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Destination Bosnia:
Surprising Sarajevo –
Dinner in Grandma's Kitchen
(Dispatch #2)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia

n June 28, 1914, the shots that triggered World War I were fired from an assassin's pistol on one of her flagstone-paved streets.

In 1984, she returned to the world stage, draped in gold, silver and bronze, as she hosted the Olympic Winter Games.

And, sadly, for 1,425 days, between 1992-1995, she was under siege, surrounded by enemy forces and fighting for her life.

Today, just like the phoenix, that mythical firebird that rose from the ashes, she, too, has been reborn and is quickly becoming one of the coolest and trendiest cities in Europe.

Who is she?

another aerial view of Sarajevo

She's Sarajevo, one of the jewels of the Balkans and the rallying point for the newest "band of merry media," 18 intrepid travel writers and photographers invited along by Insight Vacations to sample the sights, sounds and savors of Bosnia and Croatia's Dalmatian Riviera.

ruins in Sarajevo with the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque minaret in the background

Arriving a day early, I head for my fourth floor room at the remodeled Hotel Europe, a five-star, 174 room hotel that's the city's first modern hospitality venue, located just a few steps away from the atmospheric Baščaršija, the 15th century Ottoman bazaar in the heart of the city's Stari Grad (Old Town) district.

Rolling back the heavy shutters, I take in my first sights AND sounds of this east-meets-west capital city just as a muezzin, standing high above the crowd in the minaret of the nearby Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, performs the late afternoon salat, the obligatory Muslim prayer ritual that's performed five times daily.

one of the flagstone alleyways at the Bascarsija bazaar

I, too, count my blessings and eagerly hit the flagstone alleyways and go in search of traditional Bosnian cuisine. I strike gold at Nanina Kuhinja (Grandma's Kitchen) an intimate, alcohol-friendly, "national" restaurant at 35 Kundurdžiluk in the heart of the Baščaršija.

waitress at the Nanina Kuhinja, bell peppers stuffed with rice and minced meat and veal-based stir fry in a spicy paprika sauce

Only a handful of tables inside, and a few more outside, I score a window seat to watch the passersby, order a carafe of the house red, break somun (flat bread) and begin to scan the laminated menu. I really don't know where to start, so I ask my effervescent waitress to choose for me. She recommends punjene paprike (bell peppers stuffed with rice and minced meat) and mućkalica (a veal-based stir fry in a spicy paprika sauce). I agree and so begins my very first Bosnian feast.

baklava and tufahija dessert at Nanina Kuhinja

Dinner in Sarajevo, or Bosnia for that matter, is not complete until you taste the signature desserts of baklava (filo dough filled with chopped nuts and held together with sweet, gooey honey) and tufahija (poached apples stuffed with nuts). I can't hold back my sweet tooth, succumb and order both.

Bosnian coffee

I cap the dinner with Bosnian coffee. Similar to the strong Turkish brew, the Sarajevan version is served from a džezva, a small copper pot, poured into a fildžan (an espresso-size, handless china cup).

Like the locals, I take my sweet time savoring the simple hot water poured over unfiltered grounds until my waitress returns and offers me a complimentary shot of rakija, a homemade brandy.

Živjeli! (Cheers!)

Insight Vacatoions' Sarajevo and Dalmatian Riviera brochure

For complete information on Insight's premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including 113 journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

With my alarm set for sunrise, thanks to the muezzin's call to prayer just outside my window, I'll see you back out on the cobble bright and early tomorrow morning as we climb up one of the hills to the Yellow Fortress for some great views of the city.

Sarajevo at night

Laku noć (Good night) from surprising Sarajevo.

Related Articles:
Destination: Bosnia and the Dalmatian Riviera (Dispatch #1); An Eastern Mediterranean Odyssey; Sailing the Adriatic with Silversea: A Moment in Montenegro; Insight Vacations' Bohemian Rhapsody

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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nguins on  shore as writer's cruise ship passes by, Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more, but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages. Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.

Go There

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Greg at Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is legendary around the world as one of the best surfing spots. Its waves and beaches are so great, it is also officially known as "Surf City." But as I learned on a recent getaway, the town is more than just tasty swells and beautiful white sand; it also boasts gourmet restaurants, luxury, ocean-front hotels, great shopping, and tons of California coastal charm.

Go There

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