BLOG | The Island of Pag, Rab and Učka Nature Park

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 actually 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. I learned that my tent can’t do wind, but even that’s okay. Just have to be a bit more strategic and opt for a room when there’s no other way out. Now I’m this close to Učka Nature Park, I will give everything I have to cross the finish line. Or in this case the finish top.

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Krka National Park with Krka river, Croatia

One more mountain to go. One more mountain before the trail would turn flat and take me to Krka National Park, Vransko jezero and eventually back to the coast. Bittersweet. I love those mountains, don’t want them to end. At the same time it’s getting harder and harder, colder and most of all, windier. But okay, that’s the season. I will give my best. And if my best isn’t good enough, I will come back another time.

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BLOG | Mostar, Omiška Dinara and Mosor mountain

On Biokovo it suddenly got cold. Cold, but still sunny. “Little Bura is coming” someone said. Bura, wind from the North can be tricky so I decided to go to Mostar to pick up warm clothes and new shoes before heading on to Omiška Dinara. Smart move, because on my way down my sandals ánd my FiveFingers fell apart. Even without Bura it would have been impossible to continue. Time to dust of those thumbs and get myself a ride to town.

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BLOG | BIOKOVO Hiking Trail, Sveti Ilija from the other side

There are moments I feel proud and thankful at the same time. Proud of where I am. Thankful that I can be where I am. The Via Dinarica website writes that the Blue Trail after the Baćinska lakes, the most southern part of the Biokovo Hiking Trail, is neglected and therefor not hikable. I had to walk the Jadranska magistrala, the main coastal road. Not my first choice, so I decided to be stubborn and check out the state of the hiking trail. Turned out that I would get to experience one of my favorite Via Dinarica moments on exactly this part of the trail. On an insignificant peak of an insignificant mountain. Insignificant, but indescribably magical.

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It’s all about the mindset, but how to set your mind when you’re hiking the last leg of a trail which is still 900 kilometers? It’s not like I’m almost done, while at the same time it’s the last part. Also, the word mindset implies that I’m in control of my mind. I whish. Or maybe not? In reality my mind is influenced by how I feel just as much as the other way around. My solution: try not to think too much, just hike. And so I did.

Continue Reading "The area of Dubrovnik, island Mljet and Pelješac peninsula"

When I camp in front of a church I usually feel comfortable. It can go two ways. The positive scenario is that being around people, near a village for example, gives me the idea to be protected. The other scenario is that people with bad intentions know where to find me. You never know for sure in which scenario you’ll end up in, but I kind of learned to trust my gut feeling. And that got me pretty far.

Continue Reading "Gut feeling, being lucky and the sea"

From Vrbanj I went down to the sea. To Herceg Novi. With pain in my heart I skipped Subra’s amphitheatre. Too much wind. A warm wind, but still too windy to go for an exposed klettersteig-hike-climb. At mountainhut Vratlo I was in doubt, maybe I could try to go from there. But no, that wouldn’t be the same. I mean, I could hike to the peak of Subra, but I would still miss the spectacular climb and that’s what this stage is all about. This will be another place I sooner or later come back to.

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Primorska Planinarska Transverzala Montenegro

I’m not much of a mile-maker, but last few weeks I’ve been walking in circles, exploring, climbing, bouldering, jeep touring and most of all: I’ve been chilling so much that I’m up for some real long distance hiking again. I want to get back to my hiking rhythm. EAT SLEEP HIKE REPEAT. Also, if I want to finish all Via Dinarica trails this year, I’d better get on moving, because days are rapidly getting shorter.

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Shkodër, Albania

Lately I’ve been reading trail reports of some of this years Via Dinarica hikers. Megan and Brittanie for example. I love to read about their experiences, how they hike it, how they like it – or not – and how they write about it. Both these girls write about how they feel just as much as they write about the trail itself. That’s what I like and probably what I’m trying to do myself. I’m struggling with finding words in English though. My vocabulary is too small to express myself the way I do in Dutch. Therefore trail reports in English are a great way to learn.

Continue Reading "DAY 123: About making miles and killing kilometers"
Ohrid lake Kališta

The last night of our boulder trip we camped near Treskavec monastery, a brilliant place. Actually it was my last night, the rest of the crew stayed, but I felt ready to continue hiking. To be on my own again. From the monastery I followed an easy going hiking trail down to Prilep. I snapped tons of photos, stopped and stared more than I walked. In a way Pelagonija reminded me of Mojave desert, but without Joshua trees. And slightly smaller. Nevertheless, an impressive landscape.

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Dark thoughts, Macedonian mountains

The Macedonian Traverse is a hiking trail through the mountains of Western Macedonia. It runs from mountain hut Ljuboten to Crvena Voda or Ohrid if you don’t mind a roadhike at the end. Some see it as an extension of the Via Dinarica or promote it like that, but the Macedonian Traverse has an history of its own. In 1975 a bunch of Macedonian mountaineers set the trail as the “First Macedonian Traverse” or “Prva Makedonska Transverzala”. There’s a documentary of their undertaking where they (try to) hike the traverse in summer ánd winter.

Continue Reading "My Macedonian Traverse, a mountain pathway"
Hiking Titov Vrv

Shar mountain (Shara, Šar, Sharr, Sharri) has been on my list for years. Ever since I first read about the First Macedonian Transversal (Transferzala), a hiking trail that crosses the entire Shar mountain range, I had the wish to explore Shar mountain. I could try to describe what it looks like, but I suck at that. I don’t have the vocabulary and the words I make up probably won’t be much of a help. I’ll stick to sharing my personal experience and add a whole lot of photos to give you an impression. So here we go, here’s my “Exploring Shar Mountain Photo Story”.

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The Via Dinarica in Kosovo is an extension of the Via Dinarica White Trail that ends in Valbona, Albania. When I hiked the White Trail two years ago I had no idea about this Kosovo part, maybe it didn’t even exist yet. I don’t know. What I do know now is that it’s a super beautiful route that is definitely worth to include into your Via Dinarica journey.

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BEARS ON THE ROAD

Close to, or right underneath Rusolia mountain my eye caught two fluffy creatures. I held my breath. Oh my! Bears. I almost bumped into two bears. They were too busy playing with each other to notice me. Quickly I looked around to see where the mother was. Maybe one of them wás the mother, but they both looked small. Slowly I walked a bit backwards, started to talk and made some (not too disturbing) sounds. Nothing happened, they kept on playing.

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The Via Dinarica Green Trail in Serbia goes through the lower mountains north of the White Trail. Those lower mountains often look like hills, peaks aren’t as prominent as in Durmitor for example (or Prokletije!), but on the other hand the route often stays around the 1000 meter above sea level. In those “hills” there are many farms, villages and weekend houses, vikendica. Therefore the Green Trail in a way is much more alive.

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BLOG | Connecting the Dots, hiking in Tara National Park

Nobody said it would be easy, but I’m not looking for easy. I wanted to hike from Višegrad to Tara National Park, to the Serbian Via Dinarica Green Trail, Veliki Stolac, without making a detour on the road. Hiking beyond borders is one thing, hiking beyond overgrown border is another. My plan was to find a a route, a green line. I tried my best “connecting the dots”.

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I’m in my tent. Camping at a wonderful place next to a church in the middle of a forest. There are picnic tables, there’s water and a lot of grass. In two months there will be a guesthouse as well, but for now that building is an unfinished building. They’re working on it though. I met the guys in charge earlier, they gave me permission to put up my tent here.

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BLOG TRAILNOTES Via Dinarica Green Trail from Sarajevo to Višegrad

Jep, I’m hiking again. From Sarajevo I’m heading East on the Jahorina Trailrun Track, my version, or my interpretation of the Via Dinarica Green Trail. This June I’ll be hiking from Sarajevo to Višegrad. Those of you who  follow me on Facebook might have read these notes before, yes I’m a bit lazy. Nevertheless I hope this post is either helpful or inspiring for whoever’s thinking of hitting the trail.

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BLOG | Mud and Mist on the Jahorina Trailrun Track | Romanija mountain BOSNIA AND HERZEGONIA

In an optimistic summer-holiday-mood I got off the bus in Sarajevo. Okay, there were some thunderstorms on the road and okay, the weather forecast showed rain, rain and rain, but because of the super sunny summer weather in The Netherlands I simply couldn’t believe it would really get that bad. I had prepared myself for intense heat, packed a thick tube of sunscreen, but instead of a mercilessly fierce shining sun, I got mud and mist on the Jahorina trail run track.

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