2-6 September 2018


Doreen writes:

Last July when recovering from surgery, an organized trip to Montenegro with the Retired Teachers' Association seemed like a great idea. Friends who had visited there said we 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.

River TaraRiver TaraRiver Tara

Morača ("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.

Morachka Monastery
Morachka MonasteryMonasteryMorachka Monastery

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.
Moratchka RiverLake Skadar
Lake Skadar

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.

Sveti StephanBudva Old City

Kotor on the coast is a most charming walled city from Venetian times, some 800 years ago. The end of the gulf  is very narrow and walking along we couldn't see the sea. It looked as if the boats there were squashed between the limestone mountins on both sides.
  . Kotor Old CityKotor Old CityKotor

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.
Serpentineview of Kotor bay and Tivat Bay

*photo copied




DAY 1:     Land at Tivat Airport - visit to Porto Montenegro - via Budva, Cetinje, Podgorica to Kolashin - stay at Bianca Resort.

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.