A SHORT TRIP TO MONTENEGRO
Last July when recovering
from surgery, an organized trip to Montenegro with the Retired
Association seemed like a great idea. Friends who had visited there
would love it and others said it was on their bucket list. The country
offers great views and has an interesting history especially under
Tito's Yugoslavia. But bucket list? hmmmm.
At the Biogradska National Park, we walked around the lake, a relict of
the Glacier Age. On the path was a salamander, surprisingly similar to
a fire slamander seen in the Dan Reserve in Israel.
A view of Tara Gorge and River in the Durmitor National Park, from the
bridge over the Tara River.The Tara Canyon is one of the deepest
canyons in Europe. Montenegro is mountainous and rainy.Trees and dense
shrub cover all except the sheerest sides of the canyons up to the tree
line. For the adventurous there is a looong zip line across one of the
few wide valleys. There
is very little flat land and even by the Adriatic coast the towering
mountains descend straight into the sea Where there is a little shore
space, it is crowded with rows and rows of deck chairs and sunshades.
("Moratsha") Monastery, like most monasteries is Greek Orthodox. We
were charmed by the immaculate gardens so carefully tended by the
monks. The little shop outside the monastery has an unusual way
to cool the drinks offered. The stream also produces hydroelectric
power for the shop and monastery. The picture shows our guide Yair Ben
David with a monk, the only one who could explain the beautiful
frescoes inside the small church.
We drove to the Morača
River where we took a delightful boat trip to Lake Skadar
where we stopped for lunch. The area is one of the rainiest in Europe
because of the mountain ranges, so the weather can change quickly from
hot to rainy within minutes.
Sveti-Stephan east of Budva Bay is a most exclusive island resort for
the rich and famous. Much of the hinterland of Montenegro is
underdeveloped, but the coast is crowded with hotels and marinas built
by overseas investors.
On the right is a church in the old city of Budva.
After visiting Kotor, our guide advised those who needed to take
seasick pills; what he should have suggested was valium. 26 hairpin
bends over 25 kilometres along a narrow mountain pass to drive
from sea level to 1100 metres. At one stage even a motorbike had to
reverse in order to let our bus pass! The views were stunning. At
the top we were treated to sandwiches with locally made cheese or
smoked meat made by the inhabitants of the small Negushi hamlet. Until
recently the village was cut off by the winter snows and preserving the
cheese and meat became a traditional occupation of the village.
A drive along the Serpentine Road* to view the Tivat and Kotor Bays.
DAY 1: Land at Tivat Airport - visit to
Porto Montenegro - via Budva, Cetinje, Podgorica to Kolashin - stay at
DAY 2: Biogradsa Gora Reserve and Lake Biogradsa
Jezero- In the Durmitor National Park along Tara Gorge to
Tara Bridge and view of gorge - Zabljak museum - walk to
Crna Jezero (Black Lake) - back to Kolashin
and Bianca Resort
DAY 3: Southwards from Kolashin - vistit Morača
Monastery - along the Morača River - visit (and shopping!) in Podgorica
(capital of Montenegro) - south along Morača River to Skadarsko Jezero
(Lake Skadar), lunch at Virpazar on the lake -
continue driving south to the coast via Petrovac - view of Sveti
Stephan Island - hotel Queen of Montenegro in Becici (Budva)
DAY 4: Northwest from Budva to Kotor Bay - visit old
city - up Serpentine road in Lovcen Mountain Range to
Njegsi with wonderful views of the Kotor and Tivat Bays -
sandwiches at Njegsi - visit to
Cetinje (former capital) - back to
Budva - visit to Old City - walk through
town - back to Hotel Queen of Montenegro
DAY 5: Drive to Tivat airport and flight to Tel Aviv.