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Published: June 30th 2013
Looking Back at Bosnia & Herzegovina
This is the view looking down from the 'basketball court'.
When you’re riding a bicycle being rewarded for one’s efforts is really the motivating factor to keep moving. That, and the thought of being stuck in the mountains in bad weather. After a brekkie of pancakes with homemade jam which included whole plums, and strong sweet coffee, I was on the road by 8.15. Not really the early planned start but better than previous efforts. And it was cool. Blissfully so. It was a dream to be riding uphill in cooler weather. I didn’t think that this was my idea of heaven but, well, I surprise even myself. (Mind you this was a much more manageable, gradual uphill with no ridiculous gradients. That, I would have to say, would not be my idea of heaven).
Honestly at times I have to pinch myself. Am I really in this landscape which looks so like a backdrop in a movie? Did I really schlepp myself and Dragana (or she me) up here? Am I the luckiest person in the world (at this time I would have to say a definitive YES!)? Too beautiful for words and rewards by the truckload. Maybe I should just let the pictures speak for themselves.
Enroute to Durmitor
Montenegrins love basketball, no matter where. Mountain roads will do for practice.
just before I do… in Durmitor National Park, my highlight in Montenegro so far, I had the absolute pleasure of having Andreja, a Slovenian woman also cycling on her own, stop. We chatted briefly and she suggested we continue to ride together. One look at her trim frame, hers and her bicycle’s, I knew Dragana and me were not in the same league. Hesitantly, um, OK.
And so it was, we spent that day and the next cycling together. It was a different rhythm and pace to what I was used to that’s for sure. But, Andreja was the most patient co-rider and pacemaker anyone could possibly wish for - slowing down on the uphills for me, stopping when I shouted ‘photo’ and generally just being so very considerate. I think I cycled more in in two days than I had in four! Thank you Andreja!
Weatherwise we were lucky to have exquisite blue skies with white fluffy clouds whilst cycling through Durmitor and just enough sun to take the edge off what was otherwise quite cool up there at an altitude of 1907m. The downhill was over, unfortunately, very quickly. I was trying to savour
A quick stop in Zabljak to visit Crna Gora Jezera (Black Lake) and an equally quick dip by Andreja in the lake, and it was off again, there still being some energy in the legs left. I know, for those couple of days, I changed.
We spent that night at private rooms at the crossroads where the bridge at the Đurđevića Tara Bridge, at 165m high, spans the Tara River. There was nothing there really except for a hotel, private rooms, a restaurant and a whole lot of souvenir shops. It holds more significance as a place for rafting expeditions and also because the Tara canyon is Montenegro’s longest and second only in length to the Grand Canyon. At its deepest, the canyon reaches heights of 1,300m and extends for 78km. The bridge is a good place to see some of the work this river has achieved.
The following morning we planned on an early start. We were packed and ready to go by 7am. The skies however did not agree with our early start and told us so by raining. We went back to our room and snoozed for another hour. By eight the
skies had cleared somewhat but the clouds were clinging in their mistiness to the tops of the mountains – determined, it seemed not to let go, as we experienced a few showers still along the way.
The road was quiet, with not much traffic which is always a relief but especially so in wet weather. All those curves and hugging of mountain sides is not a great combination for traffic and wet roads and bicycles.
We stopped briefly in Mojkovac to check train timetables (for Andreja), stock up on provisions and a well-earned coffee before heading to Biogradska Gora National Park. Just a few km’s down the road. Not too difficult – except for me. The last 3km up hill took my last reserves of energy. Really, uphill at the end of the day is not the way to go for me. I know that from experience.
What a beautiful National Park. Unfortunately the surrounding mountains, some over 2,000m, were shrouded in low cloud cover so the lake wasn’t able to reflect the magnificence of them. But it was still a beautiful walk around the lake. Biogradska National Park is known for its virgin, primeval forest so
Durmitor National Park
Still snow beside the road. Some of it was shoulder height. Imagine winter...
green and lush with all the trees covered in moss, some more than others. And the air, at 1,094 above sea level, was cool and damp and the forest smelt just so, well, foresty. It was all very organic.
The following morning I said a sorry farewell to a true cycling buddy that made me realise that yes, if I just pulled my finger out, I can achieve more. But at stage, I think I’m secretly quite happy to be an underachiever : )
Tot: 0.088s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 10; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0115s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb