I've always found a crazy kind of peace in Sarajevo. It's difficult to leave behind.
The sights and sounds of the city are enough to make one want to run away from real life and indefinitely-- to have the gentle lull of the river as the soundtrack to home or the minarets up in the hills as guiding lights. Much like New York, the only thing I dislike about Sarajevo is that I'm always leaving. So it goes.
I've written loads about this city and this country-- it just ignites something in me in a way that other places don't seem able to. Returning this trip was perhaps the best decision I've made so far in 2018, and I've made a lot of good decisions this year.
Sarajevo is the epitome of resilience and, in light of my previous experiences here, being in the city alone was a special thing.
I spent my last night of this trip, and my last night overseas for the time being at a tiny old town hole in the wall called 'To Be or Not To Be,' that houses two tables and is run entirely by its owner who is also the server and chef. She took my order and then promptly went into the kitchen nook to prepare it. As I sat, sipping a Herzegovina wine, I couldn't help but wish I had someone to share it with-- the subtle, visceral ridiculousness of the situation is almost impossible to describe to anyone who hasn't been through it. I could hear the sizzle of the stove and smell the bubbling red wine sauce that would compliment my meal. The heat from the kitchen made it feel just like home, and my host/server/restauranteur's smile had much the same effect.
This meal was everything I love about Sarajevo all at once. Friendliness, old town charm, a flair for tradition, and so much more. My heart swelled at the thought-- Sarajevo has never been an easy place to leave, and this time was perhaps the worst; I don't think it will ever get any easier.
I've never been good at saying goodbyes, especially to places I've loved, so instead to Sarajevo I've said 'see you soon,' whenever that may be.