Do You Crave a Weekend Away?
How often do you dream of a relaxing weekend just for you? Two days where you can do as little or as much as you want!
Do you wait for the perfect moment, for a bit of a break in your budget to go for pampering to a fancy hotel with an aromatherapy massage, jacuzzi, a specialized healthy menu?
There will be no five-star pampering in this story. This is about creating an affordable, perfectly adequate, and welcomed ‘relax’ weekend.
You see, for a very long time, my mantra has been to do what I can with what I have right now.
And right now I have a friend with some time, a husband willing to stay home with the kids and a beautiful mountain about 30 minutes away from my home in Mostar.
So, my friend and I took the opportunity and headed off, right after work, on a Friday.
We had one goal for the weekend – to relax. And we were going to do that by talking, walking, reading and/or journaling. We thought we would throw in meditation or even some yoga.
It was going to be our very own relax weekend.
The mountain is called Rujiste, at Mount Prenj. It is a relatively gentle uphill drive from Mostar. Rujiste’s highest peak is 1703 m. It has a small ski field on it complete with a rope tow for the winter months. But the mountain is also (if not more) popular during the spring and summer months among local folks.
It offers myriads of (free) activities, all of which you can organize yourself and according to your own level of fitness and interest. These include hiking, biking, herb collecting, exercising, drinking cold fresh water from a natural spring, eating in the restaurant of the Snjezna kuca motel.
I love going there for some traditional around the year Bosnian bean stew (grah), which, truly, honestly, is one of the best ones I ever tasted.
There are marked hiking and biking trails towards Velež, Nevesinje, Mostar, Prenj & Lake Boracko. The trail to Bijele vode takes about 3 hours to walk, and the one to Lake Boracko about 4 hours. Rujiste is also part of the Via Dinarica White Trail hiking route.
There is also a so-called Trail of Health (Staza zdravlja) operating from March to November with built-in exercise equipment and various challenges, about 1100 m in length and perfect for some light exercising. And walking.
Rujiste boasts an endemic kind of pine tree called munika only found in the central and west Balkans – in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.
We stayed at the Snjezna kuca motel at a room rate of 40KM per person, which included a hefty breakfast.
On the first evening, after we had unpacked and I had excitedly chosen to sleep on top of a bunk bed, we took a short walk just to breathe in the fresh mountain air.
They say that munika trees enhance the benefits of breathing in the clean air at Rujiste.
We went back to our room to a dinner of natural fruit salad that my friend had prepared just before she picked me up. It was large enough to fill all the spaces, so we weren’t hungry and after a longish chat, we read a little and went to sleep.
Deep, uninterrupted, sleep.
On day one we woke up in time for breakfast. We were the only guests in the motel that morning (maybe because of the pandemic, we did this in June 2020) and we got to order an ala carte breakfast.
While the pura was ok, the peksimeti proved to be too much. We had planned to go hiking after breakfast, returning around 5 or 6 pm. We even had our backpacks packed and everything.
However, the hefty breakfast was too hefty and because it was our relaxing weekend, we decided just to go back to the room and take a small rest.
We talked, napped and I journaled on the bunk bed.
It was amazing not to have to answer to anyone’s needs. My phone provider didn’t have a signal (only BH Telecom currently provides a signal there) so I truly ‘detoxed’. Of course, the motel has wifi.
Around 12 pm, we decided to start our hike. It probably wasn’t the best timing as it was pretty hot. We just followed one of the trails. We didn’t veer off the trail anywhere because we were worried about snakes (we did see a few, they run from you, but still, not a pleasant encounter)
We walked and rested. And admired the tiny mountain homes dotted around the mountainside.
We encountered other people on our walk, some doing the same tuning as we did, strolling and talking, while others were collecting herbs.
We ended our wander at a natural spring where we refilled our bottles and sat for over an hour enjoying the sun and just relaxing on the grass.
Back to our motel, exhausted but not very hungry, we had a cup of tea on the terrace before heading to our room for a shower, some more talking, some more reading, and some more journaling.
We had a few pieces of fruit. No dinner. A real kind of ‘detox’ after all.
On the second day, we woke up and were a bit smarter about choosing our breakfast. Pura and some toast. And off we wandered, but this time we took a different route. There are many to choose from.
As many of the little houses are marked as “for rent” we took note of a few we liked and decided to book a weekend with our families next time.
It really can be that simple. And yet, I felt the calming effects of it for weeks to come.
The fact that we deliberately to cut down on our food really helped make the weekend feel detoxing.
So, from the point of view of someone who doesn’t necessarily strive for adventure but just wanted a simple (and affordable) relax weekend, we got exactly what we needed.