Anela and I had already made plans through the Couchsurfing website to meet up before I even arrived in Sarajevo. When she met me at the bus station to show me to my guest house, we confirmed that the next day, we would hike to Skakavac Falls. At 321 feet, it is Europe’s second highest waterfall, falling behind only Austria’s Krimml Waterfalls.
Skakavac translates into “grasshopper” in English. It is named from its stream of origin, which follows the peak of Bukovik and then flows into the Perak creek. The start of the trail is located about seven miles from Sarajevo, and then a five mile loop trail will guide you through wildflowers, grassland, and forest to the waterfall. Some people describe the trail as “rugged,” but I would call is easy-moderate. It is definitely not accessible for people with mobility devices, and the steep spiral staircases could present difficulties for young children or the elderly, but a reasonably healthy adult can comfortably finish the trek in a few hours.
Anela and I met up with her friend Helena, and her daughter Dragona. The four of us drove together in Helena’s Ford Fiesta to the trail head (Helena and I have the same car!) and stopped at a rustic cafe called Kafana Prohama to embolden our spirits first. Alena and Helena wanted me to sample raki, a sweet, herbal aperitif popular in Serbia and Bosnia. The cafe owner was excited to share from his personal bottle, a batch distilled with pine needles. I can’t say I loved it, and during my travels through the Balkans, I was able to limit my consumption of raki to twice. The second time was while a guest with a local family in Nis, Serbia.
Interestingly and perhaps synchronistically, both Anela and Helena had been to the United States each once before. Of all the 3.8 million square miles that is America, they had both separately visited southwestern Ohio. Anela has friends in the northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area where I am currently staying, and Helena had gone to Dayton to participate in the 1995 Dayton Accords, which ended the Bosnian War. I felt a camaraderie with these two women and with Helena’s shy daughter, and the experience reminded me of the importance of staying open to new social connections while traveling. As an INFP, it is much easier for me to stay independent and follow my own flow in life, but forming connections with other positively-aligned humans will reaffirm my energetic path.