15 Mar Cycling through Bosnia and Herzegovina
The border crossing from Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina was quite easy: ride up to the border control booth on the Croatian side, pull out Passport, have Passport checked and get NO stamp.
Ride 100 more feet, ride up to the BiH border control booth, pull out Passport again, have Passport checked,… and still get NO stamp…what the heck? Even after asking about getting stamped, the border control officer didn’t think it was necessary. Oh well, what are we to do but keep going and start cycling into another country along our journey.
The plan is to make it near the Kravice waterfalls for the night, so we can enjoy the falls the following morning and then start heading toward Mostar.
Shortly after crossing the border, we notice quite a few more bullet riddled and destroyed houses left over from the conflict in the 90’s. Also, the amount of litter along the roadway has increased quite a bit. For some reason trash pick-up never seems to be a lucrative business in the poorer nations. Not that Bosnia is a very poor country; yet, the conflicts in the past and the crazy multi-layered (and supposedly corrupt) government have not been kind to the country’s economy: unemployment is high, income is low, food prices are high in comparison, and many people we meet are complaining about the situation.
Still, the overall scenery with its rocky hills and mountains is beautiful. After another long day of riding, we finally find an open campground…well, sort of open. We are the only guests on the site and the owner actually has to turn on the lights, electric, and water just for us. It hardly seems worth it for the small price we pay to stay the night.
In the morning, we get going quickly to head to the Kravice Falls. They are some of the biggest in the country but do not seem to have turned into a major tourist attraction, yet. Once there, we only meet a few locals checking out the falls. Some of them are not even there to see the falls, but to collect what looks like wild growing asparagus in the woods. Curious about what people are picking, we ask or better sign, what they are collecting, so somebody gave us a couple of chutes to try. The green little stalks didn’t really have much of a flavor, but people around here are looking for them everywhere.
After checking out the falls for most of the morning, we keep going on another 60 mile ride through the Bosnian country side, up and down hills, and along the river toward Blagaj.
In Blagaj, we reach another campsite, which we thought was open all year (at least that’s what the website said). The gate is open, but nobody is to be found. After knocking on the door of a neighbor’s house, who luckily speaks English, we get a hold of the campground owner. He comes out five minutes later, turns on all the amenities, collects his money, and leaves again.
Since our little friend, the Bura wind, still likes to hang out with us and we are the only ones at the campsite again, we set up our tent in the only spot the wind does not reach…right in front of the bathhouse…how convenient!
Traveling during low season can have its perks!
The following morning, we check out the Dervish house in Blagaj. Since there are hardly any people around, we couldn’t help but take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee while admiring the scenery, before heading to Mostar, where we are going to spend the next few days.