Friday, 23 October 2009

24 Hours: Tuzla

A new guide book for London is coming out in the next few weeks, showing ideas for stuff to do for each hour. Called 24 Hours: London - an insiders guide to London's Best Kept Secrets, the idea is that it will give you ideas for things to do at a given hour. So, 4pm tea at the Ritz, 10pm dancing stupidly outside a nightclub in South Kensington, 2am hunting for food down the Fulham Rd. That sort of thing.

The idea got picked up by Mike from Postcards Across the Pond, who wrote his own personal 24 hour guide for Horsham. Horsham wasn't quite as busy as London, but there was a lot to do if you are out and about in Horsham, as long as it involves pubs or parks.

So I thought I'd give this a go. Noone writes guide books for Tuzla. Even the official Bosnia guide book says, somewhat diplomatically, that this area isn't really set up for tourism. So, here we go, the 24 hour guide for Tuzla. (readers who know Tuzla, feel free to point out which amazing Tuzla experiences I've missed in the comments section)

5am: All quiet, except the yowling of the stray dogs. Stay in bed and put duvet over head to try and drown out the sound.

6am: At some point during this hour the early morning call to prayer will go off. People start to get up, but I advise remaining in bed with duvet over head.

7am: Everyone up and about and off to work. Many people haven't had any coffee yet, so strongly advise not making contact with anyone until they have had their caffeine hit.

8am: Office hours start at 8am. Things start to open. Pop into a bakers to pick up some pastries, chocolate and jam are widely available. The bread is also freshly baked and excellent.

9am: Venture out into town. Pop into a cafe to plan your day. Coffee, in the form of espresso will be available wherever you are. If you are feeling braver ask for a kafa domaci, which is like a Turkish coffee, complete with turbo fuelled sludge at the bottom. Drink it black and very sweet.

10am: Remember that you have some outstanding bureaucratic issues to deal with. You are in Bosnia after all and your stay is not complete if you do not do battle with bureaucracy somewhere. Find appropriate ministry and enter. Leave shortly afterwards as everyone is on a 'pauza' and having coffee.

11am: Head for a stroll in the centre of town. The new square, trg sloboda (Freedom Square) is a very pleasant place to sit by the fountain under the tree and watch the town pass by. If you are lucky you may see a wedding spilling out of the registry office, with all the brass bands, photo sessions and throwing of money before the drama moves on elsewhere. Then, move along past the cafes and down the pedestrainised Korzo.

12pm: Attempt to complete bureaucratic procedure. Everyone now having lunch. Go to the market instead and browse all sorts of things from mobile phone covers to jeans to fruit and honey.

1pm: Lunch. Should the weather be agreeable do find a restaurant which allows you to sit outside. The restaurant Krcma, near Trg Sloboda is a great place. Cheap and quick, but serves good food whilst sitting outside on wooden benches. It is all pedestrianised to small children can run rampant outside without causing too much trouble. Although do try to prevent them running into the nearby mosque (which is beautiful) as this is not a good thing.

2pm: Head out to the park Slana Banja on the north side of town. The new playground is now open, but muddy. The park itself has some great views over the town as well as some good clay tennis courts.

3pm: Wander down to the Pannonika Lakes (newly built salt water lakes) for a swim. If you are here during winter these will be shut, but they may have erected an ice skating rink and trampolines instead.

4pm: Head up to the park of Ilincica up on the hills to the south of the city. Here the woods have a certain mystical quality to them, but beware the epic amounts of rubbish that blight this beautiful place.

5pm: It has been at least 3 hours since you had coffee. How are you still standing? Find a cafe, any cafe and reinject yourself with caffiene. A good one to go to is the one by the pedestrian bridge over the river/sludge fest ditch which also serves good cakes.

6pm: Take a pause. Everyone else will be.

7pm: Get ready to go out. The look in this town is all about glamour. Your heels must be high, your hair sorted, your make-up on (and boys, you need to look good too).

8pm: Join the crowds strolling along the Korzo. Stop off at a cafe there for a pre-dinner drink and watch and be watched.

9pm: Decide what sort of food you are after. If it is traditional Bosnian then I'd recommend the Biblioteka restaurant otherwise think pizza and join the debate on whether it is Heartland or Dalma who make the best pizzas in town.

10pm: Head down to see if they have any live music in the Salt Square and linger. Lingering is a national pastime. Don't be afraid to nurse a drink for hours.

11pm: Head to the cafes just off the Korzo or to Cafe Sydney near the National Theatre. Alternatively buy yourself something to drink and join the youth of the city by the Jala (river/sludge fest mentioned earlier).

12am: Wonder where to go next. Walk around a lot trying to get in contact with other people in Tuzla. Eventually decide to go to The Underground. It will be packed, loud and the music a mix of Bosnian and English language covers. There will be lots of cigarette smoking. There will be lots of beer. There will be lots of singing along badly to the music. It's fun. Recommended.

1am: Try out Jazz for a smaller, more intimate venue, which is also in a cellar, with live (usually acoustic) music, chain smokers and lots of beer.

2am: This is Tuzla, everything shuts now unless you know someone who knows someone.

3am: Head home. Watch Turbo folk on TV and drink beer and plum brandy.

4am: You are still awake? How? More Turbofolk, beer and sljiva. Now go to sleep. You have more coffee to drink tomorrow.


Anyone else fancy giving it their hometown a 24 Guide makeover? Take up the meme, and make sure you let Marsha (the author of the original book) know as she is putting together a list of these guides.

16 comments:

MikeH said...

Well done! It sounds a lot more energetic than Horsham. Must be your high-octane coffee ;)

Michelloui said...

I think you should send the proposal to a publisher!!! ;) Now perhaps we know why the Bosnian Guide books leave Tuzla to the locals...?? Not sure if I could top this. Our little village in Essex would have lots of 'see neighbour and complain about cars driving too fast through the village' types of entries.

Marsha Moore said...

Awesome! What this about office hours starting at 8 a.m.? No wonder you need so much coffee!

Thanks for writing it up - you're in the draw!

Very Bored Housewife said...

Fab. Might have a go at this myself sometime soon.

WeDoAdventure said...

Clearly a great day out!

But I can't believe it was a blog about Horsham that got you started on this. Mike almost made my home town sound interesting, which is a credit to his creative writing skills!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Well you make it sound kicking! Live music, drinks, dancing, people dolled up to the nines...what IS there to complain about?
I shall put Tuzla at top of places where I will allow husband to move us. (well, maybe I won't)
Pigx

Toni in Ithaca said...

Ooh, to 7 pm I'd add, "Ladies, make sure you have dyed your hair red." I remember those dyed heads when we were in Tuzla last summer. If it's winter, at 8 am one would have to rope oneself to a car at the top of the hill in order to get down into town. This because no one shovels snow and it just becomes ice for the rest of winter. Oh, and if it's 10 am you could join the amorphous hoard in the bank trying to do business. No queues in Tuzla! You're right on with the pastry. Remember our last breakfast together in Tuzla last July, yummy pastry.

whistlejacket said...

Great to read more about where you live. Tempted to give this a go although I do live in a small, unexciting place.

Tattie Weasle said...

I'm on a budget flight out there - it's a coffee thing! (well no, not really, it's the plum brandy....!:)

Lorna Harris said...

I love how many cafe stops you include. That's my kind of 24 hours!

kathryn said...

Now we know why you are there!!

Expat mum said...

Fab post. Mike and I also did a 24 Hour thing on the Pond Parleys blog. It would be great if everyone could "do" where they live. So interesting.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Mike - only energetic in the coffee drinking department. People think I exaggerate about the coffee, but it is all true! Every word.

Michelleoui - Bosnian guide books tend to miss out Tuzla. Ah well. We could do a see neighbour about car entry too...

MM - but they finish at 4! Glad to be in the draw and good luck with the book launch!

VBH - do! it is fun. If you go to Marsha's site she is doing a draw for everyone who writes one.

WDA - you've seen Tuzla, you know the fun. Lets see one for Mostar!

Pig - it is kicking. It is the hip hop centre of Bosnia. Apparently. Not sure I'd recommend others to move here, but we enjoy it. Most of the time anyway!

Toni - Yes, the red head look is strong. And we made sure not to live at the top of the hill for precisely that reason. Just off for another jam pastry...yum yum..

WJ - give it a go! Tuzla is not known for its excitingness (is that a word?)

TW - rats, no budget flights come here although there is an airport! The plum brandy could be a draw...

LH - Cafes are serious business here. They are pretty much the only business here too.

Kathryn - it is the coffee!

EM - Glad you liked it. I enjoyed yours as well. I'm going to see if I can encourage a few others.

Catharine Withenay said...

Bit late to add a comment, but it actually makes me want to come and visit.
Apart from the coffee. Can't stand the stuff. Do they do tea?

Fedja said...

all best from club UNDERGROUND TZ. come again.

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