My Brother Visits Banja Luka, and Jajce
The summer here in Bosnia and Herzegovina, well, hasn't really started.
Yes it has, but we're getting sunny days, really warm days and recently we've just had about a 10 day period where it's been warm and sunny and then back to being rather miserable, drizzly, rainy and cold.
That's been a bit of a pain, because I invited my brother Trevor, to come and visit us here. Now he has a very busy life back in the UK, and time is very precious to people that live outside the Western Balkans.
I mean, here it's not necessarily laid back, but there's definitely another feel for how people live their lives.
Trevor planned to fly in and fly out and have four clear days in between. For the first time coming to Bosnia Herzegovina, four days isn't very long to show someone the beauty and the culture of this very diverse and exciting place.
I couldn't really factor in taking him to Sarajevo or Mostar or down into Herzegovina. Just absolutely no time.
So we concentrated on his first day, his arrival day, of just catching up as brothers would do.
Looking around where I live now, because he's never been here before and introducing him to some of the local food, because I do try to focus on local and regional food. I mean you can get Chateaubriand anywhere else in Europe, so why come to Bosnia Herzegovina and have a pepper steak or something like that, which I suppose, you would find better in Northern European countries.
When Trevor arrived in the village, we had Grah, with nice local sausages and lots of cuts of sliced meats and cheeses.
Day 2, (well his first full day), we took him to Banja Luka to show him the city that is about 15 km away from where I live.
I'm going to write another blog post about visiting Banja Luka as a result of Trevor's experiences and the feedback I got from him.
But we did want to show him as I say, the culture of the country and in particular the Northern part of the country.
Day 3 was a visit to the Ethno Museum, not too far away in the hills to the south of Banja Luka, at Ljubacke Doline, where we spent a good two hours walking round.
The weather was not perfect.
There was no sun, so the chance of taking some really good pictures, sunny, bright exciting pictures, was not on the cards. And because it was drizzling, I couldn't even fly the drone.
But it was a great visit.
Trevor found it very interesting, exploring all the exhibits of the history of that particular area.
Tamara and I decided to show him the town of Jajce, the original capital of Bosnia, many hundreds of years ago.
Again the heavens opened, so we had to shelter and have lunch in a restaurant right next to the entrance of the city, called Kod Asima.
I definitely recommend Kod Asima for those of you who thinking of coming to Bosnia.
It's really good traditional food, the menu is simple, but so tasty.
An hour and a half later, the rain dropped and we walked around the streets and up the hill into the remains of the castle that sits atop Jajce.
The rain started again and we did get a bit drenched, but the experience Trevor said, was fantastic.
Before leaving the wider Jajce area and coming back home, I wanted to find some small mills.
The only small mills that I've managed to find so far in all my time in Bosnia Herzegovina, are at a place called Krupa na Vrbasu. They're a series of small mills that are fed by water cascading down a hill. And those mills are still used today, to produce local flour, buckwheat in particular.
And also, during the weekends, and definitely through the summer months, the people there make Uštipci, which is like fried dough-balls. They are served with kajmak.
But as I say, I had seen pictures on the internet of another set of small mills and I finally found them.
When we leave Jajce with our guests, we drive to Pliva Lake, sit by the side of the lake, and have coffee and cake or depending on the time of day, even a full meal.
But I didn't realise that only 500 metres away, also right on the shoreline of Pliva Lake, is Mlinčiči, and it's a wonderful set of cute mills.
Not all work, but they're certainly kept in a good state of repair and it's something that I really recommend everybody that comes to Northern part of Bosnia Herzegovina, actually sees.
They're not too difficult to find. All you need to do is put Mlincici into your Google Maps, and it will actually highlight it on the map for you.
You can drive there by car, the road is very accessible.
The short video above shows that it wasn't the brightest of days to show those mills off to their best.
My brother Trevor only had, as I said, four days with us.
He enjoyed it so much that he wants to come back. I think he's become an early Balkan-phile, if I can use that phrase.
Is there such a thing? Balkan-phile?
He intends to come back to Bosnia Herzegovina, but one thing he wants to do is widen his experience.
In late August, early September, Tamara and I will be going back to our usual holiday haunt, the area around Kotor in Montenegro. Trevor has already booked his flight from London to Tivat to spend at least a few of the days that we're there, together with us, to see another part of this wonderful region.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA WITH US, WHY NOT CONTACT US