another-year

I’ve been a bit quiet the last few weeks. No new stories and no updates. I divide my time between Sarajevo and Zagreb. Between writing and hiking. Travel up and down, pay a visit to the mountains every now and then and meet lots of old and new friends. But what am I up to? I, most of the time, don’t even know myself… All I know is that and don’t want to go back yet…

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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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hiking_via_dinarica_croatia_balkans_white_trail

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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painted-by-marit-dik

“I’m free, I think. I shut my eyes and think hard and deep about how free I am, but I can’t really understand what it means. All I know is that I’m totally alone. All alone in an unfamiliar place, like some solitary explorer who’s lost his compass and his map. Is this what it means to be free? I don’t know, and I gave up thinking about it. – Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.

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Dinara, to climb or not to climb?

I had a plan, I had maps, descriptions from other hikers and of course my GPS. It didn’t seem difficult to go to the top of Dinara, just a long “climb”. I had enough time, more than enough water and a plan that gave me the opportunity to spend an extra day on the mountain. Mountain Dinara. The only problem was that I was tired…

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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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Hiking_Via_Dinarica_White_Trail_BiH_Prenj_Bosnia_Herzegovina

“Bare in mind that you have still some challenging sections, particularly the descend from Prenj.” That was not the first time someone warned me for this part. Of course this became a big thing in my head. How difficult would it be? What if I can’t make it? What if I loose the trail again?

I felt nervous. It really took some time before I could enjoy the hiking.

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Planet_Prenj_view

Prenj is absolutely one of my favorites along the Via Dinarica White Trail. Not just because of its ridiculously beautiful vistas and views, mostly because Prenj was a place where I had a good dose of fun. With two guys from Tuzla who I met on Boračko campsite, I hiked from Boračko Jezero up to the mountain hut Jezerce. A great new hut on a fantastic location. Perfect place to spend the night. Or two. I really enjoyed the company of the Tuzla-boyz and the weather was extremely good. There was not really a reason to rush on, so I decided to join them on a day-hike to Zelena Glava and stay an extra night at PD Jezerce before I went further on my own.

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