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.

Continue Reading "Did it! Amsterdam – Sarajevo, (almost) 4000 kilometers on foot"

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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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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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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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.

Although the hiking paths between well-known areas like Dinara, Paklenica, Velebit and Risnjak are often overgrown or don’t exist at all, it has been wonderful to hike and experience this part of the White Trail. To be able to enjoy it the best I could, I choose to walk it my way.

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