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Rafting in Bosnia – The Best Way to Travel from Mostar to Sarajevo!

October 10, 2016
Raft Kor review Bosnia

Long distance travelling would have to be one of the most monotonous parts of any long-term travel experience. Of course you’ll want to check out the scenery as you move from place to place but after day upon day sitting cramped on buses and trains, intercity travel can really grind your gears.

The last few weeks of our European summer exploration involved a lot of long distance travel – how did we overcome the boredom factor?  We tried to combine travel days with activities so we had something concrete to look forward to and it really did help.

Not only did we avoid sitting on buses all day but we got to enjoy some awesome sightseeing and activities (like the Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park) and saved the need to double back after an activity which resulted in less time wasted getting from A to B.

Imagine our excitement when we stumbled across Raft Kor – not only were they able to get us from one location to another but they promised a fun day on the Neretva River in the process!

We arranged a pick-up time from our accommodation in Mostar where Sanel, the owner of Raft Kor promptly picked us (and our gear up).  We hit the road, headed for our first stop – breakfast!  After meeting the rest of the crew over a tasty meal, we made our way over to the Raft Kor base to get kitted up ready for our rafting adventure.

The Neretva River is absolutely breathtaking and over the course of the day you’ll drift, raft and swim your way down 25km of pristine Bosnian waterway.  The rafting itself is not challenging and is ideally suited for first-time rafters, those less confident in water and even children – a couple of the rapids will get your heart pumping but the day is more of a relaxing day in a beautiful setting than an adrenaline inducing challenge.

After drifting down the river for a few hours, we pulled the raft onto a little pebbled bank where our hosts whipped up a traditional Bosnian barbeque for us.  Ćevapi (a freshly smoked sausage) was served up in a peta bread with lots of tomato and onion on hand for those that wanted them.  After washing everything down with some fizzy and cooling off with a swim (it certainly was cool in the river!) it was time to make a move again.

The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering down the river with the occasional rapid thrown in, with stops along the way to fill up our water bottles (with the freshest water imaginable) and jump off the odd rock (to appeal to those of us wanting a bit more adventure).

We had a fantastic day out on the water –  both the scenery and weather were stunning and the company was great which made it totally worth braving the chilly water.

The rafting is well priced and offers excellent value for money considering the length of time you’re on the water and though the river itself isn’t particularly suited to adrenaline junkies, who doesn’t enjoy getting out amongst a beautiful setting, soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh air?

If you’re needing transport to get between Mostar and Sarajevo (or need to do the trip in reverse), we’d definitely recommend joining Raft Kor – you’ll enjoy a relaxed day out on the water which without doubt, beats a straight bus trip from one town to the next!

Headed to Bosnia?  Pin this post for future reference!

Rafting Bosnia Raft Kor

Thank you to Raft Kor for having us along as their guests for the purpose of this review.  As always, all thoughts are our own.

PS: The driving throughout this part of Europe may be different to what you’re used to at home – drivers often talk on cellphones and following distances can be fairly close.  Try to sit back and relax.  Remember, they’re used to these conditions – slap your seatbelt on and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

PPS: Bosnia and Herzegovina are out-of-this-world amazing – get yourself there ASAP.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe Sarajevo

Sarajevo: Bobsled Track or Battlefield?

August 18, 2016
Sarajevo old olympic bobsled track exploring kiwis

Growing up, my main connection to Bosnia was through news coverage of the civil war that broke out across Yugoslavia.  At the time, I was too young to understand the reasons for the war but through our travels in the Balkans, we’ve developed a much better understanding of how and why things unfolded in the way they did and have been surprised to hear so many different perspectives on this period of time.

Of all the images I’ve seen since, the ones that cut closest to home were the photographs of the abandoned Winter Olympic venues that were repurposed for war… if a city that hosted the most iconic sporting event in history could break out into war, there was the potential for anywhere to suffer the same fate.

Sarajevo was on my must-see list in Eastern Europe – I was intrigued to see how the war had affected the city and it’s people and a visit up to the old bobsled track was top of that list.

On our way from Mostar to Sarajevo, we chatted to a pair of travellers working from the opposite direction to us.  They too had wanted to visit the old Olympic grounds but had been warned off by the guide that took them on the walking tour of Sarajevo – apparently there had been a real problem with armed muggings in the area, whereby hard-up locals wait for unsuspecting tourists.  If there’s one thing I am though, it’s determined and I certainly wasn’t going to give up that easily so on our walking tour we hit our guide up.

Could the old Sarajevo bobsled tracks really be that dangerous?  Surely not… After all, I’ve seen plenty of photos taken there on Instagram, as recently as a few days ago – what could go wrong?

Sure enough, our guide echoed the thoughts that were shared with us yesterday – muggings, dangerous, not worth it, blah, blah, blah.  The truth was, I’d seen photos online from the site, had set my heart on going and off we set.

We hailed a cab, ensured he had a meter (we’d already been reminded of the muddle one can get into by jumping into a taxi without one on this trip!) and headed for the hills.

Over the next twenty five minutes or so, we enjoyed getting to know our taxi driver better, a liberal Muslim Bosniak, born and raised in the city.  At 19, Eno was conscripted into the army in an effort to fight off the Serbian’s looking to invade Sarajevo; he was a fountain of first-hand knowledge and an absolute pleasure to talk to throughout the afternoon.

We asked Eno about the safety concerns that were relayed to us and the only issue he raised was that of landmines in the area.  We were advised to stay on the concrete and bobsled tracks, avoiding stepping out into the forrest, but apparently muggers didn’t even register as a concern with him – good news!

Arriving at the old bobsled track in the peace of the forest, any concerns we had about safety instantly melted away.  Initially we were the only people there and Nathan and I had the course to ourselves for a good twenty minutes or so before a couple of people came walking down the tracks from higher up.

Sarajevo old bobsled track

The tracks were in surprisingly good condition with their towering walls intact.  The forest was eerily quiet, providing the perfect backdrop for such a unique setting.

I don’t doubt that there have been run-ins on this old track in the past (and there probably will be again in the future), but what area hasn’t had an isolated incident or two?  Nobody can guarantee your safety but we can tell you that we felt absolutely safe up there and had a great time exploring such a unique spot – we recommend heading up to the old Sarajevo bobsled track for sure.

Don’t believe everything you’re told – listen, investigate and then make up your own mind, otherwise you might miss out on a real adventure!

If you find yourself in Sarajevo and are looking for a taxi, we highly recommend our driver, Eno.  He was friendly, insightful, used the meter the whole day, gladly waited for us at each stop with no pressure (or charge!) and turned up the next morning as promised to take us to the bus station (which is out of town, be sure to plan that into your timeframe and budget).  You can get hold of him on +387 611 41 611.

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