It is nice not having to pack up our tent and sleeping gear today, especially since we get a nice breakfast on top of it. Over breakfast the TV news announces that yet another 120 bodies have been identified in Srebrenica, almost 20 years after the fact.
The local Muezzin’s loud speakers next to our window and the church bells a bit further down the road meant we’re up early again, but that also means we were fully packed even before we went down for breakfast. It is not even 8 AM when we’re all ready to get going again.
The plans we’ve made for today are ambitious, but we’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. First on the menu is a visit to the Olympic bob sled track, followed by a ride along the old war road towards the ski jump Olympic stage, a small detour via the medieval town of Lukomir up in the mountains and hopefully pitch our tent somewhere around Orlovačko jezero a.k.a. “lake Africa”.
It takes a while before we find the correct road out of the city center towards the mountain where the ’84 Olympics bob sled track was built. We are treated to some nice views on the city though.
The bob sled track itself is quite easy to find, but it can hardly be called a busy tourist attraction. The place is entirely deserted, giving the run down concrete construction covered entirely in graffiti an eerie beauty.
We explore the site and are again struck by how quickly nature takes over again when places like this are deserted.
To get to where we wanted to go meant retracing our route and crossing Sarajevo and emerging on the other side, near the airport. Before leaving the city we fuel up and stock up on some food for lunch but before long we’re on the old war road up into the mountains.
It is hard to imagine that this small gravel road was for a long time the only means of getting supplies into the city under siege. That is, you could get them near the city, but you’d still have to haul everything through the tunnels underneath the airport and then survive “sniper alley”.
So far, on this trip we were lucky with the weather. And even in the morning, up at the bob sled track, the skies were clear blue. But by the time we arrived at Igman mountain where the ski jump is located skies are overcast. The place looks like it has undergone a serious renovation and is actively being used again for winter sports.
The bullet holes in the execution wall… err I mean, the Olympic stage, have been filled up and given a lick of paint.
The place must have been a lot more fun when people where still cheering their sports heroes.
A nice bloke who was enjoying the tranquility of the place before we arrived kindly offered to take our picture. But I think he was still glad to see us leave him to his musings again.
By the time we leave the Olympic site on Igman mountain rain clouds are moving in. When we pass this cemetery it is time to put on the rain gear.
We follow the paved road from the ski jump a little further into the mountains, but turn into a gravel road towards Lukomir when we reach the slopes of mount Bjelašnic. According to our travel guide Lukomir is the highest and most remote permanently inhabited village in Bosnia, dating back to the middle ages. The trail we chose doesn’t look like it is used very often, being covered in cobbles in places and potholes in others. But the views are magnificent. And so far the rain is restricted to a light drizzle in places.
Riding into Lukomir though the dark rain clouds have caught up with us.
The village only has a handful of small houses built from rock and wood and about as many VWs. But there’s also 1 little bar and we waste no time in seeking shelter there from the incoming weather.
The place is cosy and all the nicknacks and tools lying around remind me of my grandmother’s place from when I was young.
We’ll become stuck here for the next 2 hours while a massive mountain thunderstorm passes over. At least we’re warm and dry in here. The bar owner is called Mina and she takes very good care of us, lighting the wood burner as soon as we sit down. She only speaks the local Serbo-Croation dialect, but with our (rather limited) knowledge of Russian we manage to understand each other.
Mina serves us some fragrant tea, made from locally collected herbs and flowers, accompanied with a big plate of Priganice with cheese and honey. The little fried fritters are served pretty much all over ex-Yugoslavia and they also make for a very nice all-day breakfast.
New tea is already harvested and being dried.
Despite the warm welcome we received, we’re getting itchy to move on around 3PM, as nice as it is here we can’t stay forever. When we start collecting our gear Mina indicates we should wait a little longer, half an hour tops, then it would clear out again. She obviously knows how weather works around here because only 20 minutes later the rain eases off and another 10 minutes later the sun starts peeping through the clouds again. That’s our cue!
The road down the mountain is even more impressive than the one coming up.
Waiting out the rain at Mina’s gave us ample time to realize we would not be making it to Orlovačko lake today. A quick look at the Openstreetmap POIs in the GPS taught us there should be some camp sites a little south of Konjic, near Boračko lake. It looked like as good a place as any to look for a place to spend the night.
With a bit of searching we end up at camp site Eko Selo. A nice camp site that is still partially under construction. The reception is more than cordial and before we can even walk back to our bikes somehow 2 large beers are pushed in our hands. That can only mean one thing: it’s beer o’clock.
With the weather of today and being so close to the lake the ground is quite soggy. And the camp site has these little wooden ‘katun’ houses available for a fairly reasonable 35KM (17EUR). Brand spanking new, well insulated, comfy mattresses and with a delightful scent of fresh wood. We’re sold!
1HP checking out what 58HP smells like.
The roof of the restaurant may not be fully completed yet, but the cook does not seem to be bothered at all. He serves us some very tasty fish, fresh from the lake.