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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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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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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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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.

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MAJA JEZERCË | Hiking Via Dinarica White Trail

The Via Dinarica White Trail finds its way through the mountains of the Dinaric Alps. It crosses the highest peaks of every country and Maja Jezercë in Albania is the last in row. I walk the other way around and started in Valbona. Maja Jezercë would be my first peak to climb. It’s a quite demanding one, especially the south-east approach. This time of the year there is still a lot of snow and the weather is kind of unpredictable.

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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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