Rafting in Bosnia - (continued)
By Cindy-Lou Dale
Crisp Spring Excellence
This is about as raw as nature gets, I thought, making myself comfortable in the raft. I watched the powerful flow of the Tara rush by, as she has done for eons, hollowing out a soft limestone surface, creating sculptured gorges and chasms, and forging an 51-mile (82-km) long canyon, the deepest in the world, and second in length only to the Colorado’s Grand Canyon.
A Rude Awakening
I awoke to sharp jolt and a rafter’s paddle beating my forearm instead of the water. We were in white waters rivalling none that I had yet seen. The raft tilted dangerously and for some inexplicable reason, whilst grasping at an evasive sky-hook and falling into a slow backward summersault, I recalled a bottle of wine I had forgotten in my deepfreeze back home.
Waiting for Death's Sweet Kiss
I waited patiently for death’s sweet kiss but instead slowly rose to the surface where I was unceremoniously plucked out of the water and man-handled into the raft.
I gasped and spluttered, frothing little nose rings of Fanta. Sherpas looked at me the way you might look at a road accident victim, then picked up my life-jacket from the floor of the raft and threw it at my feet.
"Do you not remember the safety rules we discussed?" Sherpas demanded. I nodded sheepishly, unable to speak, and put my life jacket back on again.
"The mountains are full of perils," a fellow rafter announced. "Snakes, nests of spiders, bears and even a scattering of small antelope, all lethally deranged by parasitic worms that burrow into their brains."
"Nonsense," said Sherpas, tossing his black tresses out of his face, reminiscent of the rather fetching Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.
"If Drak’s around, there is nothing dangerous out there."
Drak was a mountain-man, Sherpas claimed, who lived nearby, and who had no concept of plumbing or how it worked, nor electricity.
"A few years ago," Sherpas said, "I visited Drak’s hut. I noticed an Ikea-type kitchen clock leaning up against a wall, still in its Styrofoam and plastic wrapping. I enquired if Drak needed batteries to get the clock working."
Sherpas chuckled at the recollection, then continued, "Drak claimed it had not worked since the day he bought it and he did not want to waste any more money on it."
"What caused him to become like that?" a fellow first-timer asked.
We all quietly reflected on this for a moment. Then someone volunteered:
"Massive amounts of home brewed liquor and generations of unbiblical sex, is probably what bred Drak."
He grew thoughtful then took a long drag from his cigarette and told how no family was left untouched. He recounted, with difficulty, his own losses, occasionally averting his moist eyes. He took a moment to recompose himself and used that time to light another cigarette.
"We were fearless fools and certain we were indestructible. I lost most of my friends, and many members of my family."
"But," he added, "there’s a constant feeling that nature is reaching out to heal the wounds caused by human wrong-doings." He contemplated his statement for a moment, then added. "Bosnia is both irretrievably scarred and infinitely capable of renewing herself."
On the flight home an over accessorized fur-coated lady sat beside me. Her sighs of discontent were clearly intended to encourage a conversation, so I ignored her. Clearly she could bear this no longer and despite herself enquired after the blue black bruises on my arm.
"That looks awfully painful," she exclaimed. "What on earth happened to you, dear child?"
"Nothing serious," I said, "just some bloke that beat me up and then tried to drown me because I took my top off."
Pricing: £35 per person per day which includes breakfast, a day’s rafting, transport to departure point, lunch al fresco, dinner and drinks on return, taxes, insurance and all equipment. No accommodation is provided.
For a minimum number of six people, the rafting prices ranges from £17 for a 3-hour rafting trip to £52 for a 3-day trip. These prices include a qualified rafting guide/navigator, wetsuits, equipment, tax, and insurance.
The 2005 European Whitewater Rafting Championship was held on the Vrbas. Klub Kanjon is 11km south of Banjaluka.
For a minimum number of six people, the rafting prices ranges from £7 for a 1-hour rafting trip to £18 for a 3-hour trip. These prices include a qualified rafting guide/navigator, wetsuits, and equipment.
Klub Kanjon offer 2-room tents, sleeping up to four for £3.50 pppn - overall maximum capacity of 500 guests. There is a Motel 100m down the road from Klub Kanjon at £20 pppn, including breakfast.
The Una is in the western part of Bosnia, bordering Croatia, some 5km upstream from Bihać, and set is set on a long stretch of the riverfront.
Pricing: For a minimum number of six people, the rafting prices ranges from £10 to £27 pppd, and covers rafting routes whose durations range between 90-minutes and five hours. These prices include a qualified rafting guide/navigator, wetsuits, equipment, tax, and insurance.
Your story on rafting in Bosnia in Go nomad is great. I've been to all those places you describe because my wife is from Bosnia and we live in Munich, Germany, which is a night long drive away.
I got weary of the nightly "drink and smoke like there is no tomorrow" routine a few years ago on one of our frequent visits and started travelling around the country.
You really captured the spirit of the place!
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