Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Sarajevo | ©thepalladiantraveler.com“Here in Sarajevo, boys don’t ask girls out on a date,” observes Karin, our stylish Insight Vacations‘ (Insight) tour director-slash-concierge, “instead, they ask them if they’d like to go for a coffee.”

“Coffee?” we ask, dumbfounded.

“Yes,” she replies matter-of-factly, “coffee or kafa.”

Cheekily, I ask Karin if she’d like to go for a kafa with me. Without blinking an eye, she says, “Sure, and I know just the place.”

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Sarajevo | ©thepalladiantraveler.comUnfortunately, I’m not alone, as the other 17 members of the intrepid “band of merry media” — travel writers and photographers invited along by Insight to sample a portion of its Bosnia and Dalmatian Riviera itinerary — join this “date in search of a caffeine fix,” and quickly fall into step right behind Karin.

Near the so-called demarcation line, that section of the city where the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires of old merged, stands the Hotel Europe, Insight’s five-star digs in Sarajevo. And, inside the hotel is the elegant Bečka Kafana (Viennese Café) where our party of 18 takes a load off to savor traditional Bosnian, not Turkish, coffee.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Sarajevo | ©thepalladiantraveler.comBosnia has a long tradition of coffee drinking that borders on the ridiculous and dates all the way back to the Ottomans who, in the 15th century, introduced the daily ritual of slowly and deliberately sipping tiny cups of Joe. Consuming coffee is an obsession that’s woven deep into the cultural fabric, and that’s why coffee, above all other potations, has been anointed Bosnia’s national beverage. No kiddin’.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Sarajevo | ©thepalladiantraveler.comBosanska kafa begins with the roasting of raw coffee beans. The beans are then ground to a fine powder — even finer than Italian espresso — the old-fashioned way, in a hand grinder. Boiling water is poured into a gently heated copper pot called a džezva, the finely ground coffee is added and stirred, the pot placed back on the stove to boil again just below overflow so that there’s plenty of foam, and then brought to your table.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Sarajevo | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
Coffee is served in the džezva, which holds three cups of java, that’s presented on a round tray with an empty, ceramic fildžan (small cup) and a dish full of sugar cubes and a rahat lokum, a Bosnian candy that we stranaca (foreigners) might irreverently call Turkish delight.

Now, stir the coffee once allowing more foam to rise to the top and then wait a few minutes for the sludge to settle on the bottom of the pot.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Sarajevo | ©thepalladiantraveler.comTime’s up!

Skim off a spoonful of foam, pour the coffee into the fildžan and then introduce the foam into the cup. If you like sugar in your coffee like I do, don’t plop the cube down into the cup, instead, take a bite of it, place it under your tongue and then take your first sip of Bosanska kafa.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera | ©thepalladiantraveler.comAh, my kup runneth over.

For complete information on Insight’s premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including 113 journeys across Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

See you back on the motor coach in about 15 minutes, or whenever I slowly and deliberately finish my third cup of kafa, as we head to the outskirts of Sarajevo for a chilling walk underground through the Tunnel of Hope.

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

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