The weather forecast proves to be right: when I wake up, rays of sunlight are lighting up my room. I have a quick breakfast, and drive to the lakes I want to explore. The river Pliva has been dammed, creating a small and big lake just a few kilometres upstream from Jajce. I buy some food and water for the day, park at a campsite, and talk to the friendly guy there who draws me a makeshift map of the way to a track around the lakes. First, I walk to a series of old, small wooden watermills, right on top of the cascades, built by the Ottomans to grind wheat. I notice that the water level is very high: a few wooden bridges which would allow access to the other side of the water are flooded, and tree trunks have their feet in the water. Indeed, the guy at the camping told me it had rained for three weeks. I now have to walk up the cascades, on a trail just above the mills, and continue until I come to a small waterfall where the water is pushed through a narrow channel from the big Pliva lake to the lower small Pliva lake. On the other side, I take a trail to the right, as suggested on the makeshift map I just got. The trail climbs higher and higher, giving me some great views over the green lake below me, and mountain ranges in the distance topped by snow.
Now, I see a track right at the shoreline below me. Indeed, I wonder where the tunnel is that the guy had referred to. I decide to stay right on track, hoping there will be a way to descend later on. The track is wide, and looks serious: a 4WD could drive on it. But it skirts always more away from the lake, and this worries me. Who knows where it is heading to? There are no signs, no houses, no people to ask. I consider trying to walk down the hillside, but I am almost 200 metres above the shoreline, and have no idea if I can actually reach the lake. So - I continue, until I see a couple of houses in the distance below me. I am sure that if I manage to reach them, I will also reach the lake. I leave the track at a small, abandoned building stands at an open space, and I work my way through the bushes to a small stream, getting scratches on my arms. When the vegetation opens, I am happy: I am at the top of a field belonging to one of the houses. From here, it gets easy: I walk down ot the house, where I can hear dogs barking - without ever seeing them. When I am finally at the lake, and look back the direction I came from, I notice the entrance of a tunnel. I have time, and decide to walk there; I walk through, and find out that I should have turned left, instead of right.
My hike around the lake now starts for real. I take a short break to eat something, and continue walking the shoreline of the emerald water. The track is suitable for cars, but I only meet two cyclists, before I reach the village of Jezero - simply meaning "lake" in the local language. Here, too, I see that the river has swollen: it is about to flood its banks. When I reach the main road, I know that the nicest part of the hike is behind me: from now on, I will walk this road. According to one map I saw, there should be a trail higher up, but I don't find a trace of it. I pass a huge sign saying marking the border between Bosnia and the Republic Srpska - one of the reminders that only two decades ago, this was a country at war. The walk back is a little less nice, because of the traffic, but when the main road veers to the left, and I can continue straight, I am back at the tranquil waters of the Big Lake. The afternoon sunlight is reflected on the surface of the lake, I am walking in a sea of light.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pliva Lakes (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pliva Lakes.
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