View from Nafplio Castle, Nafplio Greece.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Acrocorinth, Peloponnese, Greece.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Turkiye, sometime around January 23rd.

Friday, October 29, 2021

An authentic Bosnia experience!

Once again it took a while for the morning fog to burn off. In fact, by the time it had cleared enough to make it worthwhile to go for a hike, it was almost lunchtime so we had something to eat before heading out.

Our destination was Ostrovica Castle, sitting high on a hill above the nearby town of Kulen Vakuf. In fact, we can see the castle from our campsite by the river.

Our new Belgian friends Bjorn and Freya were also going to the castle, and had already left on their bicycles. But we thought it might be too steep to bike, so we decided to hike it.

There are quite a few of these picnic shelters in the park.

Heading uphill.

Zoomed in on another castle ruins on the opposite hill.
Looks like there isn't much left of it.

So we're hiking up the hill and we're getting close to the castle. We hadn't seen any other people except for one small car that went by on the same path we were walking in the photo above. We came around a bend and we could hear music, and voices. As we continued on, there were three men sitting at a picnic table. 

It was beside the path up to the castle, so we were walking right past them. In my best Bosnian I said "Dobar dan", which is the way they say hello. The direct translation is "Good day".

They were having lunch, but insisted that we sit down and have a drink of homemade raki with them. We would never turn down an opportunity to visit with the locals, so we sat down.

They spoke about as much English as we do Bosnian. Which is essentially none! But, we managed to introduce each other, and with lots of nodding and pointing and smiling we sat and had a drink with them.

Kevin, Ermin, Enes, and Rasim.

Well, in Bosnia you never have only one drink of raki. It is served in tiny little glasses, and they were quick to refill it when it was empty.

They had a lot of food on the go for just the three of them. They probably could have fed ten people. It wasn't long before they insisted we each have a plate of goulash...

Two big plates of goulash, and a pork chop!

The goulash was made from wild boar. Enes had been hunting, and killed a wild boar. He showed us a photo of it... it was a big animal! And the meat in the goulash was so tasty and tender.... really delicious. We finished up our goulash and before we knew it there was more goulash being served. It was hard to say no!

I looked up etiquette standards for Bosnia to learn what the proper cultural rules were. Interesting stuff...
  • It’s polite to always accept an offer of food and drink by a host even if you do not actually eat/drink any of it.
  • Lunch is the main meal of the day in Bosnia. It is eaten at around 2pm. Dinner is served later on at around 8pm.
  • Try and keep your hands visible, above the table, and do not rest your elbows on the table.
  • It is impolite to speak while chewing.
  • Bosnian friends may share or pick off each other’s plate.
  • Expect the amount of food supplied to be more than what can be eaten.
  • Expect to be offered more servings than you are prepared to eat. You may have to politely decline more than once to insist that you are full.
So as we're sitting there eating more food, who comes riding by but Bjorn and Freya. Of course they are invited to sit down as well, and the next thing you know we've got a bit of a party going.

Having a party with the locals.

But we still hadn't made it to the castle!

It was after 3:00pm by the time Ruth and I finally got up and forced ourselves to leave the party.

The back wall of Ostrovica Castle.

View looking towards Croatia.

I took a short video for you...

View from Ostrovica Castle.

Ruth, heading to the rebuilt tower.

The tower was rebuilt in 2014 as part of a grander plan that involves the whole castle. But to rebuild these things to standards is very expensive and that was as far as the project got.

Hey, there is Max right in the center of the photo!

Looking down on the town of Kulen Vakuf.

The new tower and the view.

Ruth.
Totally free access, and nobody around but ourselves.

Another part of the complex.

We were headed back down, and the only route led us right by the gathering! Bjorn and Freya were still there, and the son of Enes had also showed up. He spoke quite good English, so it was good to be able to get some more info from him. His father owns the property and they use it as a weekend getaway for family and friends. It was really interesting speaking to him, and he wants people to know that the war in Bosnia is long over and the country is fully welcoming to visitors from anywhere!

This fellow wanted some leftover bones!

It was after 5:00pm by the time we managed to stumble our way back down the hill. They had wanted us to stay and were going to build a fire... I'm sure if we had stayed we would still be there! Great hospitality from the local people. So glad that we put ourselves in a position to meet people like that.

View at the town of Kulen Vakuf.

We're moving on today. Headed further south towards the city of Sarajevo. No idea how far we will get.

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Decent deal on this Countertop Ice Maker.

And in Canada...

14 comments:

  1. The views are fantastic! Yes always nice to meet locals to get an idea of culture and FOOD! That goulash looks delish.

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    1. Beautiful views from up there, too bad it was so hazy. It took the fog a long time to burn off as well.

      We love meeting the locals, even with the language barrier we could still make ourselves understood and to be offered food and drink is just a bonus. The goulash was delicious, very tender and tasty.

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  2. Can't help but smile at your improptu party. Sounds like some friendly people!

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    1. It was hard not to smile! We had a great time, they were definitely and wonderful group of men, very friendly and welcoming. :-)

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  3. Replies
    1. Lol, you sound like Kevin, he doesn't like to share food off his plate either. :-)

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  4. What a beautiful view . So nice to talk to the locals

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    1. It truly is a lovely area especially with the mountains and the fall colors.

      We love talking with the locals, even with the language barrier we still always manage to learn something about the country and the culture. These guys were wonderful, they were so cheery and welcoming. We had such a good time with them. :-)

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  5. What a great day you had. I would have loved to be at that party.

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    1. It was a definitely a great day. We are sure that if you had been around you would have been invited too! :-)

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  6. What a wonderful experience! You certainly are getting the most from your travels, which to me is the reason one should travel. Do you carry any kind of small gift with you to give your hosts when you have a spontaneous encounter like this with such generosity?

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    1. It was a fantastic experience, we had so much fun with these guys. We certainly try to get as much out of travel as we can and we love it when things like this happen. Normally yes, we always try to carry a little gift along. Before we left Canada we tried to by small Canada flag pens, stickers, magnets and pencils but believe it or not we couldn't find them anywhere, it was so frustrating. For this particular occasion I still had one Canada flag pin left and we gave it to Enes but I felt bad that I didn't have anything else to give to the other two gentlemen. Next time we are back in Canada we will try harder to locate more of these items so we have more to give out. :-)

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  7. What an awesome day and experience! We found Croatia and Bosnia to have some of the friendliest (and happiest) people! Their wars are so recent they live every day to the fullest!! Glad you had a wonderful encounter (and could still hike after all that raki and food lol).

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    1. It really was a fantastic day. We love it when we have encounters like this. They certainly are super friendly people, just like in Albania too.

      I think we agree with you on them wanting to live every day to the fullest after what so many of them had to deal with back in the 90's.

      Luckily we were pretty close to the castle so we didn't have to stumble too far, lol!

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