Visiting The Grand Una River
Driving up north towards Bihac… I drove along the grand majestic Una river in the north, a giant shiny snake that has a total length of over 200km. It flows from a mountain in Croatia but flows mostly on Bosnian soil. It brings not only fresh water to the locals, but it also brings tourists to admire its beauty especially during the summer season. The water is so fresh and clean… the colour is blue and sometimes green… melting the heart of anyone who come to admire its beauty. Just by looking at it, I felt like the creator of all is telling me in a strange language, wait until you see the heaven… this is just a small preview. I reached the small city of Bihac in the north and walked around the city. The Una river flows through this city. It is shockingly clean here even though the river flows through this city… seems that the river is too beautiful perhaps nobody here wants to pollute it.
While in Bihac, I met a local guy, Redzo, who live nearby in a village of Cazin, not so far from Bihac city. We never met before but knew each other on Facebook since almost 3 years ago. At first I thought he just added me as a friend to follow my cycling adventure since there were so many people I never know from many countries been adding me on FB and I just accepted everyone’s requests. But after we met I learned that he knew me from an old friend of mine, who studied together in the same school back in KL long time ago. Sometimes I think its amazing to think about the impact of the Internet to our lives. Many generations ago, this would be very rare but now its a normal thing to have friends all over the world and keeping in touch with everyone no matter where we are in the planet.
I then drove and followed him back to his place in the village of Cazin and once I reached his neighbourhood in Cazin village, I started the experience the hospitality of Bosnian people. I was greeted by his parents, it was a really warm welcome especially by his mother. They were expecting me for days since I started driving out of Sarajevo. And they were so happy that I finally made it here to Cazin village and to my surprise, my room was ready and I can stay in their house as long as I want. They prepared my room really well and it looks like a 5 star hotel. This level of hospitality reminds me of the Nordic people, in Sweden, Finland and Norway. It seems that they have learned the ancient rule of hospitality and understand it well. Many generations before us, they really cherish musafir people (travellers). Most believe that whatever way they treat the musafir people… it will get back to them and their children. So if they give them the best food and the best place to sleep in the house, they believe that god will treat them back exactly how they treat the musafir… and the same to their sons once they are gone… and to their grandsons once their sons are gone…
We then spent time together visiting beautiful places along the river of Una and to my surprise, we were the only one there. There are no tourists… none! If these same places are in China, I would imagine thousands of tourists all over these places everyday… and there might be tons of hawkers along the river selling fruits and drinks and souvenirs. Redzo told me that these places will be full only during summer. I realized that majority of tourists come to Bosnia are drawn to visit historical places…castles, tunnels, towers and bridges that are mostly have stories from the war in the past 20 years or even way before. This maybe the result of their country’s tourism marketing, who sees it as their main potential. It is surely interesting to learn about their historical places but it seems to me that Bosnia Herzegovina has another potential which I believe will shine soon… their natural beauty. I learned that they just recently opened the Una National Park… which is only the 3rd National Park in the country. There is much more can be done here… nature here are mostly untouched.