| GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a federal parliamentary republic, covering 51.197 square kilometres. It is the home of 3.531.159 citizens, of which 51% are Muslims and 45% are Christians. The currency is Convertible mark, worth 3,80 Danish Krone and 0,51. The GDP is US$16.306 billion.
The climate is Mediterranean in the small stretch of plain near the sea where the rest is continental.
Among the larger mammals are the Wildcat (Felis silvestris), Golden jackal (Canis aureus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), European otter (Lutra lutra) and Boar (Sus scrofa).
The flora does hold a few interesting plants like the Herzegovinian Bellflower (Campanula hercegovina), a pink Dianthus freynii, Euphorbia gregersenii, the Prenja Crazyweed (Oxytropis prenja) and the White Rockbell (Edraianthus niveus). However, I am not going to look for any in particular.
The GPS know a shortcut, and it actually works! Through, I have to go through narrow gravel roads and through farm yards, but it is a great drive. Then I reach Kravice waterfalls. It is Sunday, and apparently, this is where the locals cool off. They are everywhere under the falls, but I find some other nice nature.
Then I ran out of battery on the camera - or it got fed up with waterfalls? Anyway; I head back to the car, and find a campsite; Dane Camp. It is in Medjugorje, and a lovely place. Only 5, and the host offers a glass of his homemade red vine: Rich, fruity and real good. Here are only three Italian campers, way back in the camp area.
My host recommends the local church, ten minutes walk away. I pass around 50 souvenir shops on the way - in Croatia I saw around three in total. Apparently, the newly build church is located where their female good appeared in front of six children. A great excuse for selling all kind of religious gadgets.
at camp, I wash my two favourite T-shirts, sip the red vine, transferee photos
from the camera and upload those from yesterday, while I boil two eggs and
prepare dinner, wash the windows of the car and update the budget. It is
nice to have this done, before I start working with the photos and diary of
28/5. I head nine kilometres back, as I saw a VW garage yesterday. And I have noticed the oil-change I had done in Slovenia did not include the gear oil. Unfortunately, they don't have the right oil, and it will take several days before they can get it. At that time, I should be in Macedonia! I hope to find a VW garage in Sarajevo.
I set of towards the first sight off the day; Mostar and its famous old bridge. I pass several new churches on the way (they don't have many old ones!), and I really don't get the beauty of modern churches! The landscape, on the other hand, is fantastic. Huge, but flat limestone mountains, partly overgrown with herbs and a few bushes like figs and Junipers.
I do several longer walks, and see a lot of nice plants. Other times, I stop to make a picture of a great view, but eventually, I make it to Mostar. I head in by the small, narrow roads, some not even sealed. A lot of houses are still covered in bullets holes, while others are renovated.
I find a parking in front of an open door, and ask the
man inside, if I may park here? No problems - I think he say. I try to buy a
parking ticket, but the machine is broken, and my
say I don't need it.
The old bridge is nice, and look like a fortress as well - and it might have been built for that. The old houses along the narrow gorge and the blue river in the button make some great motives. I follow the gorge on the other side, and without warning; I enters a huge, intense tourist area. Here are literally hundreds of souvenir shops. Only the plaster models of the bridge are locals; the rest are Russian, Turkish along with elephants, camels and donkeys and some strange jewellery. And the general theme is war! Shotshell, tanks made of shotshells and alike.
I find the back alleys with the old houses, the narrow
gorge and several mosques. Considering they only have an old bridge to show,
they surely know how to make something of it! And here are tourists enough
to go around.
they have their own currency, I have so fare only seen prices in Euro, and
when I ask for change in local coins, I get none. But it would be nice to
have, as the parking
meters only accept them.
I find my way out of town, and set the course for Jajce, way up north. It is through bigger and bigger mountains, and now, they are getting steep. Most of the way, it is along the Rama river, and it is dark turquoise and dammed several places. In some stretches, the mountains closes in, and the road barley get through the crack in-between.
Her are hardly any settlement, only a few minor towns and scatted houses. The engine start to sound as it have a small leak in the muffler, then it looses power and I find a spot to park right away. The engine is real hot, but it still have water and oil: It must be something more serious! I call for a toe-truck, pack a go-bag and sit and work for two hours.
A thunder passes real close, and in the gorge I'm parked, it does sound serious! But it does not rain, and then it clears up again. The poor car and I are brought back to Jablanica, which I hardly noticed when I passed. In a little back-mountain road, some sort of garage is found - not the VW garage I kind of hoped for. It does not even have a door in front, just chicken walking around. The mechanic and the toe-truck driver (brothers?), start to analyse right away, and after quit some time, they guess on the valves. They start taking the engine apart, and I sit and work. They now guess on the crankshaft, but I have no way of saying.
can't say, if is due to the oil-change in Slovenia, but that oil will go
anyway now. Wasted 214,50, and perhaps way more? While I'm here, I ask them
to change the gear-oil, but leave the brake-problem
I guess I'm lucky this didn't happen in Switzerland!
I find a vegetarian pizza down the street, and return to
the room for more work. I guess I will reach button of my to-do-list within tomorrow. I doubt
I'll be driving anywhere within two or three days.
29/5. I try to sleep till late, as I have not much to do. I work with budget and other office things till noon. Not that I have that much budget, but somehow, 25 are missing - or double somewhere, and I can't stand errors like that. I end deciding; it is food which I have forgotten to note.
I walk to the garage, and they have depressing news: They can't find a new crankshaft, only a complete used engine with no data. Considering how much renovation I done on the one I have, I rather keep it. Considering how many VW there are in the the country, one should think the organisation could get spare-parts for any model!
walk around the area around the garage, filled with nice little houses. Most
gardens are only for vegetables; well maintained, but then again; it seems
like there are someone home everywhere.
I find a mosquito net, some sewing thread and elastics
for the car - optimist as I am. At one restaurant, I get s slice of bread
filled with fresh cheese, and call it lunch.
At four, I return to the garage, hoping they have good news. They have! Apparently, they will get another crankshaft and cylinder head in the morning. I can't tell if they are new or perhaps from the used engine they found, but at least, it should keep me going.
I spend the evening programming the GPS for many of the coming countries. I think that is the most boring task about travelling ever! Waiting for a connecting flight in Stavanger is more interesting! Jablanica.
30/5. There is a power failure in the entire town, and not much is happening. I can't even get morning tea! I do a bit of programming of the GPS, then head up to the garage. They have received a nice but used crankshaft and cylinder head - from a petrol engine! Mine is diesel, and it is less useful as a snooze button on a fire-alarm.
Apparently new ones are not available, and as the
model have not been sold in the country, used ones are scares - at best.
They are still searching, but in short terms: It look like I'm fucked!
I can book in to the hotel again.
While I'm at it, a new cylinder head with crankshaft
arrivals, and it is the right model! They start to mount the "new"
crankshaft, which a legendarily should be form a engine only done 86.000
kilometres - mine is close to 350.000.
When I return, they are almost finish, but the gear oil can not be found. They guess I can drive with the one I have. And they don't seem eager to look at the window lift. Newer mind, I'm ready the hit the road again. Paying does cause problems, as they don't accept card, and the ATM don't find it appropriate to give me that much in one day. Luckily, I still have some Euros left.
I head out in the mountains with an engine that sounds right, and 47 hours delayed, I pass the place I emergency-parked at. The first part is just steep, green mountains, then more and more new, small houses are found along the road.
A thunderstorm is gaining strength, and then it starts to poor down. The light have gone, and when I reach Jajce castle and my sight; Pliva Waterfall, it is still raining cats and dogs. I work a bit in the car, hoping it will stop, but eventually, I find the umbrella.
It look all right, but the little castle on the hilltop does not really look appealing in the rain. I figure I can reach Sarajevo before six, or with a bit of luck, find a campsite on the way. It is a narrow and badly maintained road, and at one point, I make a bad turn. The GPS don't know the road, and keep quiet, and I get to drive at least ten kilometres, before I notice.
I end way out in a little, real humble village, in which the GPS show as a enormous green area with nothing at all. I turn around, and make it to another little village. Here, the GPS map is quite wrong, but I manages to get directions from some friendly locals. Apparently, I have to go out of, what the GPS show as a blind road.
Here, I follow a narrow gravel road for 35 kilometres,
mainly through forest, but here are several small huts, goats and sheep.
Some valleys have huge grass fields, but I see no farmed land at all.
single stretch have several hotels, but they are either wicket expensive or
occupied. One have a camp - the only I find - but only for tents, which it
is way too wet for. Then I get
so close to Sarajevo, I might as well head for the hostel I have there.
All the time I have spend looking for a parking have shown me enough of Sarajevo, and I set the GPS for next target, hoping to find a camp or hotel on the way. I do, and I don't argue with the price. I have picked up a letish head earlier, and look forward to something green. Despite all the gardens, fresh vegetables are not served in any restaurants. It have gotten real late, and I kind of appreciate I haven't experienced much. Mountains, countryside and rain
31/5. I wake up with headache, fever, sic and a dripping nose. Sleep another hour, and now I'm freezing! Eat some breakfast and sleep yet another hour. Does not help, so I start the adventure with two painkillers and a rather long tour by minor roads towards Montenegro.
It is through huge, green hills with scatted houses at first. Then the limestone mountains start, and it is the most pretty tour in Bosnia & Herzegovina I have driven. Here are a few wandering diary cows on the road and a few small herds of sheep on the green meadows. Some stretches of the road are unsealed - and more smooth than the sealed ones.
I reach the border, and have to show passport and green-card to exit. Bosnia & Herzegovina have been a bit of a disappointment. Here are way too many ruins and bullet holes, too much trash along the roads and way to few good sights. I have seen countries, who have been in war more recently, who have moved on way better. Here, it seems like people rather sit on their hands - or cafés. They lack dynamics. Southern Bosnia & Herzegovina
I have only driven 537 kilometres, mainly because I didn't find more sights. I have taken 607 photos and spend only 127 (+ the crankshaft operation). I have no plan of returning to Bosnia & Herzegovina, but I'm glad enough for what I have seen. Next up is Montenegro.