Day 20: 08/04/19
Location: Blagaj, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Miles Driven: 0
Rain, cards, more welcome drinks, more rain.
Day 21: 09/04/19
Location: Mostar (AM) Konjic (PM), Bosnia & Herzegovina
Miles Driven: 62
Despite the rain, we had enjoyed our day of rest and were ready to get back on the road again. We drove to the city of Mostar – a slightly bizarre collaboration of shelled and bullet-hole-ridden buildings alongside picture perfect tourist landmarks and the tat stalls that come with them. It felt almost rude to take photos of the many buildings that had not been touched since the war, but at the same time, it also felt rude not to acknowledge this important part of their history. Mostar is mostly famous for its bridge (‘Most‘ means bridge) which was destroyed during the war in 1993 and rebuilt in 2004. We wrote postcards by the bridge and listened to snippets from different tour guides as they passed us. After a couple of hours in the city, we left to find somewhere to camp for the night.
Day 22: 10/04/19
Location: Konjic – not quite Lukomir – Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Miles Driven: 60
Having camped part way along the road to Lukomir (Bosnia’s highest and most isolated village), we found a short line in our Lonely Planet guide book saying that there are organised tours to Lukomir during the summer. Excited to be able to drive there when it wouldn’t be full of coach-loads of tourists, we made our way along the road, getting higher and higher as we went. Driving through a small village, around a muddy corner, the wheels span and we were stuck – catapulting mud onto a farmer’s fence who luckily was not in sight (yet). Chris, determined that I just need more practice, refused to swap places into the driver’s seat: “a bit more revs, no that’s too much, no more than that, not that much“. When driving in lower than 1st gear, on a sloped corner made purely of mud, there is an exceptionally fine line between driving yourself out, and digging yourself deeper into the mud. After stalling four times I gave up trying to find the line, and moved myself into the back seat telling Chris “you bloody well do it then” – of course he did it first time. Just in time too, because as he pulled off, a local popped his head round the corner, probably looking at the mud pile that used to be his road and field.
Our next obstacle was slightly more problematic. Now a passenger, I got out the guidebook and started to have a read. Not noticing what was ahead, I looked up, wondering why we were suddenly sliding sideways instead of going forwards – we had hit snow. We slid our way through the first snow drift, and then came to a bigger, deeper drift. Abandoning Natalie, we walked for a few minutes to see how deep it got and how far it went on for: in sum, it was too deep and went on for too long for us to risk driving through it. We admitted defeat. There is clearly a reason why the tours only operate in summer. We had to turn back.
Day 24: 12/04/19
Location: Gornja Jagodina, Bosnia & Herzegovina (AM), Majdan, Serbia (PM)
Miles Driven: 159
It was time to leave Bosnia & Herzegovina. Due to the time of year and the mountains, most of our time there had been cold and wet – ‘April Showers’ being a perfect description of the weather. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful little country to visit. Everyone had been really friendly, the mountains offered great views and scenery, and it had been so interesting to see that even now, more than 20 years later, the country is still in recovery from a brutal war.
After hearing that it could be a lengthy border crossing into Serbia, we left fairly early. We need not have bothered though, as once they had checked our passport photos (on the wrong page) we were waved through. As we got to our intended wild camping spot for the night, it started to snow. It was nearly midday, 2 degrees and snowing. One freezing cold night on this trip has been more than enough, so we spent the day driving to lower ground and searching for a hidden, warm, wild camping spot – off the beaten track enough that we would not be seen by all of Serbia, but not so much that we ran the risk of accidentally becoming a statistic for the injuries caused by undiscovered land mines.