Whenever I told anyone I was going to this part of the world, they looked at me with that face. You know the one that says Do your parents even love you? Do you know what that part of the world is like?
Well folks, its been over 20 years since any major war took place in that part of the world. The last time there was widespread violence there, I was wearing a diaper. Look at me now, a lot can happen in 20 years.
There are now at least 6 and at most 8 (depending on who you ask) independent countries in the former Yugoslavia. I got the pleasure of visiting 3 of them. I want to give you snippets of what they look like today, so that we can see the growth over the past 2o years.
I went to Slovenia for the free three weekends we had to travel. Sarah, Yein, and I decided to spend Friday night and most of Saturday in Ljubljana, the capital city, before heading to Bled, a small town, for the rest of our time. I did not really know much about Slovenia, so when I got off the train and looked around, I was not excited. We walked into this grungy all concrete part of the city. I remember thinking about how much it sucked to spend time here. I can be bratty sometimes. Also, I can be wrong. This was one of those times.
Once we got settled in, we walked downtown and saw this:
It may be hard to see, so I apologize, but it is this gorgeous nightscape. The architecture was unreal. There was a canal running through the city. My goodness, there just aren’t words, and this picture does not do it justice.
This man was blowing hundreds of bubbles at once and the kids walking by would just stop and play. It was such a picture of pure joy, I teared up a little.
Do you see all this beauty?! I mean, its legit. There is so much natural beauty.
Please enjoy this video. Also remember this sound could be heard around the lake for the most part.
Final thoughts on Slovenia:
-The people are kind. They were genuinely excited that we were in their country, and they were happy to show us around.
-They are really proud of being Slovenian. They love their little piece of the world, and fight to carry on the culture.
-They are also realistic, they know that Slovenia is small. They make sure that every student is bilingual so they can function in the outside world.
-Their cities are a blend of Italian and Austrian architecture, which makes them unique and gorgeous.
-When the guy at the hostel tells you to go to the other lake, go. Lake Bohinj was so beautiful and so freeing
Croatia: It. is. so. gorgeous.
Final Thoughts on Croatia:
-I don’t think there was any deep insight or anything in Croatia. It was just really fun. It was a quick three days, but I loved it.
-Not pictured: Me learning what cuttlefish is and eating it. I felt proud of myself.
I have no idea what this is exactly, but we just stumbled upon it and hung out for like 20 minutes. This is all that ever happened.
Fun Fact: This picture was taken while standing in the same place, just different ends of the street.
Final Thoughts on Bosnia:
-I don’t know if I have great words to sum up Bosnia. It is an amazing place. I would love to go for longer. I got to interact with a few local people, but I would love to know them more. There is a depth and a resiliency about the people there that is powerful. I know a decent amount about the conflict and all that big picture politics stuff, which is great and all, but I want to know the people. I want to understand their world.
-There is still a lot of brokenness in their government and challenges to overcome
-Bosnian food is delicious.
Final final thoughts:
-Sometimes we forget that people are just people. Human are the same wherever you go. There is a tendency to think of people in this part of the world as different. I’m not really sure why, but we do. People were not inherently different here than in anywhere else in the world.
-I had difficulty writing about this place. The words aren’t really there. I would type them and just delete them because they did not do this place justice. Sorry for all the pictures and not a lot of explanation.
-If you ever get a chance to go to this corner of the world, go. Stay as long as possible, and take me with you.