Recently we stopped by to see my wife's nephew, John Vida, in Portland for a visit and to talk about our trip to Bosnia. He had been to Saudi Arabia and we compared the events of our trip with him.
We had spent two interesting months in north-west Bosnia near the Croatian border in the town of Bihac. It is the seat of government for the Uno-Sanska Canton (like a county here in the states) This was in October and November. In October the weather was pleasant With day time temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Actually, the weather and the countryside are a lot like eastern Tennessee and Kentucky.
We had chosen to go there as we had a friend Chris who moved there from the States and lives in Bihac. From there it was an easy bus ride to Zagreb the capital of Croatia and from there on to Hungary. My wife was born in a village about two hours west of Budapest, the capital.
We went up to Hungary for a few days and visited some of my wife's relatives. But what was nice about staying in Bosnia was that it was not expensive to live there. For instance, we only paid $240 for an apartment for a month, including utilities. My wife got her hair cut for 5 Bosnian Marks (or $3 US) and gave a 2-mark tip.
We fell in love with the town and its people. They were So friendly and the pace of life so laid back. You could buy a cup of coffee for a mark (or .60 US) and that with whipped cream on top. Just order "Kavu sa slagom." Bosnia inherited their coffee culture from the Turks who ruled Bosnia for over 400 Years. (1463-1878)
Even if you didn't know their language there was always someone in a shop or on the street that knew English. In fact, the young people start to learn English in the lower grades. And Bihas has a University with an English Library called the "American Corner."
It is right by the bridge leading from the Main part of town to the island park. Right before the bridge turn left and go down the steps and you are there. Island park, oh yes, there are two parks in Bihac one on an island in the middle of the Una River and on the south side of the main part of town on the bank of the Una.
Early in October we met up with Danijel Loncar who was also visiting here from
the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. One day he asked, "Do you want to come with me to one
of the prettiest places you will ever see?" "Where is that?" I ask, "Hop in and I'll take you."
We were excited to see where this place was. He headed north out of town and turned onto a road where the sign said "Klokot." Heading west we went left at a fork in the road and soon a small river appeared, it was the Klokot River. Then the road headed straight for a stretch for about a half mile. There were very nice homes on the right, some might be for rent - you can go on the web and rent homes and apartments through Airbnb here in Bosnia. And on the left was a stretch of land along the Klokot like a park with places to sit. Every so often evidently each family had made a place to come and enjoy the river.
Some places were better kept up with the grass cut and patios with tables and seats of concrete. We reached a place where the road curved away from the river and on the left was a place to park a car. So, we parked, Danijel said he would come here because he could get a signal on his cell phone from Croatia over the mountains off in the distance.
He did business on the internet he needed to check on. We walked back down by the river which I later found out is the main source of water for the town. It came from a spring off near the mountains and the water is very cold and so clear. What a beautiful October day, the sun shining down on the green and yellow landscape! I had to take some pictures.
Time was running out as we talked about our trip with John and his wife. There was also when we went down to Sarajevo the Capital of Bosnia with its old Turkish part of the City. But we said we would have to visit another time - so much to talk about.