After the disappointment of not meeting them in Zagreb, Alessio and I went to Trieste to met Alex and Klaudia, our friends from Osijek, who were spending a few days in Italy at Alex’s home. As a local Alex was able to give us a tour, which included some interesting, and new, places, such as her former school, although we were not taking enough photos. After another lunch in Copacabana we looked around a few flea markets at the bottom of San Giusto Castle, and then met with some of Alex’s friends in a café, followed by a trip to another crafts market, where one of them had a stall. The café we visited had an “Official BookCrossing Zone”, which is a place where people can release books they have read, or catch a new one, which is part of a wonderful social experiment called BookCrossing. When we left, I knew I would be seeing them again soon because we had plans to travel to Sarajevo the next weekend.
In the intervening days we were interviewed on local radio. Initially it was just going to be Monika and Irena (as Croatian speakers), but then Alessio and I got involved. The purpose of the interview was to promote the LDA, it’s work, and EVS. We spoke about human rights and minorities, and the LDA’s work related to these; bullying, in general and because we had been working on a proposal for funding for an anti-bullying project; the EVS programme and the role of the LDA as a hosting and sending organisation.
It was fun being interviewed, although a little cramped with 6 of us squeezed into the small studio (Elena was there to provide more information about the LDA, and correct our mistakes). And from their roof terrace we got great views of Umag and the surrounding area.
I didn’t have time to revel in this excitement and new found fame (even though it hadn’t been broadcast yet) because after work on Wednesday I headed to Pula. After having a nightmare finding the bus station (it was not where Google thinks it is – quite an impressive feat) I boarded a bus for Sarajevo. In a little over 12 (timetabled) hours on a slightly-bigger-than-mini bus I would be in Lonely Planet’s “43rd best city in the world”, and the heart of the Balkans.
After a successful border crossing (although without a stamp to say I had entered Bosnia, which I had been warned could lead to a fine upon leaving) we arrived in Sarajevo on time, around 3am. I stumbled up the hostel’s office, and had to phone for someone to let me in and show me to my room. I was glad when this was just at the back of the office as I had read about some people having to walk for 15+ minutes up the surrounding hills to their apartment. I wouldn’t have complained about that normally, but by this time I just wanted to sleep.