means, well you will understand it when you come to the town and get lost. Cyrillic is used in Russia, for example. and Latin is used by the big majority of western countries. Sooo, Banja Luka and Бања Лука are the same thing. Fantastic. So you will get smarter by being in this town, because you will learn a new alphabet. In Bosnia where Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks live, the two alphabets are used, but this part is mostly Serbian, of Orthodox religion and they use Cyrillic more. The official currency is the BAM, convertible mark (marka in Bosnian). One euro equals two marks. There are exchange offices, but during the weekend they close very early like at 4 pm. Not everywhere you can pay with credit/debit cards (basically with any kind of cards) so it’s good to have cash. The city has an airport, half hour away from the city by car. Public transport consists of buses, but if you are going to stay just in the city you don’t need it, it’s more beautiful to walk around and get to know the city. If you decide to know the surroundings, there is a hill near by, and also the Krupa waterfalls, 30 kilometers from the city.

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