Into the High Country

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The summer blog is back in action! My name is Katie, and I’m the seasonal intern for Green Visions this year. I study Global Finance and Trade at the Korbel School of International Studies in Denver, Colorado, but my background is in environmental science and conservation, which originally drew me to Green Visions. I’m from Lexington, Kentucky, I enjoy long walks in the woods, good cheese, and funky yoga classes.

I help Green Visions with social media and outreach initiatives to get the word out about the Balkans, because they’re stunning, vibrant, and much less traveled than their Western European neighbors. To help with that, I’d like to post information and stories of unique places in Bosnia that visitors can find during their adventures here.

Green Visions offers a biweekly trip to Bosnia’s highest inhabited town, Lukomir, for 40 euros a person. The town is nestled high in the hills at 1500 meters on the western slope of Bjelasnica Mountain, above the Rakitnica River Canyon, which is one of the main tributaries to the Neretva. The water of the Rakitnica cannot be seen from the cliffs alongside Lukomir, but its influence is evidenced from the winding valley scoured out from millenniums of water erosion. The dendritic pattern of the valley below inspires folk lore of dragons, and if you happen to be a fan of Game of Thrones, Lukomir and the surrounding geography has that, “north of the wall” feel.

Lukomir from Obalj

The road to Lukomir was nearly inaccessible until after WWII, when a gravel road was paved for easier access to and from the village. The town was relatively unscathed in the war of the early 1990’s and the breakup of Yugoslavia which preceded it. A small school building, which was hit by mortar fire was the only damage (with no one injured). Now, the foundation of that building acts as a homestay for travelers and mountaineers hoping to spend more time in the isolated mountain town.

For the village itself, the houses have high pitched metal roofs and colorful facades that dot the bald grass mountain with reds, oranges, and creams. Guides help visitors find artisans with handmade woolen socks, wooden spoons for cookware, and eggs fresh from the chickens that strut freely in the dirt and gravel roads around your feet. If conversation is going well, there’s a chance for a conversation over traditional kafa in one of the families’ homes. Like many who you will meet during your stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the people of Lukomir are giving and hospitable. The trip to Lukomir is only an hour and a half outside Sarajevo, making the day trip well worth your while if you are only in Sarajevo for a short time.

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