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Ω2

Bosnia and Herzegovina

   Entering Bosnia and Herzegovina, we enjoyed a nice dirt ride to Mount Bjelašnica. We visited the village of Umoljani and we wild-camped near the isolated village of Lukomir. Until 2010 this beautiful village was inhabited by just ten people during the winter. Now, no one lives there in the winter. Shepherds just come over during the summer with hundreds of sheeps, just to take advantage of the lush meadows of the area.

Entering the remote Lukomir, we bumped into the shepherds returning to the village with their animals after pasturing.

   The next day, we arrived in Sarajevo, this crossroad of different cultures that has suffered so much in the past. The impact of the war during 1992-1995 is more than obvious. You can see graveyards everywhere, while the buildings are full of scars created by shelling. Many of them are covered up and the capital has been modernized. The scars on people’s souls, however, are not that easy to be vanished. Nevertheless, it is impressive in a good way to see Christians together with religious Muslims, walking around the streets of the city. Apparently, nowadays they live together in peace.

   It was time to say goodbye to John, as he was taking the road back to Greece. Although, we didn’t know each other that well when we decided to travel together for a while, he was probably the best fellow traveller I could have asked for. He was optimistic all the time and never complained about anything (well, he used to nag a little bit when we were facing crags and steep cliffs, but he enjoyed it in the end!). Even when we couldn’t find a nice place for us to wild-camp, he was always smiling saying: “over here, it’s perfect!”, even though the place might have been full of rocks or just very close to the road. John is almost 60 years old, but this has never prevented him from travelling in such a style.

Sarajevo, crossroad of East and West, combining mosques, churches, old houses of Ottoman architecture and modern sky-crappers…

   The reason I write all these is not to over praise John but to prove once more that age is not a barrier for someone to sleep on rocks under the stars every night, to cook on a camping stove and eat just one or two times a day, to ride his motorcycle along rocky cliffs and not to have a clue about where he will end up, what he might run into or where he will sleep. And don’t think that his gear was helpful in any way… He has an old, wrecked AX-1 250 cc, which had trouble with the shock absorber, it had a broken ball-bearing on the rear wheel, broken safety bars and displaced hand guard… Let alone his tent… It was one of those cheap tents that he had to cover with nylon when it was down pouring. The tricky thing, however, in such tents is to prevent the water to enter inside through the tent floor.

   And don’t think that he has a great fortune or anything… Thankfully, our financial  situation was one more thing we had in common, so, without spending a single night in a hotel, during the three weeks we travelled together, John must have spent around 300 euros in total. All these stand as a proof that it takes no more than will to travel like that and that age is not more than an excuse used by many who see such a trip as a hassle.

Discovering the rural Bosnia and Herzegovina.

   It was time for me to replace the engine oil on my motorcycle for the first time during this trip. I went over a gas station to use one of their containers in order to dispose the used oil. Next stop was the mysterious Visoko. There, it is said to be one of the oldest and largest pyramids in the world, the Pyramid of Sun. It was built almost 12,000 years ago with its height being more than 220 m. (722 ft.)! Now you can see just a hill and at first I thought it would be a waste of time to visit it. When I visited the Ravne Tunnel, however, I changed my mind! It was a labyrinth of tunnels of many kilometres, built in the same era as the pyramid complex.

   We had a very good tour guide, who was very keen to show us the tunnels from a metaphysic viewpoint. He showed us the rock boulders situated above the conjunction of two subterranean rivers, inside of which, by the use of proper instruments, there were found quartz crystals. At the underground galleries we visited, there was 40 times more than the ordinary amount of negative ions in the atmosphere, which is very beneficial to our health! Global scientists have been performing various calculations in order to reveal all these fascinating properties of the area. Now you can see many volunteers from all over the world, enchanted by the mysterious Visoko, coming over to assist in the excavations and the cleaning of the tunnels.

The old watermills around Pliva Lake, near Jajce.

   I headed to the picturesque village of Vranduk, where I made a stroll around the imposing 14th-century castle. Moving on, after paying the old town of Travnik a short visit, I arrived at Jajce. There, I was a guest of Sabina, a Bosnian girl that had hosted my sister and her boyfriend a month ago, while they were around the Balkans hitchhiking. Jajce is a peaceful town, located in a beautiful area full of rivers, waterfalls and lakes. All these, combined with the old citadel, create a fairytale landscape.

   From there, I headed south once more, in order not to lose the main attraction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar! The notorious Suleiman the Magnificent had ordered the building of the famous bridge, which was completed in 1566, and now attracts vast hordes of tourists, as it is considered to be a miracle of engineering.

Copper craftsman on duty in the narrow streets of Mostar.

   I visited many interesting places in this region. Kravice waterfalls overflow inside a lake, ideal for taking a cooling dip. The landscape is stunning! It was just like a miniature of the images I’ve seen from the Krka National Park or Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, however not so crowded and without expensive entry tickets.

How could I resist a dip in the cold water of Kravice Waterfalls?

   One more thing that really impressed me was the necropolis of Radimlja! Bosnia and Herzegovina is well known for its medieval tombstones scattered all over the country. Usually these are rocks of rectangular shape, ending on a conical top most of the times, on which there are various engravings. The tombstones of Radimlja are considered to be the most elaborated, quite fairly, I should point out!

   It was time to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina, and head to Croatia. This country really impressed me with its numerous old cities and its castles, while I particularly enjoyed the fact that most of the country is not touristy at all. Don’t forget that you can view my exact route, along with many photos, on Live Trip Traveller.

 

Here you can watch the video from our trip in Bosnia and Herzegovina (with English subtitles):


 

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