Postcards: Soča River

A mountain princess in an emerald wedding dress, for centuries, resisting a rocky cage.
Freedom and eternal rebellion give this river a spirit of divinity, some kind of humanly feature amazes you while you stare in the merciless depth of one of the mighty creators of this wonderful world.

I invite you, dear reader, also, to read a poem I wrote dedicated to Soča’s beauty:

https://sabrinamazzora.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/prayer-to-soca/

Best wishes,
Mazzora

Magic of the Romania

The only witness of being near the sea was a scent of salt carried with the fresh wind of night …

We parked in front of a small local shop in the village of Vadu which in the morning rise of a sun reminded me so much of some old Spanish provincial and abandoned towns, that wild flamenco of gypsies entered my ears and filled my soul with both wilderness and sorrow.

A village was empty, people were asleep. The only awaken creatures were storks feeding their youngsters and thus maintaining the silence of a village. The same was not true for geese. Walking down the dusty street in the tight group they were as like discussing wild dreams they had over the night, competing in which one is going to tell it faster and loudlier. Even though it wasn’t their intention nor wish, their passionate discussion woke up the human dwellers.

Walking down the narrow, long and straight road, eyes rested on the yellow fields of wheat. Every now and then a red poppy would appear, creating the image both more real and majestic. In the distance, where fields ended and converted into dried meadow shepherd with his sheep appeared. With his long wooden stick, he scared a flock of black crows, which then covered in their flight a blue sky over the field of wheat.

Finally, sand…and view on the waves of the Black sea. Caught between military base and refinery, Corbu beach, struggled to give people what belonged to them: rest and peace. Cold and wild waves of Black sea making an endless line of the most unique shells which testify of abundant life that takes place in its, what appears at first glance, merciless waters.

Paysage that makes you wonder about everything we think we know and everything we will never know. …

photographies: Aleksandar Mazzora
https://aleksandarmazzora.wixsite.com/mazzora

 

Estepona. A name of my dream.

I went there to fulfill a dream of a child I once were. Instead, I again became a child and gained new dreams which I continue to follow. But still, Estepona remained unachieved and therefore the most special place I visit through my thoughts and my dreams.

When life gets hard from where you come from, sometimes the best thing to do is to run.

And I ran.

 

I stopped where I felt that the sun is strong enough to warm my heart. Where the playfulness of wind would awake once lost childishly spirit in me. And where a sound of an untamed sea would remind me that human too is a free and wild creature.

Amazed that my route has brought me so far, I stood there, on a sandy beach, and stared at a coast of Africa. Never, in my dreams, have I imagined that I would be once so near it. Gibraltar’s rocks sparkled in an orange sunset rays of late spring sun leaving me breathless in my admiration of it.

It was a calm season when I came. Unlike summer days when a town becomes flooded by tourists, I was honored to meet it in it’s “worst” edition.

And I simply love it. So much joy and celebrations. I enjoyed every day watching people preparing for a festival in which they put so much effort and love that soon their care and affection towards it transferred on me too. In the end, I was losing myself on the streets of untouristic parts of Estepona, doping myself with their temper, love for life and joy. And football of course.

Really was a dream. My days consisted of sun, sea, reading, writing, beer, laughter, flamenco, guitar, morning coffee and cigarette on a terrasse …

 

Never have I imagined that it can be possible to live it. But I did. And for what Estepona thought me is: Just take a route your heart is beating for, and there, you will find a dream you never even imagined you had.

And yet, Estepona will continue to be a dream I lived which I dream to live again.

 

photo by Aleksandar Mazzora

Big City Life

City, for me, represents a transfer of historical agony and human’s suffering to present people.

Visit of a big city fills me with sorrow and my heart gets broken while I walk down the touristic paths of a metropole. With every step on that polished artificial avenues, enormous pain awakes.

Every glorious object I see, I find it magnificent for the amount of pain that accompanied its creation. Wondering about lives of unnamed and unimportant builders, their families, about their children, I imagine their misery and I ask myself: Did they know what are they building and that someday people will come and admire their work? Was that the consolation they believed while exposing their lives to such a torture, both physical and mental, in, or they did it simply because they had to do it? Either way, these eternal objects are indeed caught in history as never lasting, as it is human sweat, tears and suffers. Architectural creations are symbols of how human is able to torture another human, and they will stay great as long as there are people admiring it.

For torture is present still today, in every construction site of a city. They are building and creating a masterpiece that will be admired by some future tourists while they live in some modest shelter, forbidden to reach a basic human dignity. Hidden from the rest of society as a disgrace and irritation never aware that in fact without their hardworking hands and sweat these architectural triumphs would never be possible.

It hurts my heart watching all those happy tourists, violent in their pleasure. They guard their enjoyment (I paid for it and I am not going to let anything to ruin it) with unreal laughter, jumping … taking pictures in every step excessively ecstatic. Selfish in their euphoria for which they paid so much money it made them blind to the cruel reality around them.

Walking down those avenues my heart shrinks more and more, while I watch reality slipping past visitors.

For there are people of the city in the streets. Each of them trying to humiliate himself to the point to be recognized by travelers. All of them, prostitutes, for one look, for one smile. And we pass by. Like that is something normal. Moreover, like they don’t exist.

We recognize them only so to judge them. To fill our egos on their misery, proving ourselves how thankful can we be for our parents, our states, our society. Mostly they serve us as an apology, an excuse for our miserable lives.

Alienation of humanity from humanity becomes so painfully obvious in a big city. People not living with, but over others. They cover other lives with their lives which will be covered with even further lives. Humiliation and disgrace became such a natural thing in a metropole that it took place of a tourist attraction.

I go, every now and then…seduced by other people’s talks and pictures…in hope to find beauty.

And for now, all I could take from the city were tears.

photo: Aleksandar Mazzora

SUTJESKA: symbol of history’s forgetfulness

 

The funeral of Josip Broz Tito was the closing theme of Requiem for Yugoslavia that started the day it was formed. 

It was a great conclusion written for millions of its citizens joined in a harmonious cry. 

Workers faced the end of their role in history.

 

FIGHT OF SUTJESTKA

In the southern Bosnia, there is one of many statues that represents Yugoslavian power and its fight for freedom.

It is the statue of the Fight of Sutjeska.

It si a symbol of the breakthrough of People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia in which they had crushed a ring which Nazi’s have formed around them in coalition with  Italians, Cossacks, and Bulgarians. They had sent 127.000 soldiers and 300 bombers to destroy the Yugoslavian army that consisted only of 18.000 partisans.

The battle took place from 27th of May until 15th of June in the year of 1943.

Tjentište, Ljubin Grob, Vučevo, Bare, Ličke Kolibe, Košuta, Popov Most, Suha, Vrbnica, Maglič and Volunjak that are placed in and around the valley of Sutjeska were sights of a revolutionary fight of the operation Nazi’s named Schwartz.

A battle was legendary. It was, at last, a justified hope for Balkan Slavs to finally become, after centuries of fights against various oppressors free and lords of their own land.

It was first of many victories to come. It was a symbol of their lust for independence.

To stay aware of their success and their power they had to crown place in a proper manner.

 

THE VALLEY OF THE HEROS

First, in the year of 1958, the ossuary was built to symbolize lives of 3.301 partisans that died for the liberation of Yugoslavia people. Above it, in the year of 1971, a massive and glorious statue was placed. It stands for partisans breakthrough to the freedom.

The Statue is work of sculptor Miodrag Živkovič. It is a masterpiece of socrealistic statue art. It consists of two symmetrically placed wings made out of white concrete. 19 meters high it was designed to perfectly fit a wilderness and the integrity of the area. Between two wings there is a passage created for the soldiers and visitors who come to pay homage to heroes and fallen soldiers. Plateau of Brigadiers is placed behind the statue. It is made out of stone ribbons on which the names of the soldiers are written. Statue was revealed in the year of 1971 by the president of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito.

There is also memorial house – an exclusive architectural work based on the idea of Dr. Dušan Plenče and art concept of Krsto Hegedušić. It was projected by the architect Ranko Radovič. They further eternalized the area with the museum, a big youth center, hotels, and 79 of monuments for national heroes. Soon Tjentište, the center of the Valley, had become a modern meeting place for those travelling around Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia put a lot of attention to a youth, so it should be mentioned that young people of  the Republic actively participated in the construction of Valley of Heroes through Youth Working Brigades. Youth Working Brigades were working groups that were strongly involved into after war reparation of Yugoslavia and the construction of new infrastructure. They were organized and conducted by volunteers. One of the greatest successes made under these brigades were the entire Yugoslavian highway of Brotherhood and Unity, part of New Belgrade, railways, hydroelectric power plants, plants etc. 

For further immortalization of in the year of 1973, a movie directed by Stipe Delić in which Richard Burton played Josip Broz Tito, was shot.

 

FROM HISTORICAL  AVNOJ TO THE REFUGEE CONVOY*

After the death of one of the most mysterious historical figures, president Tito’s, people of Yugoslavia seem to have lost the object of their admiration. As there was nothing to replace such a strong and powerful image that Tito represented in their mind they started to wander around trying to find divinity that would replace him.

As in the tale of Moses, where his people betrayed him a minute after he walked up the holy mountain, it didn’t take long for people to return and seek comfort in past tribal tradition.

After the year of 1980 deviation started. Brotherhood and unity seemed like something unreachable, something that was a lie from the very beginning. Distrust spread among the people. They’ve separated themselves on the ground of their identity which they had before Yugoslavia was formed. It was like they have been drugged for 40 years, and now, facing the sobering people realized they have been playing brotherhood with their worst enemies.

Abused as they felt by the system and former leader, they start to grow hate towards each other. They were all taking sobering pills from their new leaders, dividing even further, forgetting culture, and clearing their mind through prayers and folklore.

After years of fueling the hostility, leaders whose slogan was DIVIDE AND RULE finally got their chance. People call it civil war but for those familiar with war the thing that was going on for 4 years this period was nothing more than barbarism and vandalism in which all this suffering caused by a Yugoslavian abuse of people by making them brothers, was manifested.

First, one to be ripped off and to be destroyed and demolished were the statues and symbols of former unity. Complete destruction and performance of the most primitive and vulgar acts were spread over with a speed of a sound.

Valley of Heroes was no exception. They have demolished a memorial house and museum. The only thing that was left over was a statue. And the only reason it is standing there still now is because 1.000 kg of explosive is needed to blow it into the air. Everything, except the statue, was demolished and robbed.

IMG_8998

photo: Aleksandar Mazzora

NATIONAL PARK OF SUTJESKA

Over this battlefield, on the ground where rivers of blood have flown, a glorious nature spreads its wings.

It is an area of the oldest national park in Bosnia, and it gained its status in the year of 1965. Spreading over 17.500 hectares it embraces with beauty cruelty of history and it defies it with its kindness of a goddess.

Valley of heroes is surrounded by unique mountains, one of which is the highest peak in Bosnia, Maglič with its 2386 meters. Maglič represents the border between Montenegro and BIH, and with its unreachability, it represents quite a challenge even for the experienced climbers. It attracts hikers, mountaineers, and other lovers of nature. And if you get bored by Maglič there are also a lot of other magnificent mountains that will satisfy your need for challenging Mountaineering and Hiking. Volujak, Vučevo, Zelengora and Maglič are all part of one of the most angelic mountain range Dinardi, that spreads deeply into the Balkan Peninsula.

The name of the valley was given to it after its main creator, the river of Sutjeska. Millions of years this pearl beauty had shaped its wild way through the sole of the park.

One of the hidden world treasures that attract many international biologists to come to this place is Primeval Forest Peručica. It is assumed that forest ages 20.000 years, and it is known that there was no human interference in the life of the forest.

Peručica is home to more than 170 species of trees and bushes, and around 1.000 of different kinds of herbs, from which many of them are endemic. It is, therefore, no surprise why this are is of special scientific interest. You will find trees older than 300 years, and higher than 50 meters. And besides unique flora and fauna, there is also a waterfall Skakavac, which was obviously named after its liveliness and playfulness (Skakavac means Grasshopper).

If you are looking for something that is wild as a consequence of tranquility than visiting this place is certainly a must do on your list. A place is perfect for those who adore unspoiled nature, researchers and biology lovers. It is a paradise for adventurous souls. It offers you possibilities of unique hiking and trekking, daring climbing and courageous mountain biking.

Adding to all that 8 glacial lakes of the Zelengora mountain, still, present bears and wolves, unexplored canyons of Hrčavka, and you have one of the greatest plans for your next trip.

*Should keep notice that Canyon Tare, Canyon Drina, Canyon Piva, and mountain range Durimtor are less than an hour of a drive.

 

 

 

 

Above all, Sutjeska represents glorious emptiness. 

Its symbolic feature represents not once gained freedom and brotherhood, but more a horrible faith one faces when believing in dreams of peace, independence, and love. 

Embraced by the vacuum of nature’s divinity you face horrors of men’s evil. 

 

And you stand there, while time slowly but surely eats remains of rebellion and fight against the fascism and nazism, thinking of new history that is currently being written and preached, you ask yourself:

“For what have those people died?”

 

 

 

*From historical ANVOJ to refugee CONVOY (original: Od istorijskog AVNOJA do izbjegličkog KONVOJA) is a chorus from a song Od istorijskog AVNOJA, recorded by the Non smoking orchestra (Zabranjeno pušenje) in the year of 1997. You can listen if you want and I will be glad to try translate it to anyone interested in its text 🙂

Romania

compassion. generosity. humanity. tenderness. unselfishness. helpfulness. hospitality. 

 

warmness and gentleness.

free of fear.

 

 

 

Besides all the glorious nature, what makes Romania really beautiful and one of a kind are the people.

To truly feel Romania forget hostels, forget camps, forget hotels, forget agencies, forget attractions. There is no need. Just sit in a car and hit the road. Lose yourself in their openness and beauty. Forget everything you know about “civilized” world and take a trip to a country where all those unwelcomed by developed countries found their home.

Forget fear and prejudices, because for what waits for you there is place beautiful precisely because it lacks those two characteristics.

Pack your things, don’t even bother learning anything about it before you leave, and go.

You will not feel like a tourist or a complete stranger. You are their guest, and everyone you meet on your way will treat you like that.

Romania is a home of very gentle people. Kindness seems to be written in genes of every person you meet on your journey.

And about language: you don’t need it. You are going to a country where the main language is understanding in general.

If you are looking for a place to have a real road trip adventure with all the disaster included then Romania is certainly one of the most suitable countries to do so.

 

Romania will for ever be that magical place, caught in between spaces and times, living in peace and gentleness of its people.