BLOG | Hiking Via Dinarica White Trail 2016

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. After one month preparing and acclimatizing in the Balkans, I started my hike in the lovely Valbona River Valley. Officially Albania is the last section of the…Continue Reading “Hiking Via Dinarica, crossing the Balkans on foot”

BLOG | Slovenia's Secrets

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…Continue Reading “Slovenia’s Secrets”

BLOG | Dormouse for dinner

“Eva, do you want to come to the Polhanje tonight?” Uhhh, for a second I’m confused. Polh, is that the same animal as a puh, a dormouse? “Yes, it is. It’s very important here, we have a tradition of polh hunting.” Is this real, I wonder. Is there really a special polh hunting night, an evening or a whole weekend to celebrate this tradition? In that case, sure I will come! At 7PM it’s completely dark and freezing cold. Literary, it’s October and the temperature drops below…Continue Reading “Dormouse for dinner”

BLOG | Incredible Croatian Karst

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 kilometres, the Croatian section covers the largest part of the Via Dinarica. An absolutely beautiful stretch through the incredible Croatian karst mountains. Incredible Croatian Karst Although the hiking paths between well-known areas like Dinara,…Continue Reading “Incredible Croatian Karst”

BLOG | The third option

“I’m on my way to Slovenia. Hitchhiking the last bit, it’s raining cats and dogs.” Jep, I’m cheating. Either I had to walk 80km in two days (in the rain) or I had to tell my contact in Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia, that I would arrive a few days later. I don’t like to be late and I don’t like to let people wait for me. But most of all, I don’t like to walk in the pouring rain. All day long. Day in, day out….Continue Reading “Cheating”

BLOG | I just saw a bear

My mind is somewhere else, I’m daydreaming, not thinking of anything at all. An easy hike on a forest road and then suddenly there is something brown, something big coming out of the bushes. O o. It steps right in front of me on my path. Ten meters away. I freeze. Is it a wild boar? A deer? NO a bear! Aaahh, a bear! He hasn’t seen me. What to do? Don’t panic, but before I can think of what to do I turn around…Continue Reading “Whaaah, I just saw a bear!”

BLOG | Another day on the road

Velika Kapela. This part is something special. You’re just a little ride away from the coast and even closer to the mountains. In between there are hills, forests and small villages. The wind blows and the sun is shining. Leaves are falling from the trees and the days are getting shorter. People work on the land or in the wood-industry. Nothing reminds you of the coast tourism, except the views on the sea. Last night a lady in Pod Bilo prepared a bed for me…Continue Reading “Velika Kapela, another day on the road”

BLOG | Round and Round (Krivi Put)

Avoiding the bad parts of the trail sounded like an easy way out. Cheating maybe. Skip the “not ready to hike yet” sections and continue with the nice parts. But what if it’s impossible to get to the trail-head of the nice parts? The cars don’t stop, the buses don’t bring you where you want to be, don’t go where you want to go, or don’t go at all? Well, then you’re driving around in circles. Round and round until you decide to give up….Continue Reading “Round and Round”

BLOG | I hike because I can

Why I hike? Because I can. I hike because decided I could. I, at least could give it a go. Try. The simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other. Slow pace. Strong nature. Little me. This trail, these mountains, the Balkans and yes, the actual hiking are ingredients. And tools. They get me somewhere, bring me something. I hike because I can.

BLOG | HikeVibes

“No way! That can’t be.” There was a couple hiking towards me that looked exactly like Sean and Lois. “Ohhh, it would be great to see them again” and I thought of the last time I saw them in Jablanica. I was full of adrenaline of the whole Rakitnica rescue circus and they got food poisoned which unfortunately ruined our Prenj plans. They said they wanted to go back to Velebit, but could it really be? “No way, that can’t be.” “Eva!!” The couple waved!…Continue Reading “HikeVibes! “

BLOG | Ivine Vodice​​

“What is Ivine Vodice like?” “Well, it is not as beautiful as this place”, the guy said while pointing at planinarsko sklonište Struge. “Let’s say it is dirty, really dirty. But you’ll survive.” “Great.” I looked at Caroline and saw a worried look in her eyes. Struge is a great place, but beautiful is a big word. “There are puh inside”, he continued. “And the water is bad…” I wished I never asked him about it.. “Ok, we’ll see”, but I knew that the chance…Continue Reading “Ivine Vodice​​”

BLOG | Bloody Bura

I’m almost back in track. After a week not hiking, just hitchhiking, I looked forward to go up into the mountains again. “But it will rain on Monday.” “I don’t care, rain is not my worst enemy. I’m from The Netherlands..” That the rain was part of the Bura, they didn’t mention. Bura is an extremely strong wind that’s typical for the coastal area. And Velebit. Damn it! Dark clouds cover the peaks, exactly the same strange topping shape like I saw at Crnopac. A…Continue Reading “Bloody Bura”

BLOG | 4 Days Hiking in Paklenica National Park

Jeej, I got company! No, she is not really an hiker or outdoorsy 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! More stories

BLOG | Mali Princ

I’m in Velebit in a sweet little shelter on a fantastic spot with white rocks pointing out of the forest all around me. Wooden wildlife keeps me company. Other than that, I’m all alone. The wind blows wildly through the trees and the clouds change their shapes every minute. Alone in the mountains. In a cosy wooden shelter where I feel comfortable. Where I feel at home. Time stopped. It’s just me and my thoughts that bring me back to the things that are familiar….Continue Reading “Mali Princ”

BLOG | What I talk about when I talk about hiking

“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. Haruki Murakami, I can read quotes from his books all…Continue Reading “What I talk about when I talk about Hiking”

BLOG | Dinara

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. Although I slept in a nice bed in Vila Cetina, I didn’t get enough sleep. Actually I didn’t get enough…Continue Reading “Dinara”

BLOG | Beautifully WILD Bosnia and Herzegovina

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…Continue Reading “Beautifully WILD Bosnia and Herzegovina”

BLOG | Another lud pas

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, it’s not the wolves or bears who keep me from sleeping, but annoying crazy dogs. In Umoljani, scary dogs own that place at night. They don’t tolerate strangers, especially not when they’re camping in a little green tent. The second night there was a disaster, one dog started to attack my tent…Continue Reading “Another lud pas”

BLOG | Hello Blidinje

Two months ago the opening of the White Trail was here in Blidinje nature park. And one year ago I was here as well, on my bike. It’s one of my favorite places. The immense valley with mountains on both sides and a lake in the middle, kind of stole my heart. I have to admit that most of my favorite places have more to do with memories than with the scenery. Although Blidinje is beautiful, for others it might be just a valley. For me…Continue Reading “Hello Blidinje”

BLOG | Descend from Prenj

“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. From Milanova Koliba I at first ignored the markers pointing down without a signpost. Although they were…Continue Reading “Descend from Prenj”

BLOG | Prenj Party

“Don’t miss Prenj!” I certainly didn’t want to, so I stayed as long as the weather forecast let me. Four days, yeahh! Blue blue skies and white white rocks. Wide views and mountain bikers? Haha, yes indeed. I met a friend from Mostar who cycled up from Ruište to Zelena Glava. “Is there a girl from Amsterdam here?” Đani! We knew that there was a possibility that we would run in to each other, but that we actually met on the top of Zelena Glava…Continue Reading “Prenj party”

BLOG | Planet Prenj

Prenj is absolutely one of my favourites 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…Continue Reading “Planet Prenj”

BLOG | Back in Buna

I love to go back to places where I’ve already been. Mostly to visit people. Like Gaga in Buna who I met a year ago during my cycling trip from Amsterdam to Cetinje. His lovely campsite at the Buna river and his optimistic way of looking at things, his stories and jokes, made me revisit the cute little town close to Mostar. “I have no idea when, but probably somewhere in July”, I told him. “I’ll be in Mostar tomorrow” was the next message. “Change of…Continue Reading “Back in Buna”

BLOG | Lost on the Via Dinarica

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. First of all, I have to say that I realize that knowing that everything turned out fine, might influence the way I feel and write now. I also realize that I scared some people and…Continue Reading “Lost on the Via Dinarica”