Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Apartment in Sarajevo

We were very lucky to have found this apartment. The owner turns out to be the Dean of the Dept of Sports and Physical Culture - and President of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Olympic Committee. And a really great guy. We've met with him twice. He's very proud of this apartment and seemed glad to rent to us. He gave us a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine when we signed the lease!

Today we attended a security briefing at the US embassy. It was designed for embassy personnel, but it was quite interesting. Sarajevo is considered safe, but he did give warnings about pickpockets on public transit and in the old town area. There is also a somewhat high incident of home break-ins, but we have very good security in our apartment. There are four deadbolts on the door, metal shutters on some of the windows, and a security system. I feel safer than in Portland. The other warning considered land mines. Apparently, BiH is third behind Iraq and Afghanistan in presence of land mines. We were advised to stay on marked paths in the countryside, mountains, etc. The security director didn’t mention the raid conducted by Bosnian authorities on a village in northeastern Bosnia that they say posed a threat to the nation’s security. He did suggest, however, that the central government is not strong and made sure we all had the emergency number for contacting the embassy.

Tomorrow we are invited to a reception at the home of the Director for Cultural Affairs at the US embassy, Janet Miller. We met with her last Friday, but it will be interesting to meet other staff members from the Cultural Affairs office.

Our apartment is very comfortable. It really is fully furnished - including bedding and towels. We bought a colander today so we could drain pasta, but we seem to have most of what we need in the kitchen. There are a few "leftovers" from previous tenants: a kilo of sugar, some flour, salt and pepper, instant coffee. The only seasonings at the small market near our apartment were dried parsley, dried celery flakes (maybe) and oregano. There looked like there were other seasoning mixes, but I couldn't even guess at what they might have been. More on food later.

The first picture is the view from our bedroom window. I think the structure on the hilltop might have been a communications tower built for the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. Just behind the tree on the right side of the photo is the Olympic Stadium - I think the opening and closing ceremonies were held there. The ice skating venue is just to the left of the stadium.
Other photos show our foyer, living room and kitchin, bathroom (with shower, sink and washing machine!), master bedroom and second bedroom/office. The first view from our window was taken on 1/30; the second view from the office window was taken today – about 6 inches of snow later.