#1 Sarajevo

This week concludes the list of my favorite former / hopefully future travel destination.  It was great taking a walk down memory lane, I hope you all enjoyed the stroll with me.  So without further ado:

#1:  Sarajevo
Reason: captivating

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There is an indescribable quality to the air in the city holding the #1 spot for the “Top Places I Would Go Back to in a Heartbeat.” The mix of communist / Soviet-style architecture, huge Turkish quarter and reminders  everywhere of the war in the mid-1990s combine to create the most mesmerizing atmosphere I have ever seen. Being American and all, it’s sometimes hard to wrap my mind around the amount of history that exists in other countries. One afternoon I walked by a Mosque that’s 500-600 years old on the way to the street where World War I was started.  Another day I went on a tour and saw “the Tunnel” where Bosnians would smuggle goods underneath the watch Serbian army and end up in this family’s basement.

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There are a million stories and sites like the aforementioned, but what stays with me most is just the overall feel of the whole place. Even though I stayed in the worst hostel I’ve ever been in, got bedbug bites all over my torso, and had no way to do my laundry, I spent over a week there just walking the same two or three routes but seeing something new and/or interesting every day.  Walking by the old bombed out Olympic Arena (Winter 1984) and seeing groups of old men playing on giant chess boards painted on the sidewalk could never get old. Being repeatedly amazed at the brightness of the yellow and brown Holiday Inn where all the foreign journalists stayed during the Bosnian/ Serbian War could never get old. Seeing cutting edge architecture right next to burned out to government offices never gets old.
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Knowing your in a place that has seen unspeakable shit, but still thrives with friendliness, art, and diversity gives Sarajevo a place in my heart that just can’t be touched. It is really hard to describe exactly what spoke to me when I was there, but all of the extreme joys and pains that have occurred throughout its long history are all very present the moment you begin your visit. I was lucky enough to feel it once, and would do just about anything to experience it again.

Honorable mention / places I LOVE but will definitely make it back to

5) Amherst / Northampton area – Fond memories, natural beauty, and great food collide in Western Mass!!
4) Kingston Ontario – This hip, cobble-stoned Canadian College town on the shores Lake Ontario provide a peak into the history of the Loyalist side of things back when
3) Barton, VT – I have in-law family roots in this close-to-the-border town. I strangely feel a connection to it even though my family blood does not run through there.                                                                                                                                                                                            2) San Diego, CA – I heard the Sea World there is to die for, oh yeah and I would like to see my bro, too.
1) Galilee, RI – It’s just a part of the family.

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