What Europe has lost.
It's a sad fact that most news stories about Bosnia and Herzegovina that make English language news sites tend not to be happy ones. The article from this week's Economist that landed in my Facebook inbox this week would be a good example. While I don't believe you, me or the international community at large should ignore the issues this kind of journalism highlights it is important to offer proof of the positives of this place. As an example of this I present this quote from an article a friend posted on my Facebook wall last night.
“The country described sometimes as the heart between the mouths of two lions, hosts one of the two greatest tracks of primeval forests in Europe, unmatched biodiversity, daunting mountain faces yet to be climbed, deep gorges yet to be traversed, wild rivers with water so pure you can cup your hand to drink, some of the highest concentrations of wildlife, and perhaps the last highland tribes of semi-nomadic peoples on the continent. In many ways, Bosnia today has what the rest of Europe has lost.”
It was a brief travelogue piece: perhaps not the finest piece of writing in the world but the reaction of someone who'd clearly been taken by surprise by their Bosnia and Herzegovina experience. It wasn't an April fool; I checked the date and it was written in September 2009. Whatever might have happened politically or economically since then it is safe to say that the mountains and gorges, rivers and forests still present the same, largely unspoilt, opportunities for would be adventurers. Anyone hungry for an off-the-beaten-track holiday in Europe could do worse than investigating what Bosnia and Herzegovina has to offer. Don't say you haven't been told!
(After Wednesday's post it would be wrong to ignore that fact today FIFA and UEFA have suspended the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina – something that only goes to prove my opening sentence!)