As plenty of ARRSERs served in Bosnia back in the day and some have expressed an interest in going back, I thought I'd post a quick summary of the trip I took to Sarajevo last month. Hope it's of interest to some... Unless you're slightly strange and want to re-live your youth by flying into Split, you can get flights to both Sarajevo and Banja Luka from around £150.00 upwards, depending on how much of a tight-arse you are. There are few direct flights between the UK and Bosnia, meaning a change at one of the usual European hubs. I flew with the Slovenian airline Adria, which I highly recommend, if only for the stunning views of the Slovenian mountains around Ljubljana. Sarajevo airport is small and easy to get around. There are two cash points just past arrivals, both of which rejected one of my Visa cards whilst accepting the other, so probably best to take more than one card if you can. You have to go through security as soon as you enter the airport - each and every time - so don't think "I'll just nip out for a smoke" before hiring your car, withdrawing your cash etc in the terminal. When you come to depart, you can smoke upstairs once you're through security. God bless Bosnia. There's also a interesting plaque to the French soldiers who died in Sarajevo during the UN and NATO operations. The airport is a bit of a trek from the interesting parts of the City and, although there are tram and bus links of a sort, I took a taxi, which was 25 KM to the far side of town - no doubt a 'special foreigner price' but, at around £11.00, who's complaining? There are about 2.2 KM to the pound. Euros are also apparently widely accepted in hotels etc. The city itself is an interesting mix of old and new. Given the history of Bosnia as first an Ottoman province, then an Austro-Hungarian condominium and eventually a Communist state, there is no one style of architecture, which makes for an interesting contrast between the old and new parts of the City. I stayed in the old town (Stari Grad) in Eastern part of the City, close to Bascarsija. Most of the tourist sights are clustered around this area and there are plenty of hotels, ranging from international standard to, well, negative star rating. Take your pick. I stayed in the Hotel Herc, with an interesting view of a Muslim graveyard but the advantage of an all-night bar, complete with home-made Sliv. The city isn't the easiest place in the world to get around by foot at first but is actually fairly easy to get to know once you've been around the block a few times. The Miljacka river runs right the way through the bits of the City you're likely to be interested in, so as long as you remember if you're North or South of it, you should never be really lost. The tourist office is at Zelenih beretki 22a and will shovel more maps and info at you than you can shake a shitty stick at. It has to be said that some of the typical tourist sites are somewhat less than impressive (like the Latinski Most, scene of Archduke Ferdinand's assassination) but the 'real' City more than makes up for it. You can be walking down an anonymous street full of grotesque Communist-era buildings before suddenly coming across a medieval mosque or something equally unexpected. It's that kind of place. It's a good idea to pop into the old Seb Orthodox Church, the Catholic Cathedral and the Bey's Mosque (all close togther), if only to get re-acquainted with just what a complex place Bosnia is. Also worth a look is the 'Monument to the Murdered Children of Sarajevo'. If you served in Bosnia before 1995 - or even if you didn't - some of the dates of death listed might well move you. Sarajevo has fewer Western-style shops than some Eastern European capitals but there are a couple of classy malls in the City centre. You'll be spoiled for choice for places to eat and the food is generally superb (especially if your memories of eating in Bosnia revolve around rat packs and what the sloppos dished out). The restaurants around the Bascarsija are mostly over-priced tourist traps but there are cafes and restaurants literally everywhere and I didn't have a bad meal once. Even the donner kebabs come with decent bread and don't taste like they're made from minced cat. Cevapi (little sausage things) are the most common street food and if you have a plate of Ranjići (like shish kebab), you'll think you've died and gone to heaven. American fast food places are mercifully few and far between, though there are a couple of locally-owned burger places called 'Hamby King' (and when you see them you'll wonder how the **** they haven't been sued out of existance by Burger King). Some final points to note. The Bosnian people are as wonderful and friendly as ever and many of the kids and young people speak embarrassingly good English. The population is over 75% Bosniak (Muslim) but but for the minarets on the sky-line, the odd woman in a headscarf and the Iranian cultural centre, you wouldn't necessarily guess it. If, like me, you served in a more rural part of Bosnia, Sarajevo can feel a little different (whilst still being recognisably Bosnian). To see the typical two-storey Bosnian buildings and people wearing clothes from the 70s, climb one of the mountains surrounding the City. You'll pass through little hamlets and the views from the top are truly stunning. Finally, take the opportunity to watch some local TV in your hotel room. The former Yugoslav republics still receive each other's TV broadcasts and, believe me, Macedonian telly (MKTV) has to be seen to be believed. 18 hours of Balkan folk-singing, anyone? I'd recommend a trip to Sarajevo to anyone, especially if you served over there. I fully intend to go back ASAP and maybe try to get out of the City this time. Go soon, before the tie-dyed travel numpties and chav ********* decide that it's the next hot destination, and revisit your mis-spent youth to the scent of grilled meat, pivo and sliv. After all, where else are you going to get the 'returning veteran' experience. Basra?