We take it easy this morning and take our time saying our goodbyes to Roberto and wishing him the best for the rest of his long journey.
First chore of the day is to restock on food and fuel, so we hit the main road to Bugojno. It is pretty warm already, as the stray dog hanging around at the super market can attest.
There’s a little bar above the shop, so we decide to enjoy a cup of tea and biscuits for breakfast. After that it’s onwards to Gornji Vakuf where the gravel fun of the day starts off with a good long stretch of gravel highway again. A little rain shower seems to have passed by, saving us from the big dust clouds we suffered yesterday.
Soon we turn into the hills again. The roads used regularly for moving timber out of the woods are all relatively wide and in good condition. But deeper into the forest it narrows down quickly.
We take a little breather in a clearing in the woods, before continuing a trail that would take us further up the mountain.
The washed out gully on this trail is pretty deep in places. Deeper than it looks in the pictures. There’s a few big rocky steps as well. Sofie gets her rear wheel stuck on one of them, but with a little pull and a better run-up it all works out though. But she’s still cursing through the intercoms, especially when the trail narrows down further and turns into slippery mud. So I am a bit hesitant to tell her the trail is more and more turning away from the direction we should be going. There was a turnoff a few kilometers back that we probably should have taken. We need to turn back and do the entire section again, but downhill. I know there’s little she hates more than doing downhills on these gnarly roads. But she’s a tough cookie and a good sport, riding it like she owns it.
We end up at a deserted intersection with some benches and a water fountain.
There’s a few interesting looking trails leaving from the intersection.
But we decide to follow the one marked “Prokoško Jezero”. Sofie had done some research before we left and had written down in her journal that this could be an interesting glacier lake. Ideal timing for a pick nick as well. The road up is in pretty good condition again and we run into the first few people in a long while. First a shepherd guiding a nice big flock of sheep up towards the lake and than some loggers and their van.
Riding into the little village at the lake has something magical.
Riding to the village it was clear that a lot of commercial activities were in the process of being set up. B&Bs, bars, roads being repaired, 2 “eko” camp sites being built… People here are clearly working hard to attract tourists to this beautiful area. I wish them well, because eco-tourism is probably the best way to get the economy going again in the rural areas after the being set back so much by the civil war and the financial crisis.
We find a lovely pick-nick spot on the banks of the lake. Lunch today is some bread and dried sausages, with a Snickers bar for dessert.
The village is bustling with lumber jacks, shepherds and VWs. The VW is by far the most popular weapon of choice on Bosnian roads. About 1 in 4 cars is a Golf II and the older vans are quite popular as well.
The surroundings are very impressive.
After lunch we hang around a bit, taking in the views and having a look around. But the itch to start moving again is not easily ignored. We ride back the way we came towards the crossroads at the fountain and continue in the direction of Fojnica. As we would like to have enough time to explore Sarajevo today we decide against continuing on the mountain trails but cut towards one of the larger roads into the Bosnian capital.
With a wifi connection available on the camp site in Jajce, I had taken the opportunity to look up and note down some addresses of hotels near the historic town center of Sarajevo. The large boulevard through the financial district is very busy and slow going, but the GPS takes us to the first hotel without much problems. It turns out to be a winner. Hotel Hayat is only a 5 minute walk from the historical center and the Ferhadija. A large clean room with an equally nice bathroom and we get to park the bikes out of sight from the road and under surveillance of a security cam, for a reasonable 50EUR including the breakfast buffet.
We waste no time in turning the room into on explosion of drying clothes that we had just washed in the shower and sink.
The hotel is located in one of the Muslim districts of the city, as evidenced by the minaret of a cute little mosque just outside our window.
With all the washing and cleaning chores behind us, it is time to explore the city. Sarajevo is an interesting mix of cultures and the people, regardless of ethnicity, all are very friendly and open towards foreigners. Among themselves the story is a bit different. Life seems still to be very segregated, with people’s social life mainly confined to their own ethnic circle. The civil war is still far from forgotten.
But the buzz is amazing and there’s plenty of interesting sights.
While walking around on the square in the last photo, we spot the poster for Galleria 11/07/95, a photo exposition to commemorate the events in Srebrenica and Potočari. We decide to go and take a look. It turns out to be a chilling collection of almost life-sized photographs. Especially the Photos related to the role the UN and the EU countries played in the entire chain of events is rather confronting. One of the final photos shows world leaders at the post-war (re-)burial of the victims, sipping on drinks under the shade of party tents, chatting away and talking on their phones while the locals are mourning their beloved in the distance.
Once we’re back out on the street it takes a little while before we’ve gathered our wits again, so we wander around a little before starting to look for a place to eat.
We find a nice little restaurant that serves local specialties right next to a nicely lit mosque. The weather is really nice and we choose a table in the quiet restaurant courtyard. The waiter seems extremely nervous and is sweating like a horse, continuously apologizing for anything he can think of. But he’s friendly and very helpful. We are discussing all sorts of theories, ranging from “it’s probably his first day” to “maybe he’s a bit mentally challanged”. But it all becomes clear when a group of gentlemen in expensive suits enter, looking like they think very highly of themselves. They are accompanied by some men in black and white suits with earpieces and gun holsters on their trouser belts behind their backs.
We don’t let it get to us and continue to enjoy the Bosanska Lonac stew and Ćevapi. The choice of desert is made quickly with a lovely sweet Baklava and some tea.
After dinner we have another stroll around between all the little shops and bars. The locals are clearly getting ready for a nice evening out, but we’ve had a long day and return to our hotel.