A Piece of East in the West

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Dear H.S., around two years ago you advised me to visit Sarajevo. I jotted down the name of the city in my notebook, but only now I managed to put some flesh on top of its inky carcass. Throughout all this time I was desperately close to Sarajevo: I lived in the same part of the world, I travelled around it, but I never managed to set foot on its hills. And, to tell you the truth, when I finally saw the city with my own eyes, I didn’t expect your advice to hit the mark with such precision. The Balkans has been for me a piece of Asia in the middle of Europe from the very start, but Sarajevo is the quintessence of everything Eastern that I love, in one place. There are craggy mountains and green meadows; there are houses that climb on those slopes, like flocks of sheep; and there is the exoticism of minarets combined with the casualness of European boulevards. I drank the city in tiny cups of coffee and breathed it in, like smoke from a chatty narghile bar. I was frustrated, exasperated and enraged at some points, but so happy to peek into the chaos of my dear East one more time.

Thank and cheers,

O.

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