Eke & Brian - Balkan Adventure - 2019 travel blog

Scenes from a stunning drive through the mountains.

 

 

 

At the Drina River

 

Team photo on a bridge along the way

Countless tunnels along the way.

A huge hydro-electric dam on the Drina River.

View below the dam.

 

Overlooking Pluzine, Montenegro. On Lake Piva.

Moving higher into the mountains.

 

A long and winding road behind us.

Getting colder.

REALLY. The temperature was 4 degrees.

Snow drift over the road.

 

Black Lake, Durmitor National Park


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sarajevo – Savnik, Montenegro

Today is the day of the long drive! We left Sarajevo at 8:30 am and after leaving the city, we quickly were in the mountains – the Black Mountains. The views became more captivating the higher we climbed. The mountains are covered with trees and everything is very lush and intensely green. Because it was a cloudy morning and raining off and on, the clouds were hanging low over the mountains and formed an almost mystical atmosphere.

We took pee and tea breaks – one was half an hour and gave us the opportunity to stretch the legs and take some photos.

At noon we stopped at a viewpoint and the view was amazing! Everyone took photos. Our driver had a surprise for us. He had bought a treat – think of a straight piece of scanacopita filled with either: potato, cheese, meat or vegetables. The custom is to dip them in yoghurt which he had bought also. We really appreciated the food and the place!

We were driving beside the river Piva, which turns into the Tara and the Tara river flows into the Drina. The Drina eventually becomes the Sava and then the Sava joins the Danube.

We drove through a lot of tunnels. At one point we crossed the river and stopped on the bridge to take some photos – our driver took one of the whole group with Dusan. Our next stop was at the hydro dam where we had very little time because the people working there don’t like busloads hanging around the place.

We kept on climbing and started to see the landscape changing – it became very barren. Just rocks everywhere in the grass. The highest point in the Black Mountains in Montenegro is 2400 metres. We were at about 2200 metres, it was raining, 3 degrees Celsius and still lots of snow piles. Then people who live there have cattle and sheep farms. They have a very meager existence. During the winter they are totally isolated from the rest of the world. The roads are closed all winter and were still closed three weeks ago. Our bus had to manage some narrow openings where the snow was still like a wall on the sides of the road.

At one point we stopped and it was an opportunity to have your photo takes in the snow at 3 degrees while it was raining!

After descending we drove to the Black Lake in Durmitor National Park where we completed a walk around the lake – at least that was the intent and most of our group managed to do it! It was raining and we needed to get our good shoes and raincoats and umbrellas out of our suitcases which had to be unloaded from the back of the bus. After that we were ready! Brian didn’t go – it was a walk through the woods with lots of roots and slippery. It was very peaceful and enjoyable – until we met with a waterfall! We had to go through it! We kept our feet dry through the first one. To our surprise and the surprise of our group leader we met with a second one! There we had to accept that the water ran over our shoes and the feet were wet! Well, not a drama, just go on. Then we met a third waterfall. Tracy and I looked at it and where we had to cross, was very close to the edge with a sharp drop into the lake. We were not going to cross without support and help from our group leader and some of the younger ones that were still coming behind us. Lots of others had already crossed and continued their walk. Dusan said that he found it too dangerous and suggested that we turn back. He was worried about the ones that had gone on and hoped that they were okay. He felt the responsibility quite heavily.

We agreed to go back and return the same way we had come even if that meant that repeating the two thirds we had already come! When we arrived at our starting point, Dusan was very relieved to see the rest of the group relaxing with a glass of beer! We drove to our hotel and all of us changed socks and shoes and had a drink in the hotel. We had to turn the hot water heater in the room. Some in our group didn’t know this and therefore had a cold shower! The hotel promised to turn the heaters on in the rooms at 2 am so we could dry our socks and shoes! And they did! Everything was dry the next morning!

We had a nice dinner and ended the day with a nice cup or tea for Eke and a beer for Brian. The hotel had been a very classy one in earlier times. We could see that it had not been maintained as well as it should, but it was fine!

And so off to bed.

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