We had a great holiday - in spite of the extreme weather conditions which meant that the itinerary had to be re-scheduled somewhat - I've never seen quite so much snow! The countryside was beautiful, the Bosnian people seem warm and friendly and with so much unknown history and culture, it was an extremely interesting place to visit.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The most thought-provoking, was standing outside the Catholic Cathedral in Sarajevo and learning that this had been a sniper hotspot, where many had been killed and wounded during the war - it makes things far more real to actually be there.
The most surreal moments, were having a taste of white-out conditions, walking in a snow blizzard and realising you really can see nothing, but you know that people are walking right in front of you!
The moments that will always make me smile, were coming in from the cold to a log fire in a mountainside house, where we enjoyed a local cuppa with chunks of chocolate, whilst being introduced to a range of Bosnian/Balkan folk music styles (and a bit of the Beatles thrown in on the side)!
The most heart-warming moments were everyone's kindness when I wasn't well on our last walk out, so a big thank you to my fellow travellers, our super guides and all the residents at our lunch stop mountain hut/house.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Our two group leaders were excellent. Knowledgeable, friendly, well organised. I think the constant need to re-organise and change plans would have made our week particularly tricky and they did an exceptional job under the circumstances, in far from ideal conditions.
The mini-van driver was also very good in very difficult winter conditions - he got us delivered and collected safely every time!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Bosnia doesn't have an indoor smoking ban, so attitudes and ideas around smoking are quite different to the UK- whilst the guides can help in the guest houses, etc., out in restaurants and public places its something you have to put up with.
The weather adds the element that gets this trip into the challenging category. Even with appropriate clothing and doing some good exercise it was extremely cold and it can take a while to get warm (if you tend to be one of those people who feels the cold more than others)!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Overall a great holiday, with lovely fellow travellers and excellent guides. Only a couple of things I can think of that might have improved things a little.
It would have been good to know that Sarajevo currently shuts the drinking water supply off over night to conserve water. It caught us out when we arrived late at night and had to leave early morning. Just knowing to fill up water bottles in advance, so you can clean teeth or get a drink would have been handy!
I know things were rather in flux due to the weather, but it might have been good if Exodus could have let us know that the first stay in the 'mountain hut' was definitely off in advance. I think some people wouldn't have taken sleeping bags out with them if they had known they had, in effect, become an optional item. (I believe the decision was made a few days before we left, so an email might have been possible)?