Bosnia Week 1

So it has been almost a week since I left Edinburgh.

For info on the events leading up to this trip / more info about the organisation I am volunteering with, read this post.

Day 1

(Tuesday 16th June 2015)

Plane from Edinburgh -> London Heathrow -> Belgrade, Serbia

This was my plane from Edinburgh.
It was a Virgin Atlantic / Aer Lingus one to Heathrow, and then Air Serbia to Belgrade.

I was pleasantly surprised to get free food on both planes!

The night in the hostel in Belgrade was perhaps the most scary night of the trip so far, because I felt very vulnerable in this strange hostel in a strange city with a strange language.
It was comfortable enough, but something about the hostel made me feel a bit weird, or maybe it was because I was on my own.
Anyway, I got some sleep and there was a TV, where I had my first encounter with 'Turbo Folk' - although I didn't know it was called that at the time.
It was on a channel called ' Grand Narodna Televizija' and I noted down some of the songs played /artists:


Ilda Saulic

Milica Pavolovic - 'Selfi'

Sanja Dordevic

Tina Ivanovic

Peda Obucina (I put a star next to this one)

Suzanna Jovanovic

Ljubomir Perucica


Selena & Evrokrem


Dejan Matic

Marina Tadic

Katarina Zivokovic

I will try and find if these are actually the names, or if I wrote them wrong, and get some music examples off YouTube.

One of the things that struck me straight away (while I was on the bus from the airport to the centre of Belgrade) was that there was very little cyrillic. I was under the impression beforehand that Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian were more or less the same language, but that the Serbs wrote it in the cyrillic alphabet, but I only noticed a few official things like police stations and banks that actually used it. Everything else, most notably all the adverts / posters were written in the roman alphabet.

Day 2

(Wednesday 17th June 2015)

I didn't sleep fantastically, but the morning was much better.
The city didn't seem so intimidating in the daylight.

At around 8am I had a look around to find the bus station, and got some food and water at a shop for breakfast, took some photos, found where the money exchange and bus ticket offices were and had a coffee in a cafe.

I got my money exchanged and experienced the rather odd toilets in Belgrade bus station, and checked out of the hostel.

Bus from Belgrade, Serbia -> Brcko, Bosnia

I could think much more clearly on the bus, watching the scenery unfold outside the window.

However, perhaps the strangest thing was that the bus itself was Dutch. Was a little creepy for me since I lived in The Netherlands for 3 years, and now, here I was in Serbia, heading to Croatia and Bosnia, in a Dutch bus.
(I know because the word for emergency exit written on the window was Dutch).

I saw many old cars, and noted the 'brand' - one of them had 'LADA 2107   1300' written on the back of the car - I will look up images.

A woman called Dina met me off the bus. She is my mentor here, and was extremely welcoming and kind and made me feel really comfortable.

I spent the afternoon settling into Brcko, relaxing and unpacking.

There are lots of skinny small stray cats here

At around 7pm I went with Dina to the youth centre and we popped into thee 'I Love English' class - where we were having a discussion about films.

Afterwards: coffee, and getting to know some of the other volunteers.

By this point I had already learned that 'Turbo Folk' (that sort-of eurovision esque music) was sort-of looked down on by alot of the 'cool' people who like rock. Except here, it's like, rock from quite a few years ago, and they are sort-of into that 'emo' thing from around 5-7 years ago in the UK.

They are really into their converse here too.

I have a big room, (slightly dusty) and learned 'Hvala' which means 'Thank-you'.

The local money is cute (I will take some pictures soon), and my flat is just next to the local shop and around 5 mins walk to the youth centre where I am working.

Day 3

(Thursday 18th June 2015)

Bureaucracy day:  copying my passport, registering at the town hall / municipality and getting a working visa at the police station.

We then had lunch in the centre, and I tried a sort-of salty pastry thing (I forgot what it was called).

The rest of the afternoon was spent sorting the art cupboard, and chatting to people about projects.

Then we had coffee (and played Cards Against Humanity)

4pm local language lesson

Pasta (it took ages to boil), and Kate came over to do her laundry at our place

Then card games, tea and chat at Kate & Sarah's (two of the other short-term volunteers from the UK).

Day 4

(Friday 19th June 2015)

I had a meeting with Gordana - the woman who is in charge of the project - and had some coffee and chatted about the project / how it works etc. She was extremely kind and supportive and caring.

For the EVS training next week, I will have to give a presentation, so one of the local volunteers called Milos showed me a presentation that he did, and talked to me about the project and the local area. He also brought me juice and chocolate!

Then coffee again

Choir led by Sam (a long-term UK volunteer who started in March)

Music camp meeting


Pasta at a restaurant with John and Sarah

Coffee - discussed films and photos with Sarah. And got reminded that I wanted to check out a site called 'Mubi' - basically arty netflix.

It rained alot that night.

Day 5

(Saturday 20th June 2015)

Sleep in

Chat with John (one of my housemates, from Bradford in the UK)



Partied in the house and listened to 'turbo folk' (I love it, it's like Eurovision but better), anfI tried 'rakija' the local drink and then we went to a bar called 'Dubliner' ?

Afterwards we had this local meat pastry thing called burek.

Day 6

(Sunday 21st June 2015)

Hangover day

And pasta / getting to know my housemate and his girlfriend.

Day 7

(Monday 22nd June 2015)

First properly sunny day and first day of working in the craft sessions / really working.

(Photos by Sarah, from the Svitac Facebook page)

Helped with the 'I Love English' class, and then went out for coffee and had 'chivapi' which is like a local sausage.

I had around 3 hours sleep before I had to get up at 4am to go to Croatia for my training week.


week 2 - Croatia training
week 3 - prep my workshops
week 4 - music camp, Sarajevo (poss. Croatia festival if I am allowed a day or two off. Unlikely)
week 5 - workshops (poss. Montenegro)
week 6 - workshops
week 7 - birthday week!
week 8 - workshops..

Heart It


Post a Comment


Follow by Email: