Through the Window: Bosnia & Herzegovina


Monday, June 26, 2017

Bosnia & Herzegovina has a touch of wild to it, after crossing the border from Croatia. There is only about ten minutes of highway before it literally just ends and you have to get back onto the mountain roads that wind in and out along the Neretva River. These are not my best photos since I was taking them from our moving car along said roads, but I thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse of this part of the country! I took these from the outskirts of Sarajevo all the way back to the Croatian border not far from Dubrovnik. The infrastructure leaves something to be desired, but the land is spectacular!

After a couple hours of this, all three of our babies got car sick...  poor Gracie twice!

Honey, blueberry juice and apple vinegar for sale. We also passed at least ten different lambs roasting on spits outside of small restaurants.

This is sadly an all too familiar sight. Large parts of Bosnia & Herzegovina remain war-ravaged and bullet riddled structures dot the landscape, even in the heart of Sarajevo.

Cherry season just outside of Mostar!

We went through countless small villages and towns with large cemeteries, many headstones ending in years during the 1990's.  It's hard to take in, but important to.

The southwestern part of Herzegovina not far from the Croatian border has a distinctly mediterranean feel with many, many vineyards...

We had to make a short detour to one of our favorite ones before crossing back into Croatia - Nuić Vineyards.  Our friend Ivan introduced us to their wines and we've wanted to visit ever since. The entire area was once covered with natural karst limestone that the family cultivated and uses in the vineyard to absorb the (intense!!!) heat to reflect back to the vines.  It helps mature the grapes and create distinct flavors. If you can ever get your hands on a bottle of their wine, especially the Trnjak, try it! It's amazing!!

Our Amazing Dadda


Monday, June 19, 2017

One of the sweetest things in our marriage has been getting to watch my Husband become a Daddy. In our eyes he becomes more loving, selfless, dedicated and an even stronger leader for our family every day. When he saw my post, he said there needs to be a photo of him screaming at our two year old this morning to keep things honest! We are each completely fallen human beings, but I am so grateful for how this man joyfully loves and serves our family.

Some of our kids' current favorites about their Dadda....

He gets down on the floor and wrestles and plays and builds block towers

He's the first one up in the morning and makes our breakfast (and my coffee -- bless him!!) and never eats his until the kids have had theirs

He snuggles and rocks baby Georgia and makes time to give Mama breaks

He starts the day in God's Word, because he knows he can do nothing apart from Christ

He does bath time and bed time, reading and singing (and wrangling and chasing down the hall)

He leads, he guides, he teaches, he's a natural at disciplining (haha, thank you young Marines for paving the way)

He reads endless books, usually the same ones over and over ;)

He doesn't take himself too seriously and makes us all laugh!

We are so thankful he's ours!! Happy Father's Day, Daddys! Your role could not be more important!

A Simple Fresh Cherry Reduction Sauce (for Greek Yogurt, Ice Cream, Grilled Meat, Anything!)


Thursday, June 15, 2017

I lost a dear friend this past week. She was my age. When I think about her husband, her sweet Mom and family and best friends, my heart aches. But when I think of her, I smile. She went through so much suffering and spent her final months paralyzed after waking up from a coma, but she never lost her faith in Christ. I have confidence and peace that she's home in paradise, restored... I imagine she's making all the angels laugh and dance and smile the way she did to those of us around her here on earth.

We've been outside together all week, picking cherries from our tree, covered in red juice from taking out the pits and jumping in the pool afterwards. The babies have been running around, the weather has been gorgeous and in between the total bananas of raising three little munchkins, I've been making batches of jam and finding new ways to use fresh cherries in every one of our meals. My friend's passing has been the dearest reminder that all of these moments are amazingly good gifts. Life is so precious!! She lived out her faith in joy and trust even during the scary times. I rejoice that I got to be her friend and that I'll see her again.

Simple Fresh Cherry Reduction
(makes 3-4 small servings)

1/2lb (250g) fresh sweet cherries, pitted (plan for a little over 1/2lb with pits in)
1 lemon (about 3 TBS juice)
1/2 C fine sugar

In a wide bottom sauce pan, bring the cherries and their juices, the juice from one lemon and the sugar to a gentle boil, stirring continuously. Bring it down to a simmer and stir occasionally for about ten minutes to allow the liquid to reduce and slightly thicken. That's it :)

Pour over greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream or my favorite lately, on grilled meats. Dobar tek!

Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina


Friday, June 9, 2017

Walking along the Miljacka River that runs through Sarajevo. Not too much further from here, we casually walked across the Latin Bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, which started World War I.

Sacred Heart Cathedral and the lovely cafes that line the streets surrounding it. I love the photo of my boys above! Every city that we go to with a cathedral is the number one thing John gets excited about. He is precious; we always know exactly what he wants to do: sit in a pew in the back and quietly take it all in. We agree with him that cathedrals and churches throughout Europe are absolutely awe-inspiring and one of the things we will miss most about living in Croatia.

Baščaršija square, the famous meeting spot in the center of Sarajevo, also lined with cafes, restaurants, the old bazaar and many shops.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of us while traveling: Cam juggling both girls who want to be held and snuggled (or fed again- Georgia) (no matter how heavy they are- Gracie) while I take too many photos, John Shea our happy traveler who just wants to keep exploring, doesn't get why the girls are always crying, and wants to return to any and every construction site where he can watch excavators and dump trucks at work, or simply point out to us every bus, motorcycle, trolley, train or anything that moves:)  I love these four so much! I will forever be thankful for the Olmsted Scholarship and through it being given the incredible gift of time with Cam and travel these past two years as a family!!

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Last week we traveled to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and then on to Sarajevo. It was a seriously long trip for our kids, but very much worth it. We're thankful we finally got to see both and explore more of the country. The old town of Mostar was just as beautiful as I'd imagined it all these years-- actually more so! The old town is small and feels almost entirely catered to tourists, but because we stayed overnight, we got to enjoy walking the stone pedestrian streets and bazaars along the Neretva River in the evening and first thing in the morning before the tour buses arrived. You can immediately feel the heavy influence of the Ottoman Empire-- from the architecture to the strong Turkish coffee to the bazaars.

Our little man taking in the views from Stari Most... The most recognized part of Mostar is its old bridge, which was built in the 16th century to join the Herzegovinian (Catholic) side to the Bošniak (Muslim) side, but the original was destroyed in 1993 by Croat forces while the two sides were at war. It was rebuilt in 2004. And yes, we watched one of the famous bridge jumpers leap off!

You'll see this (or "Srebrenica 8372" for the number of lives killed in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide...) throughout the country, but this was the first we'd seen it in English. 

We bought a beautiful copper tea kettle from this sweet man. He was showing us a photo of himself in the same spot when he was 20 years old!

The best Daddy! This photo and the one above of him make us laugh... my big, strong bearded man in Oakleys... wearing baby Georgia and continually having to discipline Gracie that day who was out of control.

Mom, I found you a pretty blue and white bowl here:)

I find myself yet again having a hard time summing up our time in Bosnia or even writing about it in a blog post. Luckily I still have a few more posts coming;)

Some Recommendations:
We ate dinner on the Neretva River at Hindin Han (above). The food wasn't earth shattering but still good, very fresh and plentiful! We stayed in the old town at Pansion City Star and would recommend it for the included breakfast, parking, price and the spotless, newly renovated rooms.

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