We knew our trip from Sarajevo to Zagreb would be more than soaring ridges and unfurling bucolic valleys. It was those things, too, but Bosnia had been in our imaginations for so much and in nine meandering bikepacking days we tried to listen and feel.
I discard the cardboard box and build up the bike at the airport for the ride through town on pleasant commuter paths. The mix of 1960s architecture and spired mosques and early 20th century buildings achieves a strange harmony in its jumble. In the Sarajevo of history books ,Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand just over a century ago, creating a pretense for the hostilities that initiated World War I. In 1984, it was the site of the Winter Olympics. In the 90s, the almost four year siege of the city during the civil war led to thousands of civilian casualties. In the background of all of these flashbulb-lit episodes, the Balkans have been between Western Europe and the East in uncountable and wondrous ways.