Monday, December 22, 2014

The Forgotten Valley [Part 1/3]: Drive into the Unknown

It's interesting how the familiar can become strange and change into the unknown. Places that we know and visit often, can open up for us, and give way to roads that lead us to new places. And in the case of my latest venture, this proved to be more true then ever. The valley, which we will be visiting in this series is located behind the mountains Velez and Rujiste.

For you to be able to arrive at this location, you have to take a small side road to the village Zijemlje, once you arrive on top of the mountain Rujiste. This road bends, ever so unnoticeable, around the mountain, and goes downhill, leading you to this forgotten valley, located at the foot of two very prominent mountains of south Herzegovina. In this photo series I will present to you the sights we captured there...

This is a multi-part travel series. Other parts include:
Part One: Drive into the Unknown
Part Two: The Village Zijemlje
Part Three: Remains of Years Past

click on the images for a bigger view


Familiar Sights

For some, this upcoming shot will be familiar. If you recall my recent trip to the mountain Rujsite, you will remember that I made a road trip, down this road that ultimately lead nowhere, since it's not finished. Our journey this time, took us to the opposite side and to a whole new place, but as we started our trip this familiar sight greeted me on the way.



Our Road Trip

I went on this trip with my friend Selma. It was a fresh Saturday afternoon, as we stopped the car on the side of the road to enjoy some sights that were in front of us. The cold mountain air up here is very enjoyable. Beyond words, really. It clears your lungs up, and infuses you with an undeniable freshness.

We spotted a few houses along the way, but mostly the fields were bare and stripped of any trees, vegetation or civilization. The road is not paved in this part of the trip, so I had to drive slowly through the rocky road. My Toyota Yaris is not really build for this type of travel. In fact, later on we saw some jeeps that drove through the scenery, seemingly untouched and undisturbed by the conditions of the roads. Nevertheless, we had to do with what we had. Driving slowly had another upside: we could take in the landscapes even better!



Animals in the Mountains

The landscapes on our drive into the valley were not completely abandoned. In the next three images you will see some cows that were brought out for pasture into the fields. The first shot, shows one of them looking right to our car. I don't think they see many passersby here, and certainly not many in red cars. Actually, all of the cows in the next few shots stopped what they were doing as we drove by and looked at us. This just showed us how lonely and forgotten these regions are.




The Edge of the Valley

As we continued our drive, the mountains gave way to the valley. The road started going downhill, until we eventually arrived at the outer edge of the valley. Winter had taken most from the vegetation here, but luckily, blue skies on that day, gave enough beauty to the backdrops, in order to take some interesting shots.



Loneliness Along the Way

As I said, there isn't much life here. Until we arrived in the small village Zijemlje, that barely counts as a populated place itself, we spotted a few houses here and there, dotted in the wast landscapes. Some resembled places were people live nowadays, but most of them were ruins, obviously showing their loneliness. Somehow the whole valley is stripped of life, but not in a bad way. There is a certain stillness here, that transcends into peacefulness.
 

We also saw a few small houses here that seemed to be lived in. I wonder what happens to these people when snow starts to cover up everything. It seems that they have to deal with very harsh living conditions in winter. Of course, the upside is, that the summers, which are usually very hot in the southern regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are very enjoyable here.



A Special Kind of Roadblock

We had made our way to the paved part of the road, just outside of the village Zijemlje. Beautiful, idyllic landscapes were on both right and left sides of the road. But what was in front of us, proved to be more interesting. A white horse was standing in the middle of the road, not moving an inch, standing still. I approached it with the car and came very close to it. Still no movement. Eventually, as the car was so close to it, that we could see it in full detail, the horse moved (slowly of course) to the right and gave us space to pass. Maybe it wanted to collect some kind of road toll.


You shall not pass!


End of Part One
To be continued...


I hope you have enjoyed the sights of the travel so far, and I also hope to see you back on Wednesday for Part Two, where we will arrive to the old village Zijemlje in the center of the valley.


44 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos! I love the stillness and unspoiled beauty of places like this.

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  2. I love it! You shall not pass! Great beginning to this series. What a remote area.

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    1. It's really remote and secluded. Those were our first impressions from the valley as well.

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  3. The light in these shots is perfect. It looks a great area to explore.

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  4. beautiful terrain. love the 'toll collector'. :)

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  5. There is some very beautiful scenery in this series of shots. I love the white horse standing in the road.

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  6. Maybe the horse was just a fascinated by the strange car as the cows were--LOL! :)

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  7. Great shots that remind me a bit of the dry parts of Central Oregon. Perhaps the horse is a reincarnated apparatchik from the old days..... Naaaaaa. Really good stuff, Mersad.

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    1. I don't know man. That horse was very strange. :)

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  8. Such gorgeous country! Excellent landscapes!

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  9. Such stunning scenery, looks so peaceful and I love that last shot. great fun

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  10. So very far away from bustling civilisation. So refreshing. And the horse looks as if he may be checking your credentials. Gorgeous photos.

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  11. Fascinating images.It does look like a lonely place.

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  12. Great beginning of a new series. Looks like you and Selma had a good adventure. The horse just wanted to know if you had some spare sugar cubes or perhaps a carrot. Look forward to the rest of the series.

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  13. Divne fotke, ali prva je magicno posebna!

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  14. Schon irre wie frei die Tiere dort grasen und laufen....finde ich toll, diese Weite des Landes, die Natur überhaupt, und du hast sie durch deine Fotos ganz toll in Szene gesetzt. Echt klasse!!!

    Wünsche dir einen schönen Tag und sende liebe Grüsse

    N☼va

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  15. Curious place this forgotten valley. Your pictures make me want to go and look at this place for myself. Looking forward to the rest of this series!

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  16. Beautiful scenery. It looks desolate now but I bet it comes alive with color in spring summer and fall.

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  17. Beautiful. Your photographs are all very saturated and colorful. That last photo -- of the horse standing in the middle of the road -- should be printed and framed.

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    1. Thank you so much Jack. Coming from you that's high praise.

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  18. Your photographs are gorgeous! I love the horse and your humorous description.

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  19. Wow, the scenery is gorgeous.. I love the valley and mountains..The cute farms and animals.. And the horse in the road is a cool sighting.. Awesome photos, Mersad! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  20. so beautiful photos, so beautiful scenery.

    wish you and yours a very merry christmas and a joyous new year! :)

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  21. Forgotten but truly beautiful! Happy Christmas, Mersad.

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  22. Must have been a really nice drive. Love that last photo...made me laugh :-) Did you have to sit there for very long before it moved? Merry Christmas.

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    1. Not very long, but it seemed like an awful lot of time in those minutes. :)

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  23. Lovely series...definitely off the beaten path♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/never-gets-old/

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  24. Irgendwie wirkt dieses Tal mit seiner kargen Einfachkeit sehr beiindruckend. Die erste Fotos haben fast was mit Westernfilmstimmung für mich und das letzte Bild ist einfach super.
    Liebe Grüße und frohe Weihnachten

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  25. Very interesting travel log. It is always interesting when you take us on tours of your 'neck of the woods'.

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  26. I like very much your new blog layout, humm I wanna be able to do the same in my one
    but HTML language isn't my best knowledge
    My best wishes for a great winter holidays
    Stefano

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  27. Absolutely gorgeous, Mersad!!! Merry Christmas to you. :)

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  28. the trees in number 11, the cows and the horse in the middle of the road are my favorites, my most favorite is the one with the TREES number 13... amazing photos but then they always are.

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  29. what a beautiful place! Wishing you much joy in this season of love.

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  30. Oh, how fun! IT's amazing what you can find when you look around. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  31. I never cease to learn from your posts and to admire not just your photography but the journeys you travel and the places you show us.

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  32. What wonderful area and light you had that day.
    Thanks a lot for cheering this with us.

    Wish that your Christmas was great. Have a nice start of 2015 too.
    http://tillklippt.blogspot.se/

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  33. Beautiful photos. I like how you differentiated between lonely and peaceful. Maybe the horse doesn't like red cars. LOL. I loved my red Toyota when I had it. I wish you a very Happy Holiday season... Michelle

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  34. Gorgeous photos of some amazing countryside! Yep, you might think about getting a jeep! :-) Love the rolling mountains, the stone wall, the farmhouse and animals, and those amazing skies. It's all gorgeous!

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  35. WAY warmer than my present weather will allow!

    ROG, ABCW

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  36. Thanks for the ride in this almost beautiful , sometimes empty country. In Australia you need four-wheel driven cars if you want to drive on dirt roads.
    What I miss in your post is a reference to the ABC on Wednesday meme.Or did I overlook it? in that case I am sorry.
    Have a great weekend.!
    Wil, ABCW Team

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  37. I like the way the road leads your eye to the mountains in the distance. Now that's what I call a roadblock. - Margy

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  38. So lovely Mersad! What an enjoyable drive. I like the crisp mountain air too...so clean!

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