Durmitor National Parc

Europe » Montenegro » Pljevlja
July 24th 2017
Published: August 6th 2017
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When we had finally arrived to Montenegro, the second part of our trip began and it would be a huge adventure, filled with mesmerizing sights, cold, rain, frustration and a lot of happiness.

On our way to our first stop, Durmitor national park, we had to cross a huge bridge and when we saw 50 people standing on the bridge, we realized that we were at Tara River with a breathtaking view from the bridge. We stopped on the parking of a hotel and walked across this very high bridge, bewitched by the beautiful sight of the mountains, forests and the river.

We continued to Zabljak, where we went to the tourist info and to the supermarket and the first thing we noticed was how unfriendly all people in this made-up village are. It seemed like everybody there hates tourists, but the tourists are who pays them so, in theory, they should be nice, but they're definitely not. I say "made-up village" because it seems like there are no houses there, only hotels, and like it was created only to host the tourists who come to Durmitor national park.
2 km outside of the centre, just before the entrance to the park, we found a nice camping with a wonderful host. It was actually run by a family but their son managed it. It was called Auto-Camp and we found a spot for our tent with an amazing view of the mountains.
After putting up our tent, we went to the Black Lake, 2 km from our camping. It was in the park and we thought we would have to pay the 3€ entrance fee but, actually, from our camping was another entrance to the park and we didn't have to pass the official entrance where you have to pay. :-)
The Black Lake was really beautiful, big, blue-turquoise water, forest all around and mountains in the background. We walked around the lake with some stops for pictures and we had a wonderful first afternoon in Montenegro. Since we hadn't eaten anything the whole day, we were pretty hungry and so we had an "early" dinner at 8 PM. To our surprise, at 9 PM it was already almost dark and so we went inside, to the common space, to have a bottle of wine and to check on the map what route to take the next day. Regarding the map, the lady at the tourist info didn't tell us we could or we had to buy it there so while Anne cooked dinner, I had to go back to the centre to buy this map... :-(
We were joined in our planning by the boy who managed the camping, by a French guy and by a Dutch guy. They were very nice and helpful but they were making fun of us because we don't use Google maps but a real, old-school route map. It's so much more fun though! :-D
The Dutch guy was mostly on holiday to have parties and so his city tips were not very useful for us, but the French guy was very helpful and so, at the end of the night, we offered him a bottle of Belgian beer.
The same night, we met a family from Germany who were very nice. This couple was on baby leave until the end of September and travelling across Eastern Europe without knowing where they would go. It was amazing, their daughter had learned to walk on a farm in the mountains and with 16 months she was now able to walk and run anywhere. :-)
We also met a family from Czech republic, close to Ostrava. They were absolutely lovely! We told the we had just been to "Colours of Ostrava" and she told us she had actually been to the first edition of this festival, where it was really small, fitting in just one small street.
Being at this camping was a wonderful experience because everyone was very friendly, open and helpful and the atmosphere was wonderful.

The next day, we started our hiking at around 9:30 or 10 AM, after a good breakfast. During the night there had been a huge thunderstorm and it had rained a lot, but now it was much better. So we started our way up the mountain and we were almost the only people around. After half an hour, we met the only other people : 2 couples of Belgians! During all our way from Belgium to Montenegro, we had seen almost no Belgians at all, but at Durmitor every second car seemed to be from Belgium!
We talked a little bit with the elderly couple from Antwerp, they were super nice! Then we continued our hike up the mountain. The view was spectacular, the beauty we saw indescribable! It was quite steep but ok for people in good shape. :-)
We were always close behind our new friends from Antwerp and it's with them that we arrived to the Cverna greda, though we were not sure we really had arrived there because there were no signs or indications anywhere and that's where our misery started. There were 3 ways from there : 1) going back down but since we were not sure we had really arrived to the Cverna greda, we didn't want to turn back yet, 2) finding an unmarked way down the mountain to reach another trail, 3) continue the marked way to Stuoc, which was a huge detour. We got pretty lost, we didn't know if we had arrived to this cverna or not, we couldn't find any way down and our friends from Antwerp were sure we were not on the long trail yet. So we continued on and on, with rain and sometimes sun, until we were completely desperate and wanted to turn back but the couple from Antwerp encouraged us to go on for a while. So we did and at some point we arrived to a way which should have led back to the Cverna greda, but it didn't. At some point, the signs just stopped! Since we didn't want to go on blind, we turned back. That's when we decided to just walk the same way back to our camping we had come, whilst the couple from Antwerp continued the long way. After this decision we were very happy and our way back was fun, relaxed and all the stress and back mood disappeared! :-)
On our way down, we crossed a lot of people who still wanted to go up the mountain but it seemed crazy to us, the weather was changing all the time up on the mountain, it seemed like it was going to rain again and they probably wouldn't be down before 8 PM when it would already be dark outside. When we were admiring the lakes below us again, we heard someone calling and it was our friends from Antwerp. They had turned around shortly after us because the trail was impossible to walk.
Finally, we got back to the camping, we complained a bit to the guy working there about the missing signs on the mountain and on our way out of Durmitor, we stopped at the tourist info to complain there as well and to tell them to be careful who they sent up that mountain and to tell them that there are no indications about the cverna. They were very unfriendly and told me that this wasn't their problem. Anne had the same back experience at the supermarket where she bought some wine and after buying it she saw that the price on the bill didn't coincide with the one on the shelf. We went back to exchange the wine for some cheaper wine (we had bought 3 bottles!) but they refused and were very unpolite about it. So we were happy to leave this town.

Our conclusion of the Durmitor national park : it is wonderful, there is a spectacular view as well from the lake as from up the mountain, but trails and stops are marked very badly and people in Durmitor are very unfriendly and unhelpful.

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