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pjc

Best and worst - Sarajevo

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As tradition has it, here is my starting offer:

Best

1. A new city and country that I can tick off my list

2. Promising contribution up front for Boyce. It's been a while since he's had a chance to show what he can do and I think he acquitted himself well. I'd still love to see what he and Grigg could do as a front two.

3. Gavin Whyte, George Saville having good performances. Yes, no goals and "sitters" missed, but more on show than in Vienna

4. Almost completely positive interaction with the Bosnians I encountered. Friendly, hospitable, welcoming

5. The humour and spirit of the GAWA. Two notable examples being the remixed Josh Magennis song and the Sarajevo special edition that got such a positive reaction from the Bosnian fans and the dwellers of the blocks on the way to and from the ground.

Worst

1. Zero points from 6. Yes, it was a competitive friendly, we were unlucky, Kyle let us down etc, but no-one would have been happy with 0/6 a week ago. I don't see why we should be now.

2. Cevapi. Pedigree Chum in a pitta.

3. Reports of GAWA getting beaten up, robbed etc. Takes the gloss of a positive experience.

4. Harrowing and recent history, evident all around. Sarajevo and Srebrenica exhibitions well worth seeing but powerful and emotional.

5. The mother of all horrible journeys home. Four flights booked, one lost due to Eurowings changing flight times, one lost due to German rail problems. I don't want to know or think about the cost.

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1 hour ago, pjc said:

5. The mother of all horrible journeys home. Four flights booked, one lost due to Eurowings changing flight times, one lost due to German rail problems. I don't want to know or think about the cost.

That the Cologne to Dublin flight? Most GAWA still made the flight charging through the airport. A bus journey, 2 passport checks, a terminal change and security for a flight landing at 1550 and next taking off at 1630. Some crack.

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36 minutes ago, sinti said:

That the Cologne to Dublin flight? Most GAWA still made the flight charging through the airport. A bus journey, 2 passport checks, a terminal change and security for a flight landing at 1550 and next taking off at 1630. Some crack.

Yep, that's the one. A long story and expensive with it.

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7 minutes ago, pjc said:

Yep, that's the one. A long story and expensive with it.

Should have run faster 

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26 minutes ago, sinti said:

Should have run faster 

Not even as simple as that - I'm right up there with Mo Farah! :music:

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Best

- thought Sarajevo was a very nice place. Big sprawl but didn't feel like a big city, not hemmed in by high rise buildings, traffic wasn't crazy, city centre was small but very pleasant.

- Bosnian people were very helpful and welcoming.

- Woman on the tram who said "Thank you so much for travelling so far to visit our country. My favourite actor is James Nesbitt"

- did a Funky Tours tour. War Tunnel, Sniper Alley, Jewish Cemetery, White Fort, Yellow Bastion, Goat's Bridge, etc all very interesting and the guide was brilliant.

- City Pub on the Sunday night, as EG says on another thread, Sarajevo Brewery

- the cable car, looked like most of the support made that trip. Abandoned bobsleigh track was a bit surreal.

- much improved positive performance on the pitch.

- the atmosphere in the ground

- going to a bar by the ground after the game thinking we'll just have a couple of quiet ones. Didn't turn out so quiet and the bar was shut down by the police a couple of hours later...

- security taking the piss at the airport. "Were you here for the match?". "Yes". "Who won?"

Worst

- that stadium was a bit of a kip.

- Bosnia's recent history. Yes it's interesting and you have to do a bit of it but it's grim. Doing the Srebrenica Gallery followed by the Museum of Atrocities and Genocide was just too much.

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BEST

100% the best away end atmosphere I've been part of, club or country. The only issue was that because we were in the ground so early (easily an hour before KO), I was punctured/thirsty/starving (see below) by the second-half.

Convincing three female travel agents from New York who we met in Cheers bar that going to the game would definitely be a good idea and unique life experience. Needless to say they absolutely loved it.

Going to a pretty obscure Bosnian third division game about 45 minutes outside Sarajevo in Hadžići. Giving the solitary policeman the slip by passing 24 beers over the wall of the 'stand' and serenading the home team's subs/coach. Don't think they usually have a crowd like ours. Beautiful setting for a game too.

Klopa restaurant on Sunday night. Honestly couldn't have looked after us better, wine flowing, great steaks and very much a bargain. Number 2 restaurant in all of Sarajevo on TripAdvisor apparently!

There were some sights in the City Pub on all three nights. Although having another bar two doors down called City Lounge was very confusing for anyone drunk and or/lost.

The riot police were great, although I'm not sure we needed to be in the ground quite so early. I was chatting to one on the way back to the tram post-match and he said they were all amazed at the absence of trouble and that everyone working was really enjoying it.

The cable car up to the bobsleigh track was well worth a tenner and a walking tour showed you most of the major historical sites. It's a place that's been through a hell of a lot. Yes it's not the most modern, and yes there are bullet holes in a lot of buildings, but I found Sarajevo to be a very welcoming and interesting city.

WORST

No food or drink for sale in our section of the stadium. Not even water (to my knowledge). As per the Austrian queuing fiasco, it makes you wonder how these stadiums meet UEFA standards.

Heard a couple of people got mugged. Not good, although I try not to judge places too much on a bit of minor crime as the only place I've ever been pick-pocketed or had my card details stolen is in bloody Manchester, and I choose to live there!

Result, obviously, but I'm confident we'll be better in the qualifiers.

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On 10/22/2018 at 10:33 AM, hughes18 said:


No food or drink for sale in our section of the stadium. Not even water (to my knowledge).

 

There was the guy who setup the coke stall at the bottom of the stairs beside the toilets! That was it. I thought that was the only stairs though until I saw fans leaving at end of the game on the left, so you may have missed it.

 

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Might this have part-contributed to the great atmosphere in the stadium?

That is, the GAWA got well tanked up during the day, but having to march to the ground early, then go 3 hours off the sauce meant we all reached the optimal singing setting on the  Drunkometer during the game?

That could, of course, be complete balls, but the atmosphere was, as Hughes18 noted, one of the best ever.

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Best

Memorable walk to the ground with the Robocops, locals were just so appreciative, I felt humbled I'd love to have spoken to more locals about their thoughts

Really fascinating city, would recommend for anyone to visit

Those Kebaab things with the mini sausages

On way back through Stuttgart for a day/the night enjoyed a visit to the Porsche museum

All flights etc going on time, all spot on ( including the Ryanair flight that 'boarded us', well as far as the outside steps before the incoming plane had even landed!

Weather still great / bit cooler at night than Vienna

 

Worst

Wizzair transfer bus leaving us next to the migrant camp at the train station with no idea where we where

With flying in on the Sunday we just had too short time in Sarajevo

Getting down to Tito's very late match day

The guy who started puking up beside me in the ground walk, cheers mate

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Best

Sarajevo as a destination - fantastic city and I will be back

The locals being so friendly, welcoming, and genuinely appreciative that we were there

Flights from Vienna via Belgrade going without a hitch

The march to the stadium with the Robocops who (eventually) relaxed

The atmosphere before, during and after the match

Removing (some) of my ignorance around the region's troubled history

Our hotel being a bit of a hidden gem, despite being at the top of a big arse hill

The positives from the performance, despite the result - thought Boycey put in a huge shift for us and showed his value

The weather adding to a great experience of Sarajevo

Views from the cable car

Walking tour of the city which hit a lot of key sites - very fascinating

Some really good food, and some really quirky bars

Train from Sarajevo to Mostar - very scenic

Mostar being a stunner of a place, albeit we didn't have too much time to explore

 

Worst

Struggling to find anything -  minor hiccup with the four pickpockets who mingled with the GAWA on the march back from the ground. Thankfully I think they were rumbled before they could do anything more. Our group saw the same group of four guys making moves on tourists the next day at the train station too.

Access to the stadium - bit of a nightmare, as in Vienna

Srebrenica Memorial Gallery with a hangover - being a 90s kid I was largely ignorant to the scale and brutality of what occurred in this region when I was a kid. It was a stunning collection of photographs and a fitting memorial in many ways, but some of it was really hard to digest. 

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Best

Sarajevo, Loved the contrast walking from old Ottoman era town up through Austro Hungarian era and into the more modern area

Chilling in the Old Town every morning with a pot of Bosnian coffee watching the world go by

Beautiful Sarajevo women

Locals so welcoming

The atmosphere in the ground from the travelling GAWA. For me part of it was payback for the Bosnians being so friendly and a bit of affinity for how they had suffered.

March to the ground a bit surreal. Ended up pretty much last man at the back. Got to the ground and the Bosnian fans behind the robocops were cheering and beckoning us over. Set off on a dander towards them....robocops made a beeline and stopped me. Cue uproar from the fans to the cops and I was allowed over to give a lad my scarf.

Worst

Result disappointing after hitting the woodwork 3 times

Wish I’d done a wee bit more sightseeing 

 

 

 

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Best:

Great to explore a new city and tick off another place I have been to.

Enjoyed walking through all the small alleyways and finding new place/bars to sit and watch the world go by.

Going to Hadzici  to watch FC Radnik Hadzici stroll to a comfortable 5-0 win in the Bosnbian 3rd Division. Standard might not have been great but the company was along with the setting.

Klopa restaurant. Great food and great service.

Getting the Tram to the ground and going in for pre-match drinks at a small bar right beside the stadium with the friendly locals.

Atmosphere was definitely one of the best it's been in a long time, full credit to all the traveling GAWA

Local police chief letting myself and 2 others go out at halt-time to go to the bar again and get a few drinks in before returning for the 2nd half, no issues whatsoever.

After the match going back to the same bar and as Richard mentioned not leaving until eventually getting kicked out hours later by the local police.

Worst:

Result

Not going on any of the tours or going up the cable car.

Smoking in bars, forgot how great it is that this is banned back home.

The trip home, after days spent in Bratislava, Vienna and Sarajevo it was certainly a challenge.

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2 hours ago, D Coop Ulster said:

After the match going back to the same bar and as Richard mentioned not leaving until eventually getting kicked out hours later by the local police.

We left some amount of drink behind in that place, the locals kept buying us beers even though we hadn't finished the last round they bought us.

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f**k I forgot about the smoking. As an asthmatic, undoubtedly the worst thing about the trip. Felt like death every morning and the inhaler took a battering.

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