My Instant Summer: Stories from my Bosnian Hometown Hill

16th August 2016

polaroids (4)Today I’m teaching you about life on my hometown hill in Bosnia, with some polaroids to accompany.

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Coffee is life. You’ll have it in the morning, with lunch or at night, and almost always while socialising – going through everything from soaps to the state of your crops and the daily gossip. The coffee is a whole different level over there, it’s cooked in a special pot and is strong, bitter and very thick, and usually served with a sugar cube, a glass of water and something sweet. And you seriously need a higher education barista certificate to make a džezva (a copper coffee can) of coffee. This stuff will blow your eye brows off and keep you awake for days.

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Three or four houses grouped together is something you will see a lot if you would go to a small village in Bosnia. Of course this makes it easy to socialise, but the real reason is that the land is being passed on to sons – (don’t worry daughters also get some land too) – this way you get families living really close – and by close I mean you can literally shout through to each other’s kitchen windows.

polaroids impossible project

These chicks are important residents on the hill as eggs are a big part of the cuisine and there’s always a neighbour who’ll have some if you run out. It’s a very self sufficient area, some people go to the supermarket to get milk while others will ask their neighbour who owns a cow for a fresh bottle of milk in the morning or evening. Almost everyone grows their vegetables and preserves anything that can be preserved and eats what can’t be stored/saved for winter during the summer months. Beans and potatoes are popular for winter – though the potatoes have been really small this year due to the cold spring (this was big news).

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They also grow a lot of corn and there are 3 things to do with it: 1) it’s a snack and everyone loves boiled or oven fried corn 2) to feed the cows and put it – together with hay – in the stables for the cows to lay on and 3) to grind it for corn flower to make pura (aka polenta) in winter. In my area it’s eaten with either yoghurt or cottage style cheese and onions. But wheat is the first thing everyone makes sure to have enough of, once it has been harvested you get it grinded into flour and used to make pita’s -link-

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You might think a dog is a must-have pet, but here it’s a must have to guard the house. The rule is that you have to call the dog either Lasi, Rex or Miki. During the day they usually chill around the house and wait for food, but during the night they get-together and run around – and occasionally bark so no-one notices they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to. There’s not too much snip snip here, so in heat they tend to mix around and you get very interesting mixes of puppies.

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People also head to the local Big Town for coffee meet ups at a cafe bar, of which there are a ridiculous amount. Other things you’ll find in the Big Town is a high school where pretty much everyone from the area goes to, a department store, a few banks, a market, restaurants, a sports centre and the city park. Which is as you can see just like any other park really – including two old guys chatting about how it was way better back in the days and two young friends promising each other they won’t become like those two.

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This is probably the number one (tourist) attraction in the Big Town and plays a big part in everyones lives, it start with teens on dates around the castle, if you graduate you’ll be likely to hold your graduation here and if you have the money you rent the castle for a huge a wedding reception – even if you don’t do the wedding you’ll probably end up there to shoot your wedding photos. Hell, you’ll go up there for any photo opp.

Have you been to Bosnia and/or the Balkan region?

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