Monday, 9 February 2009

swimming, splashing and building

It may be winter in Tuzla, so swimming in the outdoor lakes is out (even for us hearty Brits), but that doesn't mean that there is no swimming at all. The Hotel Tuzla, a communist beast of a hotel if ever I saw one, has got a pool that really isn't bad at all. 25m, not too busy, not too chlorinated, it is a pool that you could do laps in no trouble at all (pictures of pool and associated bevy of beauties here - but a heads up for those surfing the Hotel Tuzla website, don't be fooled by pictures of lovely clay tennis courts - they are in Tuzla, but are not a part of the Hotel Tuzla complex).

We took the boys there on Sunday. Sadly, no laps for us, more standing in the shallow end getting cold while the boys in their armbands splash around having a splendid time. It does tire them out though, to the extent that both boys had a nap in the afternoon at the same time - a state otherwise known as nirvana to us fraught mummies.

We hadn't been swimming for a while as the hotel has been undergoing pretty extensive renovations which have now reached the changing areas of the pool. These are much needed and I'm looking forward to seeing the end result.

On the way home it struck us that there really is a lot of renovation and innovation going on in Tuzla at the moment. Squares in the centre of town which were car parks are becoming places to sit with cafes and benches. Dilapidated buildings are becoming brand new, smart attractive buildings. The saltwater lakes now have a series of waterfalls with pools in which you can sit. The old, tired zoo is becoming a cracking playground. The football stadium has got renovations going on all around it. There is talk of putting a part of the ring road underground, which would allow a huge green park to connect the centre of town to the Panonica Lakes and Slana Banja. I almost want to ask "Is Tuzla becoming "up and coming"? I may have to completely revise my perceptions of the city.

The citizens of Tuzla are proud of their mayor, who does appear to be doing a great job in improving the city. They are also proud of their non-nationalistic attitude and Tuzla is one of the few cities in Bosnia that doesn't elect nationalist politicians, one of the major reasons why Bosnia has got itself stuck in a bog of political fug (see article here for more on this if interested). I hope other Bosnians look at Tuzla for an example of what can happen when effective politicians are elected to power.

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