Today I'm attempting to get to Bosnia again. This time last year I was laid up with a migraine and I wasn't going anywhere so I cancelled my trip. When I had the chance to try again, I booked it immediately. The early ferry beckoned, as did the hotel packed lunch (6/10 - how the heck am I going to eat an orange without spraying half the bus with juice?!).
I'm not sure what to expect. My vision is muddied by a montage of TV stills; war, destruction of heritage, complex politics. In a previous life I knew a Bosnian Muslim and she had suffered greatly in the mid 90s, losing friends and family. However she carved out a life - university, marriage, children, career - for herself in the UK. Over dinners and wine she did talk matter of factly about her experiences, and it had been horrific.
And that's the thing, despite the horror and strife, she's proud of her heritage and religion. She returns frequently to see her remaining family. Her views on most things appear entirely moderate; apart from her children who are her world. She opened my mind to what it would be like to lose everything, yet remain strongly focused on rebuilding, recreating and relating her stories.
This strength in the face of adversity is the overwhelming sense that I get from the people in this part of the world. It sounds like a sweeping generalisation but the troubles here seem relentless. Not depressingly so, just How It Is. And the people pick themselves up, dust off the damage and continue, more determined than ever before.
Apart from this personal connection to the history of this part of the Adriatic, I remember little detail of the wider political events so I hope to come away with an improved understanding of historical place.