The setting of the trip to Bosnia this time was a little different from the others, as it involved much more travelling and did not focus only on Sarajevo, where we always slept and which we kept as a steady base from dusk to dawn.
Every journey is a further possibility to discover new details and situations and, in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, evidence of a bloody war that from 1992 to 1995 ravaged this land and remains engraved in the hearts of everyone.
For me by now it was nothing new to see the bombed out houses or the cemeteries along the street and in the surrounding hills during our days or morning rides. At least, it was nothing new for me. What was new, however, was over the course of six days to make contact with an incredible hodgepodge of races, ethnicities, religions, customs and ways of life.
Starting from the first day, when we met with the small Serbian children, each following day was a different experience, an unknown emotion, in Kisejak, Travik and Lukodan; small towns nestled in the Bosnian hinterlands where different ethnicities now live (apparently) in peace after very hard years that obviously continue to leave economic and political after-effects.
One memory amongst the many: a training session in Kisejak, about 20 km to the north west of Sarajevo. Children who were predominantly Catholic Croats, with Orthodox Serb coaches in a Bosnian Muslim town. Heavy rain was falling and dozens of children arrived from all over, to in the end number close to eighty. Since the dressing rooms were little more than a hole in the wall, everyone was outside in the rain waiting for Gabriele, Christian and I to set up the pitches.
Finally we were ready for the training session in the form of a tournament in the pouring rain. And we were off. At the end no one wanted to go home and leave a game in which no one knew the score, because it simply did not matter to anyone. Magic.