Off-roading in no-man’s-land: Ethnovillages and mountains in Bosnia-Herzegovina

It was the height of summer, and what started as a fairly straight forward, mountain drive soon descended into a terrifying and seemingly endless trail of large stones, deep holes and unsettling, mechanical noises.

Our choice of road trip have always been questionable and foolhardy, and this year was no different.

Poor infrastructure and explosives left over from the 90s conflict making for hazardous driving condition in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and our impromptu trip to Lukomir and mountains of Prijevor and Zelengora, took us down some ‘back roads’ to say the least.

On our drive, we saw horses roaming freely over the seemingly untouched rolling green hills, and arriving over an hour, but only 20km later, we were able to settle down in the beatufiul ethnovillage of Lukomir and get a local lunch of salted doughnuts and fresh goat’s cheese, the peace of our surroundings only broken by cowbells and the herding of sheep and goats.

Walking through the improvised houses, Lukomir really feels like a friendly step back in time.

Leaving for our next stop, Bastasi, the outward trip was no kinder.

Intermittent hail and rain muddying the cratered roads, stringing the journey out for hours before we found tarmac and the roads which took us to Bastasi, in the south near the Montenegrin border.

From Bastasi we explored the nearby mountains, being thrown around on more winding, narrow paths that barely pass for roads.

We visited Purecica primeval forest, the last ‘jungle’ in Europe, took in the green plateaus of Sutjeska National park and the sights from a nearby observation tower as a thunderstorm rolled in over the mountains on the horizon.

The views were incredible and really put into perspective just how big and untouched a lot of Bosnia country is, and it was here our guide shared his knowledge about the local flora, finding elderflower and Mountain Germander, a natural painkiller.

We were treated to endless giant crickets, butterflies and more horses, before being welcomed to a home serving rakija (home brewed brandy) and straight-from-the-goat milk.

A homely experience, sat within a family farm as the locals spoke about politics and free speech.

An idyllic experience of life in one of Europe’s few wildernesses.

To read the full blog on our Bosnian adventure, click here.

Click here to see the of pictures from Tara Canyon, Konjic and Lukomir.

article and pictures by Tom McBeth

    

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