Waving goodbye to the charming Ethno village of Lukomir, we began our hike back to the starting point. Rather than climbing to the highest peak, we wound through sun-kissed valleys. Indigo, marigold, and magenta filled the fields we traipsed through. As the hike was much more simple than the previous day’s, we were joined on the trails by several locals out for a morning walk.

 

Click on an image to see the photographs up-close:

 

After a quick stop for lunch, we parted ways with Mr. Superb Adventures and were told a new adventure was about to begin. A group of guides had driven from Konjic with several mountain bikes in tow. They took us to a high road, fitted everyone properly, and led the group down (and a little up) the valley to the next night’s accommodation. (Disclaimer: I may or may not have slipped a few times too many during the rainy hike and was worried about the condition of a past knee injury, so may or may not have played photographer from the trailing van’s window seat rather than pedaling the track.)

Whether seen from behind handlebars or a steering wheel, the ride was both exhilarating and stunning. Passing through the lush mountain valley of Glaveticevo we were led to the clear blue waters of Boračko Lake. Several exquisite A-frame homes are nestled into the hillside across from Boračko Lake, and it was here where we were met with fresh pours of homemade grappa and steaming Bosnian coffee.

Welcome to Herzegovina Lodges,” we were told as we unloaded our backpacks and stripped off our jackets in the lodge’s common room. “Živjeli” we chorused, a toast to our hostess and to one another.

Click on an image to see the photographs up-close:

 

She then led us to our rooms. Or rather, to our own lodges. Separated male and female as was standard throughout the trip, the guys were led upstairs to a two bedroom apartment. Appropriately named “Apartment Konjic,” their windows opened up to a view over the entire valley, said to be particularly stunning at sunup and sundown. We three girls were led down the narrow cement stairs to Lodge Trebinje. “Will this be okay?” she asked with sincerity.
We were at a loss for words. To our right, a bohemian-style living area with hand crafted tables, a colorful turkish rug and neutral sofas and chairs sat atop a rustic hardwood floor. To our left, a king-sized bed fitted in white sheets and surrounded by a delicate white netting awaited. A large wash room and upstairs area with two single beds completed the home. Would this be okay?!

Of course!

We met for dinner that night, once again homemade and prepared with organic, locally-sourced produce. In a land of ample rain, rich soil, and hardworking souls, there really is no other way to go.

 

Click on an image to see the photographs up-close:

 

After sleeping soundly in our bohemian lodges, we woke early the next morning for a breakfast of the Bosnian fried bread Uštipci, which was accompanied by assorted jams and cheeses. Following up our breakfast with a stroll along Boračko Lake, we found some unexpected surprises. Horses sipped on the refreshing waters, wandering along the lakeside. Locals had set up several fishing rods, digging them deep into soggy soil in an effort to maintain each pole’s perfect 45 degree angle between land and air, lines cast effortlessly into waters swimming with tonight’s dinner.

The clear blue morning was off to a superb start and was about to get better.

Returning to Herzegovina Lodges, we packed our bags once more and awaited the arrival of five black suits. Sanjin, VisitKonjic’s Director, showed up mid-morning with several others in-tow. He’d brought along wetsuits for us to slide on, along with life vests and helmets. We were headed to nearby River Neretva for an afternoon of rafting its crisp azure pathways.

 

Click on an image to see photographs of Herzegovina Lodges up-close:

 

Led by several certified skippers, we did our best not to fall in while the river rushed us along. Not a single one of us fell, though three of us opted to jump from higher ground into waters that literally left us breathless. Myself, along with another blogger and our accompanying chef (I’ll get to that soon) scaled a cliffside roughly six meters hight only to jump into calm waters once we’d reached the peak. Soon safely back inside the boat, we had a short distance to continue before stopping for lunch.

Packed safely within waterproof camp bags we’d carried along in the two rafts was a mixture of meats, vegetables and sodas. Part of the crew commandeering the raft opposite us was the Balkans’ key chefs and his camera crew. The crew had been filming all morning and continued to do so as our master chef lit up the grill. While he cooked, the rest of us relaxed on a small sandy beach with springs bubbling into perfectly drinkable water sources. To prepare for lunch, we flipped over one of the large rafts, balancing it just-so in order to make a perfect table to serve our meal upon. We had various types of grilled meats and vegetables, as well as warm Lepinja, a traditional Balkan pita bread, before continuing down the river to our final destination.

Click on an image to see the photographs up-close (these photos provided by VisitKonjic.com ):

That night would be our first spent in Konjic, and we were invited by Hotel Garden City to a three course meal along with chocolate torte and, of course, Bosnian coffee. Their offerings of both a Finish and Turkish Sauna were oh-so-enticing, as were the pool and nearby American bowling center. A schedule packed with activity left us each wanting all this and more, but alas most of us called it an early night and rested peacefully until morning. The next day, we were to embark on the tour’s most insane, absurd, thrilling activity of all, and beauty sleep was more highly recommended.

To this day, tiny battle wounds still make their mark on my shins and ribs. And to this day, I believe it to be the best eight hours of our trip. Soon, you will see why.

We're never to old to swing - Herzegovina Lodges - BiH - by Zena - www.MissMaps.com
We’re never to old to swing – Herzegovina Lodges – BiH – by Zena of World of a Travelholic – http://www.MissMaps.com

 

Where to Stay:
In the wild:
Herzegovina Lodges: http://www.hercegovina-lodges.com/?lang=en
In the city: Hotel Garden City: http://gardencity.ba/2/index.php/en/

What to do:
Mountain Biking and River Rafting with Visit Konjic: http://www.visitkonjic.com/Naslovna

Camera to Use:
Canon Powershot SX60 HS

Where to Find Happiness:
River Neretva, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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