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.Continue Reading "Incredible Croatian Karst"
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…Continue Reading "Dinara, to climb or not to climb"
I’m afraid of dogs as long as I can remember. Most of the time they just bark, I know that, but they still scare me. At night, when I’m camping near a village,Continue Reading "Another “lud pas”"
“Don’t miss Prenj!” I certainly didn’t want to, so I stayed as long as the weather forecast let me. Four days, yeahh!Continue Reading "Prenj party"
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.Continue Reading "Planet Prenj"
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.Continue Reading "Lost on the Via Dinarica, short cut vs wild nature"
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!Continue Reading "WILD BALKANS: nature versus mankind, what do they teach me?"
Tjentište is a little town with a big big hotel. People are obviously not coming here for the city sights, although the architecture is remarkable. It’s Sutjeska which is attracting people and Tjentište happens to beContinue Reading "Thriving Tjentište"
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.Continue Reading "Magnificent Mountains of Montenegro"
In 2013 Via Dinarica started with their “Walking the Via Dinarica” project to explore the area, tracking the route and connect with people along the trail.Continue Reading "Into the Footsteps of ˝Team Via Dinarica˝"
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!Continue Reading "The GOOD, bad & ugly (people on the Via Dinarica)"
The Via Dinarica White Trail officially ends in Albania, in the highest part of the Dinaric mountains, but I decided to start there. Surrounded by pointy sharp peaks and deep, green valleys it had been challenging, but stunning. Although there are only three stages in Albania, it took me a week to get to the Montenegrin mountains.Continue Reading "Amazing Albanian Alps"
After the adventure with Drande the sweet shepherd lady from Vermosh, I gained an experience, but unfortunately I didn’t gain much knowledge about a route out of Albania. But I did notice, while looking out over the valley, that there might be another possibility. The valley kind of splits into two branches, of which I only examined one. I hoped if I would follow the river, I would find a path to Rikavačko Jezero, a lake that a local from the valley mentioned earlier. From there I would be able to venture further into Montenegro.Continue Reading "Rikavačko Paradise "
Be aware that although the title of this story has the word running in it, it is just as much about my innertrail as it is about running.Continue Reading "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running"
A few weeks ago while I was still in Amsterdam, I saw a post on the Terra Dinarica Facebook page about a guesthouse named Vukov Konak. They were looking for volunteers to help them during the summer season. Of course my plan was (and still is) to hike the White Trail, but I couldn’t help clicking and scrolling down Vukov Konaks page.Continue Reading "Hiking on the Green Trail to Vukov Konak"
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…Continue Reading "Polako polako (that’s how you mark a new trail!)"
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.Continue Reading "Dragana"
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.Continue Reading "Princess of the Mountains"
While cycling up a tough mountain in Una National Park last summer, I came across a group of touring Bosnians. Just like any other passers-by, they wondered why on earth I was travelling on my own, by bike. It struck me that they didn’t ask why I chose to spend my holiday in Bosnia or the Balkans, but why I didn’t just take a car. Explaining my passion for cycling and solo travelling remains difficult, and perhaps it’s a cultural difference.Continue Reading "Sarajevo; a Concrete Gem Amidst Mighty Mountains"
After a night on an airplane, a transfer and another flight I arrived at Sarajevo airport mid morning. As forecasted it was a rainy day with low clouds so I did not see any mountains. Somewhat disappointed and tired from travelling I tried to figure out my next move, but before I could worry about where to go next I saw a girl with a sign reading: “ Eva Smeele Via Dinarica.” Smiling I went over and introduced myself.Continue Reading "Between Two Worlds"
To this day the Balkans and especially Bosnia Herzegovina is unknown territory for many outdoor people. It remains a blind spot within Europe and the outdoor community. It is still associated with war and poverty instead of the beautiful, wild and untamed nature and mountains. I cannot deny the scars of the past are still well visible in some areas. You will surely see houses in ruins, abandoned villages and warning signs for landmines, but the Balkans nowadays are anything but a bleak and unsafe place to be. I have always experienced exactly the opposite.Continue Reading "Via Dinarica, an inspired trail through the Dinaric Alps"
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.
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…Continue Reading "Balkan mini Roadtrip: Cetinje – Durmitor – Sarajevo"