BLOG | How a relatively simple bus ride from Zagreb to Knin turned into a scandal

Although it’s very efficient to send your packages by bus instead of using the regular post service, travelling by bus can be challenging in Croatia. To avoid a long, complicated (maybe impossible) bus ride from Zagreb to Buško jezero, I decided to start hiking in Knin. I wanted to cross Dinara, Troglav and Kamešnica all the way through the mountains. The difficult logistics with public transport are more or less part of the adventure, but I would deal with that on my way back, I thought. That this relatively simple bus ride from Zagreb to Knin turned into a scandal is a sad, but unfortunately true story.

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Sunday I was supposed to meet some friends from Sarajevo at Boračko Jezero. Rewinding time! Instead I got wind up in thorny plants when I tried to take a short cut. Lost on the Via Dinarica. This is my story about what happened on the descent through the Rakitnica Canyon.

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wild tea

Many many wild plants were in my way. If I had known which I could eat, I perhaps would appreciate them more. I’m a city girl, but I’m getting more and more used to the wilderness. Still most of the time, the plants are in my way. Wilderness. Wild Balkans. Of course I also feel thankful that nature actually allows me here. When it’s wild and rough, completely overgrown it shows who is the boss. And that is absolutely not me!

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Two weeks on the trail surrounded by mountains, flowers, cattle and flies. I’m hiking on my own (da, sama). I carry everything I need in my backpack and I’m free to go where ever I feel like going. I try to stick to the white trail, but sometimes the weather, the conditions of the route or people on the Via Dinarica change my plans a bit… It’s a fantastic journey and there is much more to come!

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Two weeks ago I got an invitation to go to Sutjeska national park. I knew a part of the White trail was being marked again, but had no idea how that would be done. In the car on the way to Tjentište it turned out no one really knew what the idea was other than helping out with marking the trail. At the parkinglot of hotel Mladost a whole group of people gathered. No one knew exactly what they were supposed to do, but they were all very excited. And patiently waiting for instructions. Polako polako… 

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There are many reasons to write this story. It was a wonderful experience that I would like to share, not only by telling friends, but also in words written down. Maybe it’s me trying to show my gratitude, because I was overwhelmed by these warm, friendly people and I didn’t understand why I deserved that. Somehow I seem to end up in situations like this where it’s me leaving with a gift while I was the one in need of help.

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Dobro jutro! While kneeled down in front of my guest bed rummaging through my bag I suddenly feel two small arms around my shoulders and a small body pressed against my back. The eight-year-old girl whose room I’m sharing this week, has come to hug me good morning and disappears as suddenly as she came in.

When I’m left alone in the room after the hug, I feel my heart pounding, my stomach fluttering and my eyes water. Soon tears stream down my cheeks. A liquid smile through every fibre of my body. And at the same time pain, a subdued haze that I could call sadness. It is something that is hard to explain, but for me maybe the most valuable feeling there is. Experiencing extremes, let it wash over you, influence each other and reinforce. Connecting.

I’m staying at a young couple’s house in Sarajevo. For a few of days I am a part of their lives and they are a part of mine. At first their daughter looked at me with suspicion when she saw my bags next to her bed. A stranger speaking a different language and sleeping in her bed, she didn’t seem to know what to make of that.

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