We can’t pronounce it, but last week we won camping in Bosnia’s Blidinje nature park. After climbing around the Olympic ruins in Sarajevo, we wanted to get in a night of free accommodation before heading on to Mostar. I quickly checked the route on the map and saw a big splodge of green with a lake in the middle. Mook has an inexplicable Man Dream to camp next to picturesque lake, where he can wrestle trout out with his bare hands and then grill them over a bonfire, so I figured this was a nice place to give it a go.
We drove ages through the park past tiny, tiny towns that looked lost in time. Just when I thought that, according to the map, we should be getting to the lake, instead the road changed from asphalt to gravel and dirt, and started to climb higher. WTF. We drove down this weird road for about 15 or 20 minutes, zigzagging through the mountains, and the only other people we saw were oddly enough a bunch of Germans from Stuttgart. Finally, after wondering if we should turn back or just camp on the stupid gravel path, the road suddenly paved itself again and the mountains opened up into the most amazing valley I’ve ever seen.
It was flat, wide and silent. It felt like driving into another world; the lush, green and hilly landscape of the other side of the park was so different to this barren terrain. There was nothing but yellow grasses dotted with small conifers, and through the soil the most amazing white rock jutted out–giving the landscape an even more alien look. There were some hotels and small farms here and there, but they were placed far away from the main roads and looked empty. A few vehicles occasionally rumbled past, but aside from the whipping wind it felt like we were the only ones for miles around.
First we tried the lake, but it was too windy. No trout wrestling that day.
We drove through an empty village to try and get to the other side of the lake, but the grass was high and we didn’t want to risk Jagger’s fragile belly on the rocks hidden below. Finally we decided to take a small path through a field, and after a few bends we found ourselves in the most amazing place. I don’t want to sound like some kind of camping nut after that other post, but really, this place was amaaaaazing. It had an expertly-built fire pit ready for us, shelter from the wind, loads of firewood, and amazing “archeological features”. We had a great evening perfecting our fire skills, roasting spicy sausages, and enjoying local beer.
There were two neglected fields nearby and the land is probably used for grazing goat and sheep, but if you don’t mind that and you want to camp in somewhere that feels like a cross between Scotland and the moon, we highly recommend heading for the southwest corner of Blidinje Lake!