It’s not every day you get lost driving through Bosnia and stumble upon a military installation complete with tanks and fighter jets and end up hanging out the window snapping pictures like mad with your heart beating like crazy because you think you’re going to be shot any second but you do it anyways because your brother is in the middle seat and can’t reach the window and thinks this is SO COOL and really needs to be captured. 🙂
He was right, of course. It was terribly cool and utterly terrifying. It was especially invigorating when, just as we got past the last of the tanks, a loud explosion occurred right in front of us. Our eyes bugged out and our hearts leaped into our throats until we realized that it was only a semi-truck blowing out one of his rear tires. 🙂 Needless to say it took a wee bit for our pulses to stop racing. 🙂
We didn’t intend to get lost, of course, but our well laid plans of “stick to the main highway through Bosnia” came to naught once we crossed the border and suddenly the highway was shut down and we were shunted off into the hills with the aid of orange signs that we can only assume spelled “detour.” Unfortunately for us the detour signs disappeared and we were left to wander through the back country of Bosnia trying to find out where in tarnation we were. 🙂
Wherever we were, it was absolutely gorgeous and, barring the whole military/explosion incident, wonderfully peaceful as we wended our way through pastoral farmland, thickly forested hills, watching shepherds in their fields, children playing by the water, women carrying groceries along the road.
This was not the Bosnia I anticipated. My pictures of Bosnia were formed by grainy WW2 photos and, even more recently, the terrible battles of the 90’s that left so many dead or shattered in body and spirit. I confess I was afraid of Bosnia before I went, but I also desperately wanted to see it, to drive over the land that has been torn by so many wars, to see the faces of the people who have survived, over and over again. In reading their history I can’t begin to fathom the horrors they have seen and experienced, yet they are still here. Still getting married, having babies, working the land. We would see evidence of massacres, battles, and death further down the road, but for now there was beauty, life, and peace.