Greetings From Banja Luka

Ogy and I out on the town at Boom Boom.
Ogy and I out on the town at Boom Boom.

When I told my friend and colleague Ogy I was going to be in London on a business/pleasure trip this month, he told me I should come to Bosnia and visit him. His web development company OgoSense develops Joomla CMS websites and we often work on projects together. A trip to Banja Luka (the second largest city in Bosnia) would be good chance to see his operation and discuss business plans in person.

Ivana, who works at OgoSense has been a particularly good friend to me during my visit.
Ivana, who works at OgoSense has been a particularly good friend to me during my visit.

Also, the trip meant I could visit a good friend in his hometown. I met Ogy about ten years ago when he went to college with one of my high school friends Roland. We would sometimes go out as a group in Portland Maine (where they went to school). One thing Ogy and I have in common is we’ll talk to anyone, so we were bound to become friends.

I reconnected with Ogy at Roland’s wedding a few years later when we were both running our own web businesses. Ogy and I have complimentary skill sets; I love the writing and marketing part of website development and Ogy likes the more technical challenges. We decided we should try to work together on projects. Two years later, we now do this on a regular basis. It’s always nice when you can work with your friends so I’m not only grateful for the revenue stream but also for getting the chance to talk to Ogy often.

Everyone I told about my plan for a side trip to Bosnia thought I was crazy. I assure  you that not only is Bosnia safe but probably safer than many American cities. The people are friendly and speak English well. I’ve met Ogy’s employees, family, and friends and they’ve all been very friendly, which I appreciate being somewhere where I can’t even read the signs.

The local food is also fantastic. Ogy’s mother made dinner the first night and, while everyone thinks their own mother is a good cook, Ogy’s mom actually is. One dish I really liked was called ‘pita’ which I am going to try to make when I get home. But in case I can’t, I’m going to eat as much of it while I’m here as I can.

The people who make pita at one of Ogy's favorite local places. Ogy think I have a picture of me with just about everyone I met in Banja Luka.
The people who make pita at one of Ogy's favorite local places. Ogy I think has a picture of me with just about everyone I met in Banja Luka.

The countryside is also really beautiful. There’s a lot of hiking areas and they hold the world white water rafting championships about a fifteen minute drive from Ogy’s house. The water is so blue it makes me wish I had a camera (or the camera skills) to capture it.

While I would have never thought to come to Bosnia, I’m so glad I did. It’s been great to get to know about Ogy’s life and also this beautiful place in the world. Thanks to Ogy for being such a good host, tour guide and friend during this part of my European trip! I will definitely be back to Banja Luka, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Overlooking Banja Luka from Ogy's balcony.
Overlooking Banja Luka from Ogy's balcony.
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.