At the end of the month I like to look back on what I’ve done and where I’ve been. On how I felt and what was on my mind. It turned out that my Instagram pictures actually give a pretty good impression. So, I decided to put them together in a blog post. Here’s my monthly photo essay, Looking back on December: Slowly sliding towards the finish line.
Slowly sliding towards the end of the trail and rapidly jumping into a new adventure. In December I finished a journey that started about 2,5 year ago, hiking Via Dinarica or better said Hiking all three Via Dinarica Trails. I’ve done it!
Although there’s still so much more to explore and I’m certainly not done with hiking, biking, climbing the Dinarides or the Balkans yet, I needed a break from packing my bag every single day. That’s why I headed to a mountain hut on Trebević, SPD Jure Franko.
But before I take you to Bosnia and Herzegovina, have a look at Croatia’s Blue Trail.
Kozjak was the last mountain I had to pass before the trail headed land inwards. Although it rained all day, I really enjoyed the hike. Sometimes a colourless day is exactly what I want. A wet, grey hike doesn’t have to be bad. Every now and then I got a little glimpse of the spectacular cliffs, but most of the day all I got to see were clouds.
I expected the Blue Trail to be more of a road walk kind of trail. Many stages are marked as biking sections that cover pretty big distances, but after Biokovo, Omiška Dinara, Mosor and Kozjak – sections more or less without roads – I almost forgot what roadhikes are like. I kind of started to miss those endless miles where I distract myself with podcasts. Where I can let my thoughts float as long as the day lasts. And where I forget to take photos because I’m totally in a walkingmachine-mode. Luckily there was Central Dalmatia to make it all up to me.
Krka National Park
Not sure if it was worth the awful asphalted up&down the same road detour, but at least I can tick off another MUST SEE from the list: Krka National Park✔️
Budget tip: during low season you pay 30 instead of 200 Kuna’s to enter Krka National Park. Do bring your own sandwiches though, cause e-ve-ry-thing is closed. #hungryhiker
And here are my new buddies, the FiveFinger V-TRAINS. Warm, sturdy and sort of pink. Most of the mountains are behind, but I’ve still got about 500 (?) kilometers left. The biggest challenge now is the cold. Or the wind? Hmmm. Anyways as long as I keep on moving my feet won’t get cold 🤞
Vransko jezero & the coast
It’s amazing how well I’ve been treated. Can’t get used to it. I don’t need much, but a roof above my head when the wind gets too strong can make me superhappy. I had people driving up to a mountainhut to open it just for me, people that let me sleep in a caravan, people that offered me a room, an appartement or simply gave the keys of their weekend house. So many people invited me for coffee, lunch, dinner, treated me to a nice cold beer or a warm bowl of soup, gave me fresh food, homemade food, chocolate, cookies, candies, bread, nuts. I’ve been spoiled with warmth, good and kindness.
Got about ten more days to go, but I’m already feeling nostalgic. Perhaps it’s the time of the year, the end of the year when people start to reflect. Or it’s just because the end of the trail is near. The end of my Via Dinarica adventure. Anyhow, I’m dry and warm for tonight thanks two a sweet old man and his sweet old caravan.
The island of Pag & Rab
With another Bura coming I got a room for the night. Told myself it’s safer to sleep inside, but the truth is I desperately wanted to wash my hair 🙄
Bura and boats
Bura, Jugo, Bura, Jugo, Bura and there’s the Jugo again. Jugo brings clouds and rain from Italy, Bura blows it – with a good dose of freezing cold air – all away. In between it’s calm. So serene. Although I’m constantly checking the weather, it’s not bad at all. It’s exactly what I wished the winter to be like. Fresh air, clear skies and a whole lot of quietness. The only problem are the ferries. They don’t when it’s windy. On Pag I had to hike all the way back and make a detour via the mainland. Here on Rab it seems to be the same story. I decided to wait one more day, hoping the catamaran to Rijeka will show up tomorrow 🤞
Učka & Rijeka
From Rab I went directly to Rijeka and then to Matulji at the foot of Učka mountain. I decided that Rijeka would be the finish, but then my host in Matulji happened to live on the hiking trail to Vojak, Učka’s highest peak. A mountain on a plate 😉 Sooo, one more day to go! ✌️
Vojak, you’re the finish. Here my Via Dinarica journey ends.
In the past 2,5 year hiked the White, the Green & the Blue Trail. Plus detours and alternative routes. In between I went to Amsterdam to empty my appartment, walked from The Netherlands back to the Balkans. I lived a few months in Zagreb, spend a fair amount of time in Sarajevo where I went for day hikes, short weekend trips, longer weekend trips, I discovered snowshoeing, explored the city surroundings by bike and sort of tried to learn the language.
Although there’s still so much more to explore and I’m certainly not done with hiking, biking, climbing the Dinarides or the Balkans yet, I need a break from packing my bag every freaking day.
Soooo, good bye beautiful blue trail. Hello uhhh – next step?
Keep you posted! 😘
Sarajevo & Trebević
Sarajevo might be one the most polluted cities I’ve seen, it’s also one of the places I keep on coming back because it has something special. This time I’m not staying in town, but repacked my bag to survive one month in a mountain hut on Trebević. If the smog allows, I’ll wake up with probably the best view on this dirty, but beautiful concrete gem.
The great thing about Sarajevo is that in half an hour you’re in the mountains. If you’re taking the cable car it’s even faster, but I was not willing to pay, so we walked. And hitchhiked a little. A spontaneous microadventure with my sweet friend Sabina from Sarajevo. Had such a great day!
Mountain lodge Jure Franko
My friend Sabina told me about this new mountainhut on Trebević, Jure Franko and asked the owner if I could stay there. I could. Besides some photos I saw on Instagram I had no idea what to expect. When I opened the door I knew I found the right place.
Best Nine 2018
- Prokletije, Kosovo
- Biokovo NP, Croatia
- Velebit, Croatia
- Tara NP, Serbia
- Trebević, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Krka NP, Croatia
- Dinara peak, Croatia
- Medvednica, Croatia
- Tara NP, Serbia
FiveFingers & De Trek Barefoot
This year I’m sponsored by De Trek Barefoot, an barefoot minded outdoor store in Amsterdam and Hoorn, The Netherlands. Since I’m hiking on Vibram FiveFingers and Vivo Barefoot sandals for years now, De Trek Barefoot is a perfect match. Besides barefootstyle shoes De Trek Barefoot provided me with clothes and gear which means a lot. Thanks a lot for supporting me and my journey!
The 17th of February I’ll give a presentation (in The Netherlands) about long distance hiking on Vibram FiveFingers. It will be about the how’s and why’s of barefootstyle hiking just as much as it will be about my trekking through the Balkans itself. Keep you posted!
A big thanks to all the sweet people who treated me to a cup of coffee, it really really means the world to me. Not only am I welcomed almost everywhere I get with a good strong coffee, also people who read my blog frequently buy me a coffee. Because of all this generosity I’m able to do what I do, so THANKS. 💕