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Ω2

Montenegro

   Montenegro, in its present state, is a new country. After the separation of Yugoslavia, in 1991, it was part of Serbia. It was just in 2006 that it gained its independence. Entering into the country, we had a beautiful ride by the Skadar Lake. We arrived at Sveti Stefan, the iconic islet with its Old City, which a Greek ship-owner has rented for 45 years and has turned it into an upmarket hotel. Now, even the locals are not allowed to visit it, if they don’t get permission. They cannot even go to Sveti Stefan Church to pray. So it’s normal that they complain about it. Having been disgusted of the wealth and the show off we witnessed there, we went over Budva, to get a second dose of it all. At least, we were able to visit the Old City there.

The Old City of Budva… after the rain always comes the sun 😉

   What surprised us the most was the old capital of Montenegro, Cetinje. It’s a picturesque small town, spread up across a valley, with low houses, everyone having its own garden, built out of wood most of the times, and painted in vivid colours. The architecture of many public buildings is very similar to this of the Austrian ones, using as building material big, heavy stone blocks, and with beautiful roofs to embellish them. Cetinje is not that exciting but it has a nice atmosphere. We had this sense of being in a human city, where even I, that I don’t like cities, could live in. It was there where we felt for the first time that we were in Northern Europe, a feeling that followed us throughout every visit in the cities of Montenegro.

   We made a lovely ride through the mountainous Lovćen National Park and, there, taking a turn on some dirt road, we found the perfect spot for camping, up on the altitude of 1,320 m. (4,331 ft.). If you pass by this area, don’t miss it, I have it marked on Live Trip Traveller. Riding down the mountain, we couldn’t get enough of the view of the Kotor Bay from above. It makes such a formation that it reminds you of a fjord. We made a stroll by the sea, and we even had a dip, which was our first one into the sea, as every dip we have had so far was in lakes and freezing cold rivers! The Old City of Kotor, inside the Venetian fortress, was what we enjoyed the most.

The picturesque Perast on the Bay of Kotor which, thanks to its formation, it can be easily mistaken for a Scandinavian fjord!

   It was there when it started to rain, better say downpouring, which did not allow us to enjoy the places we visited. Usually, the rain would last a couple of hours, so either we would be in a city and we would find shelter in some temple or we would be on the road and we would simply put on our rain suits and keep going. It was this one day, though, that it was raining all night long, and continued to rain until 13:00, so we had to stay inside the tents for some hours.

   After a small walk around the Old City of Herceg Novi, which is less touristy, we headed towards the most important pilgrimage site for the Orthodox Christians in Montenegro, Ostrog Monastery. It is built on the vertical side of a rock, making the most of the two small caves formed there.

Starting a dirt ride into the thick and moist forest of Biogradska Gora National Park.

   At that point we started our rides on the mountains, for which I’ve waited for so long. From the Biogradska Gora National Park, we took a dirt road that was climbing up to 1,930 m. (6,332 ft.). The scenery was magnificent! It was there where John lost one of his motorcycle hand guards and he also broke the metal mounting of the protection bars he had made for the fairing. Using some wire, everything was put into place! We camped by a crystal-clear little stream and we fell asleep listening to the sound of the water, flowing peacefully through the lush small valley.

Our picture-perfect camping site, on 1,800 m. (5,906 ft.), by the windings of the snakelike stream.

   Riding through Tara Canyon, by the homonymous river, we entered Durmitor National Park. We visited the popular Black Lake and we took a fantastic little road to the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. We passed through the mountain pass of Pašina Voda on 1,908 m. (6,260 ft.) and we kept moving on spectacular plateaus for quite a while. We spent our last day in Montenegro by the river of Piva.

Riding up on the mountain to 1,930 m. (6,332 ft.). Up on the ridge it was very windy and foggy. I didn’t really understand why John was not very willing to camp there 😛

   This small country has lots of beauties for sure, but we were disappointed to find that everything has been overdeveloped for tourists, especially the coastline. Maybe Montenegro is too developed for my taste. The good thing is it’s developed in a logical way. You may have to pay for almost everything, like parking, using the public toilets, entering national parks etc. but the prices are reasonable and everything is well organized. Moreover, the locals show an incredible attitude. The drivers make way for motorcyclists to pass and they don’t drive aggressively. However, I really miss the epic off-road riding on the majestic mountains of Albania…

I never quite understood why the famous Black Lake in Durmitor National Park is called “Black”!


 

Here you can watch the video from our trip in Montenegro (with English subtitles):


 

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