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BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

"To travel is to be born and die at every moment."

Victor-Hugo

It is with a little melancholy that we leave Croatia, but with joy and curiosity that we discover a new country. 

 

After two months of travel, we begin to feel a certain loneliness. Indeed, on the roads, the winter months are not conducive to meeting people. So we spent most of the time just the two of us. It's perfect, we join two French people we met on social networks with whom we are going to spend a few days for our debut in Bosnia.

 

Our feeling when arriving in Bosnia is divided between love and disgust. We begin to discover this country where waste accumulates in magnificent landscapes. Thus, we have a little trouble fully savoring the nature that is offered to us.

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The encounter with the French

The French, as we call them, are Anna and Antonin (A&A), a young couple who also travel in a VW crafter. Their van is also fully equipped by them. They mainly travel in Europe and plan to do a workaway in Bulgaria.

 

Our arrival in Bosnia is very pleasant. A&A, parked a few kilometers from Livno, welcome us like kings with a good hot meal in their van. We spend a few days together visiting the country, playing board games, doing karaoke, laughing, getting lost hiking, cooking, washing dishes and showering. In summary, apart from sleeping, we live together 24/7. Everything we needed. It is in Sarajevo that our paths separate, we say goodbye to them with a little twinge in the heart, but who knows, we may meet them again later on our way. 

Kravica Falls

The four of us go hiking along the river on a path that we think should lead us to the waterfalls. But, unfortunately, it stops a few hundred meters from our destination. In order to avoid getting lost "off the tracks" (where there could be mines left), we wisely retraced our steps. 

 

With the exception of the guard, who asks us 20 marks per person (+\- CHF 10. -/person) to enter, the falls park is completely deserted. No wonder given the season. This way of making nature pay, especially when no real infrastructure is offered, exasperates us and we decide not to enter and go for a walk.

 

An hour later, when we return to the parking lot, we notice people entering the falls area without paying. The caretaker has finished his day and the park is left wide open.

Neither one nor two, we enter the park and go to see these falls. We take a few pictures, waiting to see who will fall into the water first...

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Blagaj

Blagaj is a village, built in an urban-rural style typical of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located at the source of the Buna River which emerges from a karst cliff next to the Tekke monastery. Here lived dervishes, monks who followed the path of spiritual search and the choice of austere life similar to that of the monks of the Christian mendicant orders.

Mostar

The city of Mostar is the second largest city in Bosnia and it did not leave us indifferent. We were amazed by the amount of stigma left by the war (1991-2001). The buildings are still very marked or even dilapidated. Many houses and buildings are marked by bullet holes. 

 

We were marked, moved and even shivered in front of this still visually very present story. 

 

All these impressions have somewhat put in their place our feelings of the previous days. Indeed, we were able to understand that waste may not be a priority when the reconstruction of the country is.

 

Conversely, the old town and its famous bridge, the Stari Most, built in 1565 and destroyed in 1993 during the war, are now completely renovated. Indeed, these two attractions have been rebuilt thanks to funding from several European countries.

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Sarajevo

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia. We were delighted to discover it even if we have a little ball in the belly imagining in what state its history could have left it.

 

We are nevertheless surprised that, with the help of some European countries, the city has been largely rebuilt. Its center is touristy, but is still very lively with locals. We were able to spend some time in front of the biggest mosque in the city in full prayer, it was really very beautiful. We also discovered the surroundings of the city and some of its sites of interest, in particular the Sarajevo tunnel. The latter was dug under the city's airport during its siege and was its only physical link to the rest of the country.

Bosnian mountains

With the conditions offered by winter, we also have the chance to discover the snow-capped peaks of the country. We start by going to the Bjelasnica ski resort used during the 1984 Olympics and which is now experiencing a new lease of life. 

 

To our surprise, the layer of snow is very thin. In Milišići, we nevertheless put on our skis to try to climb, with sealskin, the Cetovičko Brdo which makes us look. Two dogs, who welcomed us on our arrival in the village and whom we nicknamed Boul and Bill, serve as our guide. To our greatest surprise, they follow us, somehow, throughout the trip.

 

In order to find a little more snow, we head towards Tušila where there are better oriented peaks. The snow conditions should be better there. In the morning, we set off to conquer the Vito. Unfortunately, arrived under the ridges, a few meters from the summit, the steepest slope is frozen. The ice axes, left in the van, would be necessary for us. So unfortunately we have to turn back. Luckily, the sun appears and illuminates the mountain opposite, the Veliko Brdo. It is still early, so we can revise our itinerary.

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