On Friday, June 18th ten lovely ladies left Belgrade for a hiking/yoga weekend trip to the mountain called "Rtanj" in the east of Serbia. It was a joint event of both the Walking and Holistic Approach groups.

We started the weekend with a yoga session Friday night with Ivana, who gently brought us into the weekend and retreat mood. We had dinner that night under the stars. The next day, Saturday, we split into two groups. One group walked nine kilometers from the energy spot back to our hotel (Etno Hotel Rtanj Balašević (balasevicrtanj.com)), exploring nature around the hotel and relaxing at the pool. The other group climbed up the mountain to the top.

Our aim was to reach Mount Rtanj’s highest peak, Šiljak which is 1,565m above sea level. It took us about seven hours total to hike this pyramid-shaped mountain. We started from the northern side. The weather was teasing us all the time, adding to the already challenging conditions in front of us; one minute it rained and the other minute the sun shone and then a peal of thunder could be heard in the background.

We hiked through thick forests and muddy trails with slippery stones/rocks that made this hike even more challenging to beginner climbers like us. We encountered a bit of rocks throughout the hike, then we had some trails running through a beautiful pine forest. We saw that the slopes of Rtanj are full of wild strawberries and the famous Rtanj tea. Close to the top we emerged out of the forest to see a more stark rocky terrain. The last 1km of the hike to the summit was a test of endurance and perseverance, mentally and physically. 

After 3hrs of hiking we finally reached the summit of Siljak. The feeling of achievement was immense. From the top of Rtanj you can see some other mountains across Serbia. The remains of a chapel built by Greta Minh could be seen on the very top of Siljak. According to Wikipedia, this chapel was built in honor of her late husband Julius Minh, the owner of the coal mine in the foothills of Rtanj. As the top of Siljak constantly attracts clouds we were not encouraged to stay longer than 20 minutes at the top. 

We descended along the southern side of the mountain, and at the beginning we ran through some meadows before we started into the forest and trails again. It was quite rocky and slippery almost all way down until village of Rtanj.

All six of us started this hike with a goal in mind: to reach the summit of Siljak and to come back down safely. All six of us made it to the top and came back scratch-less and with great comradery. Back at the hotel later, our second yoga class helped to relax our painful legs and muscles. 

On Sunday, we again started with yoga. Then we had a wonderful time with Ivana Milunovic, who lives near Rtanj mountain and who makes her own herbal cosmetics. She explained a bit about the herbs that grow on the mountain and how we can use natural cosmetics on a daily basis by making our own macerate. After that workshop, we had lunch together and then left for Belgrade.

All in all, we enjoyed each other's company a lot and are looking forward to another joint Holistic and Walking Group trip in autumn. Stay tuned! We would like to thank Glob Metropoliten Tours for a wonderfully organised trip! (Glob Metropoliten Tours - Privatna turistička agencija, Beograd)