I recalled that there was an evening bus on to Montenegro from the wall of our hostel in Sarajevo. Off we went on towards the bus station on the other side of town hoping to go on towards our destination. For the uninitiated, Bosnia is broken up into two areas, the Bosnia and Herzegovina which everyone is familiar with from the countries name, and the Republika Srpska which is the mainly Serbian area of the country. There is also a third area which is a nearly even mix of the two named Brčko District. Understanding these two areas of the city goes a long way to understanding the conflict that erupted here in the 90s.
Given that Montenegro once was part of Serbia after the breakup of Yugoslavia, buses to Montenegro run from the Republika Srpska part of the city and soon we started to notice more Cyrillic signs cropping up among the area.
The surest way to know that summer has finished is when your onward bus stops running. We learned that summer ended a few days prior and given how difficult it was to convince a driver to take us here, we quickly learned a return journey was going to be even less easy. -L-‘s soda bottle exploded all over the ticket window when he dropped a vitamin tablet inside; so likely camping out in the bus station is off the table.
We looked out at the barren streets surrounding the bus terminal and we both realized it would not be easy to try to find a place in this area to spend the night. Especially since it was already late and we were far from the tourist areas.
We paced back and forth, –L- mostly trying to drink his vitamin C flavored soda and myself trying to think something more appropriate then just pacing the quiet bus terminal. As luck would have it, someone else ended up showing up outside and I spotted his taxi there at the end of the parking lot. I called over to –L- and we bounded off as fast as our backpacked laden selves could manage.
Not knowing the downtown structure of the city very well, we gave him several locations, but the only one he seemed to know was Hotel Evropa which we ended up checking into for the night as well.
The city at this time of the evening felt deserted. The downtown area, usually bustling during the day had only a few passersby venturing out into the crisp autumn night. Starving we looked to see what was open and came upon the oddly named “Club Bill Gates” as the only restaurant we could locate this time of day.
It was a strange little café, nothing special really. It was an odd concept to choose Bill Gates as the patron name of their establishment. I always find that interesting, when people decide to name their places after something so culturally odd and wonder why they settled on naming it this way. Was it possibly to attract tourists with the instantly recognizable name, or was it something that resonated with the owners? They seemed to be shutting down as we were entering but they still ended up serving us from among their fast food menu. I grabbed a pizza and –L– followed in kind, it was palatable but certainly nothing to write home about.
Off to Montenegro in the morning and whatever other stories await.