Studeni Potok – A Saturday Adventure
Tobias Strahl, 14 January 2018, Sarajevo
Some moments are so abundant in their beauty that it is hard for me to believe what I am just witnessing.
I was honestly surprised by the interest my short video-greetings last Saturday from Studeni Potok in the Bjelašnica mountains at the gates of Sarajevo sparked. Beside the absorbing scenery it raised two important questions: What in the name of the Almighty is a “German Schnitte” and how actually I define “adventure”?
Once more I had the privilege to join a tour organized by Bosnia’s guide no 1, the alpinist Fikret Kahrović. Again the destination was the gorge of the River Rakitnica we have visited for a first time aleady in early November last year. This time, however, we climbed it in parallel to the falls of Studeni Potok – a river which decends from the mountains around the half abandoned settlement Gradina Selo above the village Umoljani. Studeni is a term in Southern Slavic which describes a condition of something in between cold and frozen. Potok just means “creek”. In Croatian Studeni is the word used for the month November – what makes sense, somehow. The Rakitnica is a 32 kilometers long river arising above the village Rakitnica in the Bjelašnica mountains approximately 40 kilometers South-West of Sarajevo. The short Studeni Potok winds through a beautiful valley before it falls approximately 400 meters deep into the Rakitnica gorge.
The word “Schnitte” in German language means one or two slices of bread either with just butter (“Butterschnitte”) or whatever you like (cheese, ham, Speckfett) on it. The noun “Schnitte” is derived from the verb “schneiden” (to slice). Interestingly, “Schnitte” is one of the many loanwords used in Southern-Slavic dialects since the Austro-Hungarian presence in the region. Most of the Croats, Serbs or Bosnians are familiar with the term “Šnit” – as they are with “šlag” (whipping cream), “rajsferšlus” (zipper) or “vozi rikverc!” (imp. drive backwards!). A “Schnitte” in all of its forms is a cultural heritage par excellence and a well liked companion at all outdoor adventures. Barely anything beats the moment when you sit down during a break on an exhausting hike and have your tea, a boiled egg and a “Butterbemme” (the Saxon variation of “Butterschnitte”) with salt and – provided you are a real gourmet – a piece of cucumber (“grüne Gurke”). Apropos adventure: the most things in my life I perceive as an adventure. The exploration of new landscapes, the personalities of the people i meet, the highs and lows of a friendhip, the moment at the side of a friend when understanding needs no words, the structure of a city I am able to “read”, the touching moments when my soul seems to burn when I face pure beauty – all that means “adventure” to me. “Adventure” in my perception is inextricably linked to gladness or joy. I have experienced adventures defined by the “presence of death” as Ernst Jünger (Annäherungen / Drogen und Rausch, Stuttgart 1970) wrote – but I won’t reduce it to this condition.
Ma’a salame! May god be with you wherever you are!