BLOG | From Amsterdam to Sarajevo ON FOOT

From Amsterdam to Sarajevo on foot

The 24th of March I left Amsterdam to hike for a while. “Walking back to the Balkans”. Why? Because I can, because I like hiking. Because it’s slow, because it’s a perfect way to really see a country. To feel and experience. Because I feel good, being “on the road”. And because I thought it would be a good idea to (re)discover my own country, before heading off to the Balkans. So, I walked. I walked back. From Amsterdam to Sarajevo, on foot.

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For some reason I had the idea to pick up the Via Alpina in Feldkirch. Probably because I thought I would be hiking on the Suisse side of the Bodensee. I did, until Konstanz, where I took the ferry. That ferry brought me in 4 hours in Bregenz. It would have been more convenient to head towards Obertsdorf, but Feldkirch was still in my head, without giving it a second thought, I went to Feldkirch where I started hiking the Via Alpina in Austria.

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BLOG | Puzzeling my way through Germany: Facts & Stats

My way through Germany: 820 Kilometers, 3 rest days, 32 hiking days, 1 homestay, 7 gardencamps, 4 nights on a campsite and 1 on a climbers bivouac. The latter means: pay 3 euro for the tent and figure out yourself where to wash or how to do the dishes, oh and the toilet is that wooden hut in the forest. Blehh, spiders! As a result, all climbers gather in the restaurant for a beer and the restroom.

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A_walk_in_the_Woods_ardennen

After finishing the Pilgrim’s route through the Netherlands, I switched to the GR57, a long distance hiking trail through the Ardennes in Belgium. The Wallonian part of Belgium to be more precise. I had been in the Ardennes before. Many many times. And I even hiked several parts of this particular trail, but that doesn’t make the Ardennes boring. Not at all. 

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BLOG | A Pilgrimage Through The Netherlands

My pilgrimage through The Netherlands: 500 Kilometers, 4 non-hiking- and 23 hiking-days of which 3 were rainy. I crossed 4 provincies (5 if the I count the small part of Flanders in Belgium as well), took 4 ferries, had 5 friends coming over to join me for a day or two, 0 spiders in my tent, saw 2 deers (females), 1 squirrel and 5 lama’s. I slept 8 nights in a bed, paid a visit to 4 friends in Brabant and spend 2 nights at a strangers house.

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BiH_MNE_Maglić_Prijevor_bordercrossing

Last summer I walked a new long distance trail through the Balkans, the Via Dinarica White Trail. A route that finds its way along countless different mountain ranges, ridges, cliffs, canyons, valleys, rivers, lakes and prominent peaks in the Dinaric Alps, Europe’s largest karst field. Hiking Via Dinarica. A great hike, a beautiful journey and an unforgettable adventure.

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sightseeing_sarajevo_citytrip_bosnia_and_herzegovina

It’s the fifth time that I’m in Sarajevo. I’ve seen pretty much every season, from bloody, bloody hot to freeeezing cold, I only did not see any snow. Until two weeks ago. Caroline, a friend who came to visit me, saw it first. ˝I see something falling from the sky..˝ I got out of bed to check, but couldn’t really see anything. ˝Well, I think it’s the reflection of the light on the dirty windows.˝ The next morning everything was white. No dirty windows, (hmm well also dirty windows) Caroline was right. Snooooow in Sarajevo!

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winter_wonder_walk_vukov_konak_bosnia_herzegovina

What to do with Christmas and New Year Eve… Same question every year.. Well, since I’m not home or walking home for Christmas, I thought it would be best to escape the city and plan a little trip to the mountains. Apparently I’m not the only one who liked the idea of getting away, my oldest friend from Amsterdam, Caroline, flew to Sarajevo and accompanied me on this beautiful, but freezing cold winter holiday in the Bosnian mountains. The great thing about Sarajevo is that within thirty minutes you’re in a complete different world. Vukov Konak, a traditional Bosnian Mountain Inn, was the destination.

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GREEN KARST sLOVEnia's secrets | Hiking Via Dinarica White Trail

After I hiked more than 1200K through 4 different countries and added another 300K in Slovenia. The original Via Dinarica White Trail follows the Javorniki mountain range from Snežnik to Postojna. Although the forest up there is one of a kind, I decided to spend a bit more time in Slovenia, made a detour and set out an more ˝scenic route˝ through the beautiful Green Karst landscape. The last part of my Via Dinarica journey started in Ilirska Bistrica from where I headed back into the mountains, to Mašun, Sviščakih and Snežnik. I was blessed with fantastic weather. Cold, sunny and colorful. Autumn at its best.

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The Via Dinarica is a trail that is still in progress, only in Bosnia and Herzegovina the White Trail is officially open. In the other four countries the route is a combination of old existing trails that all together form a corridor through the Dinarides. With a distance of almost 600 kilometers, the Croatian section covers the largest part of the Via Dinarica. An absolutely beautiful stretch through the incredible Croatian karst mountains.

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Jeej, I got company! No, she is not really an hiker or outdoorsie type, but she is my oldest friend… Why is everybody asking? When are you a hiker? What is a real hiker? Are there any rules? Hmm, I think I actually don’t really care. After almost 900K of solo-hiking, my BFF Caroline joined me in Starigrad, super exiting. New company, new spirit, new challenges. New ADVENTURE. Paklenica, here we come!

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Zelena_glava_prenj_bih

Although nature does not know borders, borders are often formed by nature. Mountains, rivers and seas are natural borders between different regions, countries or continents. Within these borders, people seem to develop their own characteristic way of living full of local traditions and old customs. Along the Via Dinarica I crossed many borders. Some were natural, some were cultural and some were just lines on a map. Lines that create countries. It did surprise me that hiking through Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) felt so different from Montenegro. Different landscape, different mountain-rhythm, different weather and yes, different lives and lifestyles. I even got the impression that the way people express themselves differs from country to country.

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Montenegro or Crna Gora in Serbian. I have to confess that I didn’t know where the name comes from, I only know that it means ˝Black Mountain˝. I didn’t really see black mountains though. The mountains of Montenegro were green. Everything was green. Green valleys, green peaks, green forests, green fields… Green, green, green in all possible shades and shapes.

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BIKING TO THE BALKANS | Eva's Adventure Journal

I had two months off, two months to bike. What shall I do? Where shall I go? One thing I knew for sure, I wouldn’t follow rivers, this time. Neither would I be heading towards a sea… I’ve always wanted to go to Istanbul, but I never succeeded. Would I, could I this time? From Amsterdam to Istanbul, biking the highest route through the mountains. In two months… UP&down, UP&down. The game was on, just like the sun. Bikini biking. Bikram biking. UP&down, UP&down. Biking the HIGH route from Amsterdam to Istanbul the Balkans.

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August 2015, One week with two friends in the Balkans. After being on the bike for almost seven weeks, I managed to meet two friends in Cetinje, Montenegro. If my bike and its wheels, all the packs and I would fit in the car, I could join them on their roadtrip to Sarajevo. If not, I had ten days to get myself back to Amsterdam…

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It’s Friday afternoon, I’m waiting for a good friend who’s visiting me in Ljubljana for the weekend. A short break from biking to visit the city and the surroundings. I’m excited, impatient and a bit nervous. This summer holiday has been a strange mixture of biking, hiking, city and road tripping. A combination of solo-traveling and unexpected encounters with friends. It requires some dedicated planning which is quite a challenge for me as a ‘logistics-fearing&avoiding-adventurer’… But when trekking and camping becomes a new routine, it’s good to have a friend in a beautiful dress with a roller case to pull you out that comfort-zone and drag you along in her adventure.

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Sustenhorn_Switserland_Alps_Mountaineering

Summer 2014, I decided to give climbing another chance. Don’t get me wrong, I looooove climbing and I looooove mountains and I even looooove climbing mountains, but there is an undeniable downside. The danger. For I while I thought I was not brave enough and not skilled enough. Perhaps both are true, but I think it’s not just about that. We talk about MOUNTAINS and nature here! I couldn’t help thinking “who am I to climb these giants?” So many people take such big risks just to get to a top. But hey, it’s not the mountain you conquer, but yourself… – Edmund Hillary

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Fanes Sennes Braies

Although I would love to hike the complete Alta Via Dolomiti, I knew that I could never convince my friend to join me on a trip like that. Every year we plan a little trip together. Do something memorable. 4 hours, 4 days or 2 weeks, it doesn’t matter. We know each other since we are four or five years old, it’s a beautiful thing to have a history with someone that goes back that far. Even more beautiful when it’s a history full of adventure. We are dreaming of spending the winter on Gran Canaria for ages (and it probably will be), but we can still do that when we are old. So this year it would be a trekking through the mountains, the Italian Dolomites! Hiking the Alta Via Dolomiti. The first trekking together and Caroline’s first trekking ever… Let the adventure begin!!

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Budapest_citytrip

July 2012, Meeting ˝Miss Adventure is my Middlename˝ in Budapest!

Already on my way back from the Black Sea, miss “Adventure is my middle name” decided to pay me visit and bought a last minute ticket to Budapest. Due to her superb planning and organizational skills, we managed to explore the city ánd its surroundings in only three days time. Spending time city-tripping with a close friend was a welcome change after being on the road for almost four months. Spending time with a close friend who’s always up for an adventure was absolutely the best present I could get!

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BLACK SEA BIKING ADVENTURE | Biking to the Black Sea and Back Home

I was dreaming of an adventure. A big adventure. A biking adventure. A bike across Europe to the Black Sea biking adventure… The months before my departure were filled with working, preparing, packing and more working. I saved every penny, hoping that it would buy me enough time. Time I could spend traveling, being on the road, having my adventure.

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cycling green route mediterranean sea

Staying in the mountains means getting the best out of life and being there always puts a grin on my face. The mountains make me feel calm and at ease, whether I’m hiking, cycling, climbing or mountaineering. I love being surrounded by these natural giants. I respect them; they make me feel grateful and insignificant. My physical and mental power, stamina and drive are tested.

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