July 1, 2011

Hello from Sarajevo!

Поздрав из Сарајева!

Sorry I've fallen off the map a bit, don't worry I'm alive and quite well, just extremely busy! My professors are keeping our group very, very busy on this trip which is fantastic and exhausting all at once! I don't have a tremendous amount of time to write so I'll try and keep this brief!

We started our trip in Amsterdam and spent about 2 days there before heading to The Hague where we spent the majority of our time at the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We actually got to sit in on the ICC hearing where the decision to issue arrest warrants for Gaddafi et al in Libya was announced. Super cool if you're a political nerd like me! Then we got to sit in on the trial for Radovan Karadzic, the former president of Repubika Srpska who is being tried with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. That was insanely surreal.

So I had been to Amsterdam once before but didn't really like it and kind of felt the same way this time around but The Hague was beautiful! Let me tell you something about The Netherlands though, you haven't heard of bike friendly until you've been here. They have pedestrian lanes, bike lanes and car lanes on EVERY single street. The bike lanes even have their own traffic lights and there are hardly any cars because everyone is biking! We wanted to rent bikes and ride down to the beach but unfortunately, it downpoured on the night we tried to do so.

But you don't really care about international criminal courts and such, you all want to see pictures, right? So, here are a few from The Hague.

The Peace Palace
See what I mean? They even have parking garages for bikes!

Love the Dutch canals!
The Peace Palace at night
 And now, I'm sitting in a quaint little B&B in Sarajevo which I am absolutely in love with. It's always been my dream to come to Bosnia ever since I worked with an organization that had a field office here and I'm so excited to finally be here. Sarajevo is absolutely everything I expected and so much ore. This city is breathtakingly beautiful in a way I have never experienced but it's so surreal to be here and see the shell casings and bullet holes that are so visible on every single building. If I can recommend any book to you, please, please, please go out and buy "The Cellist of Sarajevo" which I just finished today and which gives such a unique perspective of this city during the war that just sitting here looking up at the hills makes me shudder to think of the siege and what this city went through.

I wish I could stay here for a week because I just want to walk around and explore and see everything and talk to people and just be here because as I posted on Facebook yesterday, I think I have a crush on this city. And here are some pictures to show you just why:

View of the hills
On the Miljacka River

The Latin Bridge
 So tonight we have a group dinner in the hills and tomorrow we're going into Republika Srpska to visit Srebrenica, where the genocide happened. It's going to be a really tough day but I think it's so important to go there and I've been studying this war for so long that it's going to be surreal (sorry I keep using that word) just to be there. Sunday morning, we head to Belgrade and from there I'm off to Rome! I'll try and write again from Belgrade or Rome! Please tell me what's going on with all of you! I have to confess, I haven't read any blogs since I've been here, but I'm sure you can all understand why! I hope you're all doing fabulous and I promise, when I'm back in the states, I'll catch up on everything! Until then, I'm living and loving Europe! (I had a Bosnian lasagna...nothing like American lasagna...for lunch today that could honestly make me never want to eat anything else ever again!)

Happy Friday to all of you!
Hope America is treating you well!


  1. EEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkk! I'm glad you're having such a good time, it looks as surreal as you say it is! I hope the rest of the trip is amazing! Thanks so much for checking in and giving us some pics! <3

  2. aah you're there! Loving all these pictures! so excited for you!!

  3. That is AWESOME, girl! You are going to come back to the USA with such a new perspective on everrrrrrything. Have fun, even when you're in the middle of genocide-related talks. (Yeesh.)

    PS- I adored Amsterdam and thought it was a beautiful city...and can't wait to hear about your thoughts on Rome, since I lived in Italy for 4 months!

  4. Ahhh I'm so excited for you, it's so incredible that you sat in on the announcement re: Gaddafi and the whole Libyan issue - we're getting a ton of press on the whole thing in SA now.

    And the former yugoslavia is an interesting and beautiful place, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Bosnia and Croatia a few years ago and I know exactly what you mean about all the reminders of the war that are left over.

    Safe travels! :)


  5. YAY! It's so great to hear that you are alive and well and having such an incredible time! Can't wait to read more about your travels, Christy!


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