Sarajevo and Zlata’s Diary: A Memorable Trip to Bosnia

Anwar Noor Baloch
My purpose of traveling to Bosnia was just to come out from the daily routine. People get sick because of the same routine every day.  It is life requirement to come out from such routines and get rid of same people for a while.
In life it is important to get rid of same mentality either from friends, family members or colleagues at workplace for some period of time. I did the same, this time.  I usually carry a book or my “kindle – an electronic reading or e-Book” to read while traveling, but this time I didn’t even carry a single book with me.
I want to conclude before the conclusion that, my wife, my son and I really enjoyed the trip and it was one of the finest destinations.
At the Sarajevo International Airport (Bosnia), it was founded that the airport was not one of the busiest airports; it was maybe due to the season as usually people visit Bosnia in summer, especially from Gulf Countries.
The flight landed at quarter to eleven in the morning and my eyes were searching to the guide. I did not see my name, where usually all guides carry the names of their tourists.
I saw my first name but the last name was not mine. “What to do now?” I wondered and got a little panic as my cell phone was out of order. At such situations my mind always refers to the book Lateral Thinking of Edward de bono for different options and solutions, that what to do next.
“Are you from Mr. Adam? Have you booked your hotel and travel package through him?” The tall white man with long beard wears a black jacket, asked me respectfully. “Yes, I have booked through him”, I replied.
“I am your guide. My name is Ahmed. Your name has been typed by mistake as we receive many tourists, which leads to confusions and mistakes sometimes. My apologies and come with me”, he said. I became satisfied and followed him toward the car.
“Father, I suggest we shouldn’t go with him”, my son told me in Balochi language while we were following him. Why? I asked the reason to my son. “Father, you don’t know we might be kidnapped and I have that doubt”, he justified. “You don’t need to worry”, I cleared his anxiety. Finally, we have not been kidnapped and have reached to our four star hotel safely.
It is a good idea to do some kind of research (pre-research) about the destination where someone is aiming to tour. Google is helpful in this. I also did the research in Google about Bosnia’s people, culture, history, trade and business, climate and places to visit.
“Tomorrow we will be starting our journey as scheduled. Today you take a rest. I catch you tomorrow by ten in the morning”, said the guide. We agreed.
Next day we drove to the mountain areas where snow falls. “If you want to try ice-skating, this is the place. Tickets can be bought on that window”, said the guide. I tried this activity once in Shimla, India and it didn’t go well. Gliding on the ice surface is unsafe for untried person. Nevertheless, the place with white snow, different activities and charming and shining faces of visitors has really made us to enjoy and see people ice skating perfectly.
“Now we are driving to the war tunnel museum – Tunnel of Hope” said the guide. We bought three tickets for nine marks (BAM) to enter to the museum which was the major “blood vessel” for heavily sieged and destroyed city.
This place took us to remember one of the historical wars of Bosnia and Sarajevo, (1992-1995).  We came to know how women and children suffered in this war, we came to know how men carried their daily rations and cross the tunnel. Photos of warriors and heroes who had been killed in the war were placed on the wall of the museum.
Mostar was one of my favorite places of visit in Bosnia. It is a place of Sufism as I found. The Sufism is one of the sects of Islam. At this beautiful and most attractive place for tourists took me to the period of Ottoman Empire, where I saw mosques with beautiful design, the old bridge and the bazaar which looked like that someone has painted it with hands and designed it mindfully.
Economically, it can be said that, it is not a rich country but people are hard working. You can see men and women both work together and there is no a gender problem.
“These are Arabs came from Morocco, Algeria and maybe from Syria and they want to go to Europe countries through Bosnia”, said Ahmed, when I asked him after observing these people on the street selling products for their daily survival. It was a matter of sadness when I saw them selling under the rain and cold weather and some of them were not even wearing jackets.
All of sudden, while walking in the old market of Sarajevo we found a book shop. I was not interested to purchase books this time. “Let’s go inside and see we may get some good books for reading”, my son forced me and we entered the shop. Most of the books were in Sarajevo language, there was only a small portion/section of English books. Zlata’s Diary was on the shelf and I thought it is maybe a book for children as it is very small book with 192 pages with a child photo on the cover of the book.

A child’s life in Sarajevo was written beside the photo of the child on the cover. This sentence attracted me to buy it and read it. I bought it and started to read it on spot, where I found how a child whose age is around eleven or twelve years old can write such a diary during the war. Every day she wrote something about their suffering during the war. She experienced the suffering of her parents, classmates, neighbors, and friends.
“Imagine waking up to the sound of gunfire and explosions. It is so loud it sounds like it’s coming from the next room. It shakes your bed and it is terrifying.” This was written in the page of the introduction of the book and led me to go for reading the book enthusiastically.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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