Two months ago the opening of the White Trail was here in Blidinje nature park. And one year ago I was here as well, on my bike. It’s one of my favourite places. The immense valley with mountains on both sides and a lake in the middle, kind of stole my heart. I have to admit that most of my favourite places have more to do with memories than with the scenery. Although Blidinje is beautiful, for others it might be just a valley.
For me, it’s obviously not. Last year when I cycled from Amsterdam to the Balkans, I crossed Bosnia and Herzegovina along the southern border. I was on a road, a big road mostly. All the time I looked up to these strange mountains around me. They were new to me. The mountains are different here, the look and feel different from what I had seen before.
They are not enormous or extremely high, but still impressive. Most of them don’t look steep or difficult to climb. Big hills. Until you see Čvrsnica with its rocky peaks. Everything feels unpredictable, nothing is what you expect it to be. It’s interesting.
I wanted to go up there, but I was on my bike. I was passing through. There was no time for long stops. No time to just sit and watch. Actually, last year felt like a race. The race went on in my head while I was cycling. All the time there was some kind of schedule telling me what to do. And what I could not do. When I arrived in Tomislavgrad, I asked if it was possible to camp or find accommodation at Blidinje. I had no idea what to expect. People told me “no, not possible”. So I stayed in Tomislavgrad.
The next day Blidinje turned out to be perfect for camping and further up the road I found a big motel and several other accommodations. I felt a bit angry, how could they not know? But I was also angry with myself, because I didn’t even try to find out myself. That I was too tired to explore. It’s this strange kind of anger that makes me punish myself. I didn’t allow myself to enjoy the lake at the moment I was there. Took a beautiful photo and went on.
It’s a strange memory and I can still feel how I felt at that moment. I laugh about it now, because I know that I’ve learned from this experience. I do things different now. During the opening of the White Trail the weather was bad. Too cold to swim and too tricky to hike. The dark clouds above Vran forced us to go back without reaching the summit. Nevertheless, I had a great time. I was excited and energetic. I was also about to leave BiH, but I knew I would be back in Blidinje in a few weeks.
Here I am, eight weeks later! I just hiked down from Čvrsnica mountain range and proudly I look up to those peaks that surrounded me this morning. I woke up with a mountain view, climbed Veliki Vilinac and walked down through the forest. A sweet day, not too demanding and again all on my own on the trail. Singing and smiling. I’m in a good mood. I féél good. Happy to be here and proud of where I came from.
Hello Blidinje, good to see you again.