White Water Rafting

Before I came to Bosnia, I didn’t really have much of a bucket list of things that I wanted to do this summer but there was one thing on it: white water rafting. When I realized that we’d be driving through Konjic on our way back from Mostar on Friday, I figured it would be the perfect time to go rafting on the Neretva River. I managed to convince a friend to join, booked a last-minute room in a guesthouse and off we went. We lucked out with the guesthouse location as it ended up being really close to the meeting point for our rafting adventure.

We met up with our rafting companions at a restaurant on Saturday morning. Breakfast was included in the trip so we had steaming hot donuts with kajmak and the day was off to a great start. We then piled into a van for the 45-minute drive to the entry point on the river. The mountains between Konjic and Mostar are unreal. I could stare at them for hours and never get tired of them. Once we got to the entry point, we unloaded the gear and put on our wetsuits. We “helped” carry the raft down to the river but I really wasn’t of much help. I held onto the rope as a sign of solidarity but I don’t think I carried much of the weight. To be fair though, the group was moving down the hill so fast that I was just holding on and trying not to wipe out. The river was so cold but it was absolutely beautiful. The water was so clear that you could see the bottom of the river the entire way.

I’ve rafted a couple of times before but this was my first international rafting experience. I figured that the guide would have some type of safety spiel but he just showed us how to hold the paddle and where to sit and that was about it. We just hopped on the raft and away we went. The guide would sometimes tell us the commands in English, such as “left paddle, right paddle, all together,” but he usually said the commands in Bosnian so we didn’t always know what was going on. We would just be going down the rapids and the commands would get louder and louder but we didn’t know if we were supposed to be paddling forward, backwards, on the left, on the right, or ducking into the middle. Needless to say, we had a blast. I figured that if five out of the seven people on the raft knew what was going on, that was probably good enough. At one point, we apparently didn’t follow directions very well and the raft got stuck on some rocks in the middle of a rapid. The guide got out and tried to push us around but when I looked back at one point, he had disappeared. Apparently there was a drop-off that he fell into but he got our raft off the rocks in no time.

The scenery from the raft was amazing. We rode through several canyons, some of which were massive. We also saw some underground springs that led to the river, which was really cool. We stopped a couple of times along the way to swim and have a snack. After the trip, we got dropped back off at the restaurant. Lunch was also included in the trip but we didn’t have time to sit around because we had to catch a bus back to Sarajevo. We got our food to-go and then got dropped off at the bus stop. We didn’t have any utensils to eat with so we just ate with our hands and the food was delicious. The bus pulled up right as we finished and the timing couldn’t have been better. Overall, it was a really good day and I’m entertaining the idea of rafting the Tara before I leave Bosnia.

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