It was not just an adventure, it was a personal journey…
After I spent last summer kayaking a few times on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria, I couldn’t wait to get back on track. The rafting seemed like the perfect adventure to kick off the year. I didn’t know what to expect. That’s why I’m thankful to you guys for your feedback, experience, and encouragement you shared with me in this Facebook post.
Rafting was something new and exciting! It was more, and at the same time, less than what I expected. Due to some extra challenges on the way, I learnt some very important life lessons from this trip, too. But more about that later.
8 am in the morning, still sleepy but excited (you can see it in my eyes) and getting ready for rafting. Photo by the annoying Andrey Andreev.
#RaftingTara – adrenaline, waterfalls and swimming in cold waters
A total of 12 people – travel bloggers from Bulgaria and some friends, travelled from Sofia to Bosnia and Herzegovina for a day. On the way, we passed by Serbia and stopped in Mecavnik – the wooden town of Emir Kusturitsa. We arrived Rafting Center Drina-Tara in Bosnia and Herzegovina late, had dinner and went straight to bed. In the morning, we were ready to have some fun!
I imagined rafting would be hours of endless paddling, battling with the water rapids and basically fighting for our lives. Haha! That would be a cool post idea – Rafting in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Fighting for your life in the cold waters of Tara. But, no, Maria. Get back to reality! The real experience was slightly different.
To get to our starting point, we crossed the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro (and that was the 4 country in our trip). Eight of us plus our instructor – Georgio, a.k.a “Yache, yache” guy (which means ‘stronger’ duh), hopped on the raft. There was a short briefing explaining the most important things we should know about rafting – you know, things like “how not to die while rafting”. After the pep talk, we were ready to go.
With mutual efforts, team spirit and lots of screaming and laughing we quickly learnt how to own the raft. Well, at least I think we did. With a little bit of English, Serbian and Bulgarian we strictly followed the directions of our ‘captain’ and started our amazing rafting journey which many times looked like this:
As I said, I imagined that rafting will be always paddling in crazy river rapids and fighting for our lives all the time. There were a few extreme points when I was definitely scared. I even fell in the boat a few times. Indeed, the adrenaline and fear were what made the adventure super exciting.
However, most of the time we were in calm waters, telling jokes and laughing to our scary faces and screams from the minute before. We had the chance to swim in the cold waters and stop for a rest next to a beautiful waterfall.
Four hours later, we reached the Rafting Center. I heard laughter, jokes and comparing stories hours after the adventure ended. It could’ve not been better! Of course, every good thing comes to an end.
What rafting on Tara thought me about life and people
Even though the rafting adventure was supposed to be all candies and rainbows, it wasn’t. After the great day, the weather went back to crazy cold, it started raining and basically ruined the rest of the trip and the other activities for some people. Many times I heard overly dramatic stories and negative talks that couldn’t really let me enjoy my time. This was not for me.
I want to spend time with people who’d be a great company for laughing, sarcastic jokes and unraveling conspiracy stories (yes, I believe we may be living in a virtual reality and all of this may not be real). The people are an important part of the trip itself. So I learnt my lesson.
Travelling with the right people is a huge part of the experience itself. It can make a difference. I knew it before and even wrote about it but I guess I need to remind myself how important is your surrounding from time to time.
I believe the experience comes from within. You chose to be happy or to complain. Choosing the first one doesn’t mean I ignore the bad side of the situation. It means I decide to focus on the positive experience rather on negative. I choose to learn my lesson and continue my way. That way I can ensure my trip will be good.
I also believe that if you can’t make your vacation worth it yourself, I don’t see how you can expect someone else to do that for you. Sharing the same philosophy with your travel buddies can boost your experience to the sky.
So I chose to be happy, do you?
Sun, smiles and jumps with Sany from SunAndSany.com (left) and Mims from Andrey-Andreev.com (right).
About Rafting Center Drina-Tara
Rafting Center Drina-Tara was our host for this trip. The camp can accommodate up to 230 people at once. There are bungalows for 2, 3 and 4 people. A few of them are with inside bathrooms and showers. Other guests can use the common showers, sinks, and toilets which are located 50 meters from the bungalows.
The houses are not heated. You should bring warm clothes and check the weather forecasts in advance. Bring a second pair of shoes, too. The bungalows are not big but I think the space is enough. With that much nature around, who needs to stay in the house for more than the night sleep.
The place is not for everyone. I had no problems with the camping conditions but some people were surprised. To avoid disappointment, here are a few notes to consider in advance:
✔ Be ready for basic accommodation conditions – it’s a camp, it’s not a 5-star hotel.
✔ Bring your own towels and toiletries.
✔ The showers, toilets, and sinks are outside – 50 meters away from the bungalows.
✔ A pillow and 2 blankets are provided in each bungalow.
✔ There is a restaurant with food and drinks on site (rakia too;).
✔ There is one electrical contact in each bungalow plus a few more in the restaurant area – that’s where you can charge your gadgets.
✔ The hot water in the showers was over after the first 10-15 people so expect to wait your turn. The sinks outside run only cold water.
Services in Rafting Center Drina-Tara
The rafting center has an outside restaurant so you won’t be left hungry or thirsty. It’s an open area with a big camp fire near the bar. For a better view of the river, there are tables on the outside porch, too.
One word for the food: Delicious. We were all taken care pretty well in terms of freshly prepared breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Plus, a vegetarian menu is available on demand. Warm tea and coffee, local rakia, beer, and wine are also options to choose from. The staff was friendly and the people were warm. They answered every question or caprice we had. Plus, they laughed at some of my jokes (and I’m not funny at all)! Who does that, really!
There is a bit slow but existent Wi-Fi connection in the camp. So don’t worry, you’ll be able to upload your photos on Instagram. I was even able to do some work on my laptop while I was there. What’s better than that…
Rafting Center Drina-Tara
|Facebook / Instagram|
|N: 43.36888 43°22’08” |
E: 18.79638 18°47’47”
|Bosnia and Herzegovina|
Now I’m back in Sofia and ready for new adventures, but this time – with the right people. I still don’t know what my summer is going to be. I was just in Bucharst, I want to spend more time in Slovenia in the next months, where I work. Then I’m headed to Ireland for TBEX in October. Between all of that, I can’t wait to see what life has prepared for me.
Have any of your travel experiences thought you any important life lessons?
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