“Skender made this trip one of my most memorable, educational and favourite trips yet!”
Where to begin? I hesitated in writing this review because I knew it would take ages to put in writing how much I enjoyed the time I spent in Sarajevo but also under the guidance of Sarajevo Funky Tours! So...
At the moment I arrived at Sarajevo Airport, I turned on my phone to see if there was Wifi available to check if I had a reply from Skender about confirmation of my airport transfer. Instead, I had a text message asking if I had arrived and stating that he was on his way. 10 minutes later, Skender rolled into SJJ airport to pick me up. I had booked the airport transfer service as I had read negative reviews about the taxi service to the city from the airport...and figured that since I had booked tours with SFT already, then this would be an easy way to go. From the moment I got in the car with Skender, things were easy. He was immediately personable and we got to chatting like you would to a friend of a friend when you first meet. Five minutes into our drive, Skender was pointing out some landmarks and I was already amazed and what I was learning. He also said, at this point, that he'd take me to the Sarajevo War Tunnel on my way back to the airport as it was something that I shouldn't miss! I had signed up for the Sarajevo Siege Tour but then cancelled as it had looked like no one else signed up and I was thinking I'd be paying out the remainder of the people on the Mostar Trip as I was the only one signed up and there was a minimum traveller limit of 4 (I wanted to go so I said I'd pay the full price so I could). He dropped me at my hotel after a brief (but great) intro to Sarajevo and some recommendations then we bid adieu until two days later when I'd meet him again for the Mostar trip.
So, at 8:30, I met Skender at his hostel to go on my tour of Mostar. Upon arrival, Skender told me there was another young lady plus 5 other older women that had signed up for the trip the day before - this meant that I'd only be paying my share of 50Euros so that was great. We began our drive and Skender again began pointing out landmarks in Sarajevo on the drive. I had recognized all of them, though, from my walking tour the day before but enjoyed that knowledgeable feeling. (Ahhhh! Skender! I did cheat and went on another walking tour! :P) Along the drive, Skender also began talking about the history of other places in Bosnia-Herzegovina and this got me wishing I was staying in Sarajevo for longer so that I could sign up for more of the tours Skender was offering. Whilst on the trip, he had actually arranged another trip (for the day I was leaving :( ) with the 5 older ladies and I was so bummed I wouldn't be able to join. Long story short, Skender took us to, not only Mostar, but also to Počitelj and Blagaj which were fantastic little gems that I'm sure I would have never had the chance to visit otherwise. The whole time, Skender stuck with us and gave us tips and information about the areas with such great enthusiasm that was inspiring. At the end of the trip, I had requested that we go to one of the old fortresses in Sarajevo to take some night photos and he was glad to do this. By the time we got back, it was 10:20pm when the tour might typically end much earlier than that. The group of us just clicked so well and we all enjoyed each others' company. When I met Skender the next day, he went on to talk about how much fun he had with us yesterday. I thought this was really something (and I felt it was genuine) as he does this for a living, has done the tour many times, but he was still able to have fun, thoroughly enjoy himself and not be sick of the group of us at the end of the day.
Because Skender organized a tour on the day he was meant to be taking me to the airport, he arranged to take me to the War Tunnel the day before. On the way, he gave me more history of Sarajevo that I did not learn on my previous walking tour, and he was able to go into much more detail. As we approached the Tunnel, and because I probably looked confused and had many questions, he pulled over and we talked for so I could get the facts straight before proceeding to the tunnel. Upon arrival, he gave me all the facts and explained things I was seeing in detail. I was glad he was there during the short video about the making of the tunnel as he was able to explain further what was happening, and of course answer all of my questions. Afterwards, we went to the Jewish cemetery overlooking the city and continued to share his experiences as well as his family's (namely his father's), during the war. Then, he showed me his favourite restaurant in Sarajevo after walking me to the Srebrenica Photo Exhibition and being on hand to answer my questions, yet again. In short, my mind was nothing short of blown with Skender, his knowledge, his passion and the sharing of his life experiences. Being of the same generation and only a year of age apart, I felt that learning from Skender and being able to relate to him made the tours he gave so powerful. I had sympathy for him and all Bosnians as they dealt with something so tragic that I couldn't even imagine. Words cannot express the respect I have for Skender and his ambitions to educate visitors to and natives of Bosnia-Herzegovina and because of this, I'm sure that all other future tours I take, will never measure up to my time learning with Skender.
On my final day of departure, Skender's father drove me to the airport and I felt honoured to be in the presence of a civilian soldier that fought for his country/city/family first hand. He was also very personable, friendly and our conversations made the trip to the airport relaxed but also a bit emotional as I was sad that my educational and eye-opening trip of a life-time was drawing to a conclusion.
Obviously, I've got a lot to say but please take this advice - Sarajevo Funky Tours should NOT BE MISSED on your travels in Bosnia-Herzegovina! I feel like I will make it my mission to ensure all people visiting Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina contact SFT to arrange a tour or a few tours as they'll completely exceed your expectations and leave you wanting to learn more! :)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.