The war is still going on in Sarajevo, in Mostar, in Srebrenica, all across Bosnia & Herzegovina, in the minds of those who fought, and among the survivors.
And those who lost a father, brother, husband, son, mother, wife, sister, daughter.
For young Dzemal Hodzic, like many a son in Bosnia and around the world, his father was his hero (you listening, Champ?).
Fikret Godzic was a giant of a man who would protect him against any harm.
But who could not protect himself against the militia who came for him.
His family, his wife, his daughter and Dzemal did manage to escape their aggressors and made their way to Vienna.
Fikret may well have been looking out for them.
And it was there that their story came to the attention of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Who had competed in a bodybuilding competition with Fikret.
The gentle giant that he is, Arnie sent a heartfelt letter to Dzemal telling him of his memories of his father.
‘I am very much aware of your father and what a great bodybuilding champion he was,’ he wrote.
‘You can be proud of him.
‘We in the bodybuilding community all had great respect for him.
‘And I remember well when your father won third place at the 1981 Mr Universe contest in Cairo, Egypt.
‘He was in the best shape ever then.’
The Museum of Crimes against Humanity and Genocide is disturbing but vital and I would recommend anyone to visit…
There is also a Srebrenica Exhibition on in Sarajevo at the Gallerija… https://galerija110795.ba.
I am on pilgrimage with Marian Pilgrimages www.marian.ie to Medjugorje and Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com.
Aer Lingus flies to Split in Croatia from where a coach is waiting to take you across the border to B&H.
The bus from Medge to Sarajevo is only €16 return and takes around four-five hours, usually the latter on the way back because of traffic.
You’ll travel before 6am in the morning and return on the 5.45pm bus.
Which will give you half a dozen hours or so.
Which, of course is definitely not long enough, but you certainly need to go.
I’ll bring you more on Sarajevo’s sporting history and mosque in future posts.
But for now here’s what happened on the Road to Dubrovnik with Globtour On the road to Dubrovnik.
With Globtour, €26 return. www.globtour.com.
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