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Published: June 30th 2013
I came down those mountains!
Saying goodbye to Andreja saw me settle back into the usual groove – you know what that is - slow and steady and lots of photo taking but with a bit more restraint than I’ve shown in the past.
Somewhere along the line, I left the Tara River and joined the Moraca River. I think this happened after Kolasin – not sure. But there it was, another river and yet another spectacular canyon. Nature is amazing. Just when you think it can’t possibly get any better it does. In fact, I would have to say that the Moraca Canyon is the most beautiful I’ve seen so far. Big call. But getting there involved a pass (manageable) and then, well, as before a whole vista opens out in front. Mountain, after mountain, after mountain for as far as the eye can see. And a spectacular, if somewhat scary, downhill. I realised only after that they number their tunnels and was at tunnel 27 when I noticed. I’m not too sure which tunnel number was the one before Moraca Monastery but when I came out the other end there were people milling around and railing missing off the bridge. These roads are
Honey making at the monastery.
not for goose necking so I did not look back. However, I did find out later that there had been a very serious accident involving a Romanian bus which killed 18 people and injured many. This happened 3 days previously and they were still trying to clear the wreckage. My heart goes out to all those affected; the rescuers, survivors and all those people who lost their lives. A very poignant reminder of the fragility of life and in instances like this, that every second counts.
And the Moraca Monastery, whilst perhaps not as moving as Ostrog Monastery (more on that later) is so picturesque. All beautifully manicured lawns and lovingly tended rose gardens, and complete with grapevines and beehives. A very restful and contemplative place indeed except for the intermittent busloads of Russian tourists who would descend upon the place pointing their cameras and clicking away at anything and everything. It was a glimpse at what I’m like when I get to a place. Instead of really looking I just click. I need to be mindful of looking first and clicking later. Maybe I’ll end up with better photos instead of just snapshots. Then again, maybe not…
It looks like Mary's wearing lipstick.
That evening I stayed in campground just outside of Moraca. I wasn’t prepared to pay the price asked for the bungalow and suggested that I camp instead. OK. Except that actually meant I had nowhere to shower and nowhere to go to the toilet. Um, I didn’t know this until very much later. I wish I’d known. It was a tad uncomfortable to say the least. And when I was invited by a very friendly group of people to join them for their BBQ (after I’d already eaten!) I’m sure they couldn’t really understand why I didn’t want to drink, anything. They were very entertaining, singing national folk songs and having a jolly time but really, I just wanted to go to bed… Does that make me ungrateful? But, I stayed the distance and so did they. I was glad to finally pee - at 2 in the morning when there was no one around. OMG! Never again. Please. And then I was glad to leave.
It was after the monastery that the road became more dwarfed by the cliffs, that, like all the canyons, just rose up. Beautiful, especially early in the morning. Not too much traffic at
From a distance.
that stage but more than I was used to. And the tunnels continued. You know how I don’t like tunnels. I encountered the scariest one yet on the day to Podgorica. It was a tunnel, with no distance, a fork in the middle of it and over 500km long with a hard shoulder that dropped 50cm. I couldn’t see a thing and realised I was riding in the middle of the road only when I saw the headlights of an oncoming car - at least I wasn’t dropping off that hard shoulder. I don’t believe I breathed for the whole time I was in that tunnel and took big hyperventilating breaths when I got out. Phew! But bless that driver who came behind me, overtook me and put his hazards on in front of me. I was grateful, even for the short distance I had an escort. I so appreciated it. Thank you to you good deeder of the day.
Now I am in Podgorica. Really, it would have to be one of the, how shall I put this nicely. Actually I can’t. It’s the ugliest capital I’ve ever been in. I’m ready for the backlash. But having said
At the campground
Grilling Montenegrin style.
that, I don’t judge a book by its cover (ok maybe I do, a little : )). Podgorica makes up for its lack of beauty in the warmth of her people. Ever so kind and helpful and ever ready with a smile. That’s why I’ve been here, in this hostel, for four nights. Meeting lots of wonderful travellers, especially a group of six young Belgians who were just the best ambassadors for their small country you could wish for, and feeling so comfortable here. And Mira, your friendly nature and sense of humour have made it an absolute pleasure staying at the Montenegro Hostel.
I have done a little (but not much more!) than just hang around here. I did schlepp myself to Ostrog Monastery. A busride and 12km walk (yes walk!) away. But, like a pilgrim, I made it. I had been told that if I say I will go somewhere then I must go. It is the way of the world here. Hence the schlepp. But I am glad I went. It is a truly spiritual place, a monastery built by the same saint that built and established the monastery at Zavala. A monastery built into the
It's 2 o'clock
The view from my tent.
cliffs, just in like in Zavala except a lot higher. And he is now buried here in Ostrog.
I really didn’t fancy the trek back to the main road and tried to establish if there was a bus. No such luck. I didn’t fancy taking a taxi either. Instead, I just stuck out my hand and what do you know, the first car stopped. Well that wasn’t too hard. I was a bit, but not too worried, when he mentioned that there are no police on this road. Um, why is that a good thing? I found out only when we got to the main road that he didn’t like putting on his seat belt. Is that all? Actually, thank goodness that was all. And I got a hitch back to Podogorica too - in a brand new Audi 4WD. I think people like to show off their new cars to foreigners.
Went to the cinema yesterday. Saw that film with Vince Vaughn and Owen Williams. Oh dear. What an awful film. It’s even worse when you’re not even sure of what it is you’re going in to see. That’s a whole hour plus I’ll never get back.
That's my little Dragana and a car - just to give you scale.
Anyway, I’m going to end off here and spend my last night in Podgorica doing something other than writing. Tomorrow, Skadar Lake bound. Maybe next time I get to write I’ll be in Albania.
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