We visited Lukomir, the remote mountain idyll in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We were not only propelled back into a bygone era, but also straight into the universe!
“Today is going to be another hard-core off-road trip!” Faruk rubs his hands together. We’re going to Lukomir, probably the most famous village in the country. We are going over the Bjelašnica mountain again. “Do you want to see Sarajevo from way up there?” Sure I do! We have just the right car for the mountain roads! We pass the ski jumps from which international athletes jumped for the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
We lift the Land Rover Defender into position and off we go onto the track! We are kissed by the sun today as well. First we pass through the forest before we reach the first level of the mountains. “Do you see the serpentines up ahead?” I see the steep curves. ” We’ re going to go up there!” My heart beats ecstatically! This is going to be a most adventurous road-trip! Off we go. The curves are very tight and what’s more: the road is not very wide and the gravel is quite rough and edgy. And then there are the holes and ruts, some of which are quite large.
I drive carefully. The Defender takes all the hurdles in stride, and thanks to its air suspension you don’t feel any vibrations inside the car. However, the drive to the destination at an altitude of 2070 meters is lots of fun! This is also where the town’s observatory is located. One employee is there, otherwise we are alone. Dis ski gondolas are at a standstill. The winter season starts in December. The ski resort is internationally known since 1984 also due to the Winter Olympics held at that time.
It is fresh yet warm due to the sun. The scent of wild grasses wafts around our noses. I open the trunk of the completely dusty Defender and sit down inside to nibble a few nuts. They taste better and more intense in the fresh air. The view from the ski slope is magnificent. All of Sarajevo opens up before me. From here you can see the unusual geographical location of the country’s capital. It is nestled in a valley, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps.
We continue across the mountain tops passing Dugo Polje, the Long Field. A dream-off-road route that runs straight for quite a long time, flanked by evergreen pastures on both sides. We stop at a well. I walk to the rocks and climb up. No matter where I look – only rock formations and green spaces everywhere. The vastness makes me breathe deeply and freely. And I feel so light … The vibrating of the cell phone disturbs. Faruk calls me. “Where are you?!? I don’t see you!” I wistfully walk back, taking my time. It’s like being on another planet.
Nature is gradually being held in check by human hands. Wooden fences and small stone walls now line our path. And you can already see the first flocks of sheep, which are typical for this area. Soon we drive into the village. It is the highest village in the country. We pass old Bosnian stone houses with the typical tin roofs that reach down to the ground. Two women are sitting in front of a house.
One spins wool and the other knits the traditional woolen mules. Even as a child, I wore them every winter in Germany. And to this day I have remained faithful to them. They look stunning with their bright colors and patterns. And they warm so wonderfully! Finished ones hang on the fence for sale. The two lovely ladies are wearing the old Bosnian traditional garb. They inform me that they are both from here.
Usually, the village is empty in winter. The families then live in apartments provided for them in Sarajevo. “Sometimes the snow is so high here that we can’t leave the house,” Zlata, the spinner, tells me. Last winter, my husband and I, as well as another family, were here all winter. “It was so peaceful.” Her hands are steady and continue to make wool in a practiced manner. To me, her movements seem like a meditation. I am totally relaxed. Here in this village, time doesn’t seem to exist. Only the seasons and the division into sunrise and sunset. One of her sons is about to get married. She is also fortunate to be a mother, as both sons help out vigorously. Her husband is out with the sheep in one of the pastures at the moment. But he should be back soon.
Happy chickens come running towards me. Their coop is a miniature of the dwellings. I keep them company. Just then Zlata comes out of her house. “Come in!” It is comfortably warm in the parlor. Of course, it is still heated with wood. The stove also serves as a baking oven at the same time, where the typical bread, called Pogača, is found. We sit on the floor. It is so cozy that I don’t want to leave. She pulls out a box and opens it. It is filled with the handmade woolen socks. “Pick some out, I want to give them to you. I think it’s great that you asked me if you could take my picture. A lot of tourists who come just take the right out of it. And we don’t like that so much.” I gladly accept the gift and buy some more.
She wants to know what life is like in Germany. Next time I come over, she wants me to spend the night with her. I will do that with pleasure. She accompanies me back to the car. “Isn’t it a shame for you to drive up there with this new car over those bad roads?” “Zlata, the car is meant for this sort of trip!” “Maybe, but I wouldn’t drive it here, it’s too valuable for that …” She finds it fascinating that I drove from Germany to Sarajevo alone, as a woman. I don’t think I accomplished anything special. This woman does all the more. By her way of life she keeps traditional life with all its customs alive and in harmony with animals and nature.
We say goodbye and drive past the cemetery, up the hill. Just opposite are the ancient medieval tombstones. They stand there looking so majestic and radiate something mysterious.
Faruk leads me through the village and walks up to the rocky outcrop on the other side. A young man is sweeping the animal enclosure. He too is doing his work with much peace and contentment. He smiles and greets me. We run up the narrow path. A wooden hut labeled WC stands there. “This is the most famous guest toilet in the country,” Faruk tells me.
On the left side, it goes down quite steeply. “Do you know what is down here? The Rakitnica canyon, where we went a few days before.” We reach the end of the mountain tongue that seems to reach into the sky. A couple in hiking gear are sitting there having a snack. They greet us warmly and we start talking, as we do everywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sun shines in my face and I again look into endless vastness. We stay there to experience the sunset. This dark orange that makes the mountain peaks glow …
As we walk back, we have to use the flashlights on our smartphones to light up the narrow path so we don’t slip. An old couple is sitting outside their house and call out to us: “Kids, where are you going? It’s dark and cold already! And be careful on the path!” “Don’t worry grandmother! We’ll take care! May health accompany you!” We reach the car. It is already very cold. After all, we are at an altitude of 1455 meters. The white gravestones shine even in the night. The shepherds with their sheep have already returned to the village. It has become quiet. Only the barking of dogs can be heard sporadically.
It lies before us as if in Sleeping Beauty’s slumber, quite peaceful and so unrealistically beautiful. I have arrived in a bygone era. It is getting darker and darker. The sky is so black that the stars have a stronger luminosity. Mars is glowing red and Saturn and Jupiter will soon form a conjunction to our eye. And then there it is, so clear that I shiver at the sight of it. The Milky Way seems to be moving. I lean on the old tombstones because I am in danger of losing my balance. I stretch my neck back as far as possible so that I don’t miss anything of the universe that has come to life here. This feeling of goose bumps that can be felt down to the marrow. Here you don’t just feel 500 years of history – here life on earth has been happening since the big bang.
As we drive back to Sarajevo, I have to cry. I do not know why. This place has triggered something in me, brought something to life that was hidden deep inside me. Faruk lets me. But he wouldn’t be a Bosnian if he didn’t manage to make me laugh again. That is another great thing about this country – the humor is unique. “We’re going to the old town of Sarajevo now, then you’ll first get to eat Čevape and then everything will be fine again!” “Will there be drinking yogurt with it?” Faruk laughs, “If it will contribute to your happiness too, of course!”
– Panoramic sunroof, with electric sun visor
– Santorini Black
– 19 inch alloy wheel with 6 double spokes, Gloss Black (Style 6010)