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.


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