Balkan Buses Love to Die

Balkan Buses Love to Die

Damn you Balkan buses. You are all out to get me and I know it. Maybe it’s not a conspiracy, but it sure seems like it. First, in 2004, you explode on me. Fine, okay, I can accept this. It was in Croatia and just bad luck. I’m able to walk away from a bad situation with a good story and my life. That’s okay. But then, you stupid bastard bus from Belgrade to Sarajevo, you go and screw me as well.

It all started with accepting the fact that there is no train from Belgrade to Sarajevo. Well, there is one. Somewhat. Technically. You just have to get off in Croatia, in Slavonia and then transfer with a wait of countless hours. Not easy. So, we decided to take the bus, which is something like a seven hour long ride in theory. This is not fun because for a good few hours of that, you’re in the very flat lands of Serbia, going through small towns and picking up guys who like to listen to MP3’s on their cellphone MP3 players on the bus, just to have some noise. Once again, I don’t do this all the time, so I could live with it.

Then there’s the stop just before the border so that the drivers can have lunch. Great, nearly killing us with passing other cars and tractors for the last three hours so that we can sit at some craptastic roadside cafe and watch the same cars and tractors pass us up again. I don’t get this, but these musings are for another article.

So, we move on and then it’s the border crossing. This is rather funny in a sad way as you see that you’re entering the ‘Republika Srpska’ which is one of the halves of Bosnia Herzegovina and is crap because you’re really entering Bosnia Herzegovina. They act like they’re some other country with this sign, which they really aren’t. Okay, fine, that’s their problem. Let’s move on because we sat at the border for almost an hour. There were about 15 people on the bus and ultimately none of us was a problem. Sure, they might have to search the bus for the possibility that Serbian kajmak is being smuggled in, but come on…

Okay, so we got pass the border and head on in to Bosnia Herzegovina “proper”, but the bus drivers seem alarmed. “Oh crap”, I start thinking, “I’ve seen that look before and the bus exploded in a ball of flame shortly after the drivers looked like that in Croatia in 2004.” Sure enough, we pull in to the next station and the drivers run out to put more water in the radiator to find that one of the radiator hoses is shot on this ancient bus.

So, not understanding what was said, we sit on the bus and head in to a small service garage and wait. Thankfully the mechanic was able to prav some random hose in to place, otherwise, we would have been really screwed. After an hour, we head out, pick up the people who were smart enough to wait at the station and head on.

Thankfully, nothing else really went wrong from here. It just took a long time because the roads in this part of Bosnia Herzegovina are in pretty bad shape. After some time, we pulled in to Sarajevo, but not the center where most buses would go. Oh no, we pull in to Istočno Sarajevo or Eastern Sarajevo (formerly known as Srpsko Sarajevo) which is the Serbian chunk of Sarajevo that’s more than a half hour taxi ride from the real Sarajevo.

We shrugged this off because after what ended up being a ten and a half hour ride, we just paid the 5 Euros to the first taxi that was there to get on to where we were staying for a shower and a sleep.