Tuesday, 30 August 2011

We'll back after the break!



Our summer activities are over; our summer holiday is just a little way ahead, around the corner. For the young people we've been working with this summer, yesterday's highlight was probably the water slide at Aquana, in Banja Luka. Either that or the opportunity to tease me, a Spurs supporter, about Dzeko's four goals for Manchester City at the weekend. In the interests of impartiality I left a bit of both in the video.

We now have a month before we resume Novi Most courses and activities here in Jajce. I probably don't need to point out that is not the same as a month's holiday but, there, I did anyway! Our holiday is booked for later in the month. My only concern is that although the sunshine and the temperature yesterday spoke clearly of summer still being here the trees on the drive back had definitely decided autumn is on its way. Give it a couple of weeks and who know where we'll be. Well, we know where we'll be; we just hope the good weather will still be hanging around for us!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

An Unintentionally Aquatic Finale



My last post might have made it sound like anything in Jajce involving water and tourism was experiencing something of a hiatus at the moment. Of course, that isn't the whole picture. This evening, for the first time, we rented a boat from outside Hotel Plivsko Jezero and spent a lazy hour soaking up the early evening sun on the lake. As you can see for the video, the boat had a small electric motor, running off what was basically an oversized car battery. It was slow and almost silent. Although my last experience in a boat involved a powerful engine, an exciting turn of speed and vast stretches of Finnish water I think Jajce's lakes, and this evening's excursion, benefit from their lack of the noisy elements of watersport. Tranquil would be a word well used to describe the experience.

This little adventure was part of an unintentionally aquatic finale to our Novi Most summer activities with young people in Jajce. Yesterday, we had the first social gathering between young people from Novi Most's three locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostar's Gradski Bazen - it's outdoor pool - was where most of the hanging out took place. Our final trip takes us to Banja Luka, on Monday, for a second visit to the aqua park there. For a first summer of organising activities in Jajce I think we can say things have gone fantastically well. We're in the process of getting some official feedback from the young people but the fact they've kept coming back speaks for itself.

This evening was a first for us, it probably was for many of them too. But it wasn't the first first we've made possible this summer. Insights in the other firsts will, however, have to wait until another post.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

No waterfall



Jajce really is very pretty in the summer; sitting, nestled amongst the green mountains, under a clear blue sky, its various water features sparkling in the sunlight. I could start writing things about an other-worldly beauty but I fear the 'pretentious police' might put in an appearance. Besides, some would say this would not be Bosnia if there were not some way of bringing overly romantic thoughts crashing back down to reality. For Jajce, this summer paint and pile-drivers provide the answer.

The main pedestrian bridge in one of the prettiest parts of town has been undergoing noisy, if necessary, reconstruction for the past two months. That this coincides with the height of summer and has almost certainly affected the number of visitors to the AVNOJ museum - effectively stranded on the wrong side of the river - is unfortunate, to say the least. I would add that the bridge being out of action robs tourists of easy access to the best views of Jajce's waterfall. However, for the last week the waterfall has been 'switched off' to allow the essential engineering works that have been happening below it for some months to expand. I'm sure, one day, the magic will return, but until then there are machines and what appears to be an homage to Heath Robinson.