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Bora

The Bora (Bosnian: bura, Bulgarian: бора, Croatian: bura, Greek: μπόρα, βοράς, Italian: bora, Slovene: burja, Turkish: bora, Polish: burza) is a northern to north-eastern katabatic wind in the Adriatic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, Poland, Russia (Novorossiysk) and Turkey. (Source: Wikipedia)

My grandmother always cursed it, ALWAYS. Born in these parts of the woods where the famous wind Bura reigns, she hated it passionately. As a kid I only knew we couldn’t go to the beach, until the “little sheep” on the sea disappeared. The “little sheep” are actually white foam of the water carried by the wind.  But in those days I only experienced the summer bora, nothing spectacular, only a nuisance which robs you of your hats, balls, anything made of paper, inflatable mattresses and other beach equipment, etc. 

Bora | Trek Croatia | Photo: Krunoslav Rac

Photo: Krunoslav Rac @Facebook

The most exciting part of its nature is that it comes so swiftly and unexpectedly that many unsuspecting tourists find themselves in great trouble when it catches them at sea (being in small boats or even inflatable mattresses) and locals have to come to their rescue. However, locals very rarely find themselves in such situations. Why? Well, they read the signs. One small tip, if the day is just wonderful and there is nothing but clear blue skies, the sea is calm as a millpond, and you see little cute, white clouds appearing over the mountain, run to the shores as fast as possible!!! You can expect all hell to break loose, in about 15 minutes.

Bora | Trek Croatia | Photo: Krunoslav Rac

Photo: Krunoslav Rac @Facebook

Once, I was with some friends on Velebit, the part inclining towards the Adriatic Sea. It was a warm, calm, peaceful summer night. All of a sudden we heard a loud sound coming off the mountain. We thought it was a huge truck, descending from the mountain. We were wrong. It hit us suddenly and mercilessly. As it was only the summer bora, we managed to get back to our village. It didn’t stop blowing for two weeks.

We also have a saying here, “If an old lady farts in Lika, bora is coming”, meaning any climate changes in the continental part of the country will bring bora to us (that is, all the time).

Bora | Trek Croatia | Photo: Krunoslav Rac

Photo: Krunoslav Rac @Facebook

Now, the winter bora is something completely different. It is not as mild and manageable as the summer one. As an example, people in Senj still chain their cars to stone pillars when they have to park them by the sea. It is not uncommon for a car to be blown into the sea, or even a person if not careful enough. My mother told me that when she had been growing up in Senj, there had been ropes distended from poles to poles for kids to hold on to them when going to school. My uncle, when he was a child, was lifted by the bora and thrown into the house of his future wife (destiny?). 

Bora | Trek Croatia | Photo: Krunoslav Rac

Photo: Krunoslav Rac @Facebook

When the winter bora blows, life stops. None goes anywhere, schools and roads are closed, and everyone stays at home, hoping it won’t last too long and electricity won’t go off.

Lately, there have been many local and foreign storm catchers trying to film and experience the craziness of these extreme wind gusts. Their crazy endeavors can even be found on YouTube.

Bora | Trek Croatia | Photo: Krunoslav Rac

Photo: Krunoslav Rac @Facebook

Bora is the wind that has defined the landscape of my region; it is visible and can be recognized in trees, plants, stone and even people. The roughness of this countryside and people is its result. Without it, we would be as mild and approachable as Istria or Dalmatia. Personally, I absolutely love it. It clears everything: air, sky and people’s minds. Its energy and wildness fills you with awe and respect as well as impels you to fully live your everyday life in tune with the nature (whether you like it or not). It seems that nowadays only few are ready to do that – fully accept the Beauty and the Beast.