The Balkan countries, with their proximity and size can be visited quite easily combining a couple of places. With no prescheduled itinerary we flew to Sarajevo from Istanbul, spent the weekend in this elegant city with Ottoman heritage; then traveled to Mostar by train and from Mostar found a bus which was going to the Kotor Bay via Herceg Novi, passing the Croatian border. We then rented a car in the city of Kotor and circled the gorgeous bay and finally dropped it at Podgorica airport.
Someone from Turkey like us, traveling to Sarajevo, will find it surprising to find, in the middle of Europe, such similar things she sees in her home town; fountain, grandfathers sitting in the garden of the mosque waiting for the next prayer, water pipe cafés, patty food, Turkish coffee, meat balls, the sounds of the mosque… the local people with blond hair and European look seem as if they were the tourists, not us. We are in the middle of Europe but it’s Ottoman culture. But still it’s our tourist gaze which sees the normal daily as if something exotic…The river that divides the city with its several little bridges on it makes it so delightful to stroll around; we pass one of them, we’re on the right hand side, go into the little neighborhoods, and suddenly we’re on the riverside again and pass to the other side to see the views of the hills. When we are right across the right side of town, sitting for a tea break, we suddenly realize that the old little bridge which stands in front of us is that famous one where The Duke of Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in 1914, we memorized this event in school as the event that started the first World War.