Day 5 - Hiking in the mountains of Bjelasnica , Umoljani and Lukomir

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Bosnia has truly fantasitic mountain scenary. Forget Switzerland and Austria - Bosnia has it all as far as we are concerned.

So we couldn't travel here without doing a day's hike. We arranged the hike through Funky Sarajevo Tours. They were fantastic - we had our own car and had arranged to drive there ourselves but as we were running very late (due to registering with the Bosnian Authorities which turned out to be fairly pointless - see Travelling in Bosnia) Skender arranged for us to have two guides - one to take us on the hike and the other to drive our car from the Lukomir to Umoljani so that we could take a slightly shorter route (rather than a full round trip).

Dado and Farook were our guides and they were very friendly and knowledgable. Our hike began in the wonderful and ancient village of Lukomir, high in the mountain. To get there we had to drive on a rough dirt track for 17 KM. It was bumpy but worthwhile as we saw a bird of prey sitting on a rock nearby the road and the saw it fly off and dive in persuit of its prey (I'm afraid as I am not a birder I can't tell you what the bird exactly was but its flight was majestic!).

In the village of Lukomir we found ancient houses with either traditional wooden roofs or rather ugly, but I guess practical, metal roofs. The people of this village were friendly but as they are so cut off (during the winter the village is inaccessible) they are not very well off and many were selling knitted goods from out side their houses. Their skin was typically leathery with many missing teeth - the product of a hard life in the mountains.

Dado invited us for coffee and taught us how to drink it Bosnian style (dipping a sugar cube in the coffee, biting it and then drinking the coffee through the sugar in your mouth). The coffee was very similar to Turkish coffee (if a little less gritty), a legacy of the long occupation of the Ottaman Empire in this region.

After a tour around the village which included the wonderfully small mosque which has an amazing story about sheltering Jewish people fleeing the nazis in WW2. Then we continued on our hike.

The scenary was breathtaking and the walking easy. The route took us around the side of the mountain, passed the village graveyard (where all of the surnames are all the same!) above the valley below. The trail snaked along the side of the hill, ducking under clumbs of trees and opening into beautiful viewing spots.

It took us only about 2.5 hours before we eventually reached the village of of Umojani where we were treated to a wonderful "lunch" (Bosnian's eat lunch at about 5pm!) of Bosnian pie - Potato, Meat, Cheese and Spinach (all seperate pies).