Around the World in 18 Barbers’ Chairs

Sitting in a barber shop in the coastal city of Split, Croatia, I struggled to answer the stylist’s simple question: How long would we be visiting Croatia? I had learned a smattering of Croatian words, but the names of the months had so far escaped me.

Remembering the calendar hanging above my head – albeit adorned with nude calendar girls – I flipped through the weeks and pointed to a date. As I exposed each month’s voluptuous model, the 70-something barber’s moustache-framed mouth curled into a mischievous grin. However awkward the method, I had satisfied his curiosity. Clearly I was in male territory, though.

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The Eclectic Windows of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sarajevo Windows

To wander Sarajevo’s streets is to journey through the centuries while diving into a grab bag of architectural styles. In the city’s well-known Baščaršija district, which feels like Istanbul in miniature, artisans craft Turkish-style copper coffee pots under towering minarets and mosques dating back to the 16th Century. Along the Miljacka River, the city’s Vijećnica building – originally the city’s National Library, which was destroyed during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1992, and is now the newly-restored City Hall – flashes intricate Moorish-style details in shrimp pink and creamy hues.

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A Peaceful Nap in Sarajevo, 100 Years Later

Sarajevo Franz Ferdinand Assassination Centenary

A dog naps in the afternoon light on the Sarajevo street corner where Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated 100 years ago today.

Special events in Sarajevo will commemorate the 28 June 1914 shooting, which is said to have been the spark that started World War One. There are differing opinions about the event, with some in Southeastern Europe viewing the Archduke’s assassin as a hero who liberated South Slavic people from imperial rule, while others see him as a criminal and murderer.

As my husband, Shawn, aptly wrote yesterday, with today’s events there is “the dream that the next 100 years will be peaceful. We can all only hope.”

Those words are especially poignant in a city such as Sarajevo which has been the scene of much conflict and misery in recent decades.

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Photo du Jour #58: Meeting of the Matrioshki – Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

cluster of Matryoshkas dolls for sale - Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Matryoshka dolls await buyers at a market in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The first set of such wooden nesting dolls was made in the late 1890s. The word matryoshka or матрёшка means ‘little maiden’ in Russian.

The designs of the delightful dolls featured above are pretty traditional, however, in countries such as the Czech Republic, Russia and even Bosnia-Herzegovina, politicians’ faces and those of famous athletes are appearing on such figures.

What unique faces have you encountered on matryoshka dolls during your travels?