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Archive for the ‘Sarajevo’ Category

Plava Prizma

Yesterday my friend got married and set off to the sunset with her new husband. My other friend caught two wedding bouquets at two weddings at the same day. I managed to be all dressed up and really happy in spite of the low temperature and dark clouds that covered the city. So, when she proposed a cappuccino at one of the restaurants I’ve been longing to visit since the day it opened, I was sure that a great Saturday afternoon is coming my way.

My friend has organized and prepared a weekend seminar for some foreign colleagues of hers and apparently learned some interesting facts about Radon Plaza Hotel. There’s another restaurant, although not as good as the one we were heading to, in her opinion. The massages in wellness are worth the price, as one of her colleagues who tried them has said, and the two of us definitely have to try them once. She has seen the pool only on photos, like me, but she agreed it looks fantastic.   

Since the first step, I discovered that Radon Plaza is so much more than a regular everyday place for a simple person like me. I was overwhelmed with luxury every step of the way. And boy, I was glad to have with me a friend who has been here before, because otherwise it would be pretty complicated to figure out how to use the elevator and on which floor the restaurant itself was (even if I am a person who usually figures things out very quickly). Since it’s on top of the building, I presumed I’d just push the button with the highest number once I get to the elevator, the way it’s done in normal buildings. So, in case you end up in the kind of trouble I was lucky to avoid, you should enter the floor’s number before you actually get into the elevator and the letter you will then see on the screen is the letter of the elevator you’re supposed to get into to get where you’re heading. Oh, and the restaurant is on the 15th floor.

Before the elevator stopped, I had just enough time for a glimpse of how good my friend and I looked in a mirror. Then the door opened and we were greeted by a slow music, loud just enough to hear the words of the song and a smiling waiter who took us to one of the tables for drink (which don’t have any prepared plates like the eating tables as I learned later). As soon as I sat down on my chair, I was amazed with the spectacular, 70 meters high, view of my own city. I never saw it from that perspective. And I must admit it really looks magnificent.

So, it took only a few seconds before Plava prizma (The Blue Prism) became one of my favorite places in Sarajevo. A bunch of ideas about wonderful lunch that I’ll surprise my parents with, a romantic dinner that I’ll take my boyfriend to, and cake-breaks I’ll try to include to my out-of-town guest’s city tours rushed into my head even before I opened the menu.

And after I did, I wasn’t disappointed either. The prices are a bit higher that at the average restaurants I usually go to, but that was expected. Since I wasn’t hungry, I just scanned through the appetizers, meat dishes and Italian food (and some other things I don’t remember), where the average price of the portion was 20-30KM (10-15€), until I got to desserts. Blue Prism pancakes sounded like a sweet calorie-bomb I craved for, and combined with Nescafe chocolate cappuccino they were an inspiration for a good few hour’s conversation with my best friend.

But the experience didn’t end there. The most interesting thing about Plava prizma is the fact that it’s the first rotating restaurant in this part of the south-eastern Europe, as the Radon Plaza’s website says. I believe it took us an hour and a half to rotate a whole circle. We admired the long main road that goes to the city center, laughed at the typical Bosnian houses in the hills that look as if someone has spilled them from the sky without any order and I tried to see my building which was impossible because one of the hills blocked my view for a few millimeters. I remembered how much I love Sarajevo, in spite of the fact that it goes on my nerves sometimes.

Before I knew it, hours have passed and it was time to go. My friend and I decided to come back to Radon Plaza more often, because we enjoy it and deserve it. And that is how the few hours of conversation with a friend in a rotating restaurant overlooking Sarajevo made me realize that things I often take for granted are extraordinary when seen from another point of view and what I sometimes consider luxury is in fact something I should afford to myself more often.

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An acquaintance of mine, from TravellersPoint, was in Sarajevo around New Year. I gave him a few advices about accomodation and places to see. Here’s what he wrote when he came back from the trip:

Sarajevo was wonderful! Except the WC on the bus station, I can’t think of anything wrong with your city.

Let’s start from the accomodation – hostel Marko Polo is in fact an appartment modified to serve for renting (one double room, two rooms with more beds, shared kitchen and bathroom). Location is great, it’s practically on Baščaršija (which doesn’t include the noise, on the contrary, Logavina is a quiet street – the fact that the Police is few meters away probably has something to do with it :-)). Double room (french bed) is decent, with a few silly things like porcelain giraffe and elephant, which adds to its charm. The owner (Emina, very dear and kind person) is especially proud of big TV with DVD player and Stereo system. The bathroom is ok, and there’s even a washing machine for those who are staying longer. The only little minus is that Emina (or her son) sleeps in the kitchen, so the kitchen is mostly unavailable in the early morning hours. All in all, considering the location, cleaniness and comfortable room, huge range of TV programs and DVD’s to chose from, I think 15 € per person was a good price. An advice: we heard many horror stories about Ljubičica agency, so try to warn any future travellers!

Red, Yellow and Paja taxis are all very cheap as you said.

The most wonderful thing about Sarajevo, except Baščaršija and view from Vratnik, were the people – they’re so kind, good hosts and open for conversations!

I was especially impressed by the lady working in Bosnian cafe Behar. She cooks a great coffee and pours the stories from her sleeves along with it. The ladies at antique bookstore Tarih were also kind and warm, as well as old gentleman in Preporod bookstore. There were many more such people.

I hope I gave you some information you can use to help future travellers.

So, in the spirit of helping fellow travellers and forwarding information from insiders, I would appreciate any comments or reviews like this one.

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Having my own car, I don’t find myself in a situation to need a cab quite often. But I know many people who do. I’m amazed with some horror stories about Sarajevo taxi drivers I’ve heard.

Sarajevo Taxi was the first and, for the long time, the only taxi company in the city. Considering the monopoly it had and a limited number of licences for taxi drivers, lots of them became quite unpleasant to drive with. And to my knowledge, this behaviour has changed only to worse since other companies gained taxi licenses.

It’s not unusual for drivers of Sarajevo Taxi to refuse to take you in just because you won’t drive far enough (which is half way across the city for them). They often charge extra 2-4KM per bag (!?) which they won’t even bother to put in the car or take it out. And you constantly have to stare at the taximeter, or it magically skips a few digits as soon as you turn away from it. Some of these drivers are also rude, bad smelling and smoke a lot, in addition to listening to bad (and loud) music. If these are the stories I hear from locals, I can only imagine the things they’re capable of doing to tourists!

On the other hand, I’ve heard mostly positive things about drivers of other taxis, such as Crveni (Red) Taxi, Žuti (Yellow) Taxi or Paja Taxi. If I remember well, one of the Crveni Taxi‘s drivers returned a significant amount of money to a popular Croatian singer Gibonni who left it behind while driving to the airport.

None of this has to be completely black and white. I’m sure there are some good and some bad taxi drivers working for every company. I just hate it when any group of people starts doing whatever they like just because they can. So, be aware, you naive tourists out there! 

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