Apr '19 05

Podgorica, Montenegro - the most sultry capital of Europe?

lousy - this is the first word that appeared on our lips, after arriving in the capital of Montenegro - the city Podgorica. I was supposed to spend 11 days in it and it was a non-obvious decision. For such a long stay in this, not very willingly recommended to visit the city, decide only the greatest knights hardcoru. It is not often a situation when you can only answer "nothing" when you ask "what is worth to see there". Podgorica is a creation, as if we were mixing together Radom, Łódź and Sosnowiec, they moved it to the most Silesian Silesia and moved it back some 20 years.

 

Podgorica is a phenomenon. A city where nothing is nice. The level of raggedness reaches the level at which it becomes attractive (for a moment).

 

Already the first googlans (after we bought the tickets) returned the results in the following way: "Podgorica is a hole" or "Podgorica - the most boring capital of Europe". I'm not surprised at all. If a man from a civilized country comes here, let's say, this is the Netherlands (entry about Amsterdam and cross-country) - it must be a shock for him. For us it was bigger than Morocco - in every respect. A bit because we did not expect it, but because it is a similar and yet different world. 

 


 

WTF, what is $% # ?!

 

This is the thought that accompanied us throughout our stay in Podgorica. People have achieved a higher level of "sacking on everything" here. Sidewalks can not be walked, because they are completely pledged by cars. If someone has not found a place on the pavement, he leaves the car on the street. As it is already difficult on the street, you can stand on the lanes or at the intersection. On the lanes, being a pedestrian, you have to look in each direction, because the king of the street is a car and this car will not be slowed down on your green arrow just because you also have green and are trying to go ... but we will come back to traffic.

 

 

Blocks look like the worst, Silesian, mining settlements. Everywhere, laundry is dried (in houses, on trees, on balconies) and plastic nets, rubbish, sometimes a sofa or a fridge. The worst thing about it is that nobody here has anything to blame for. Someone almost struck someone on the belt, someone enforced the priority - it's nothing, it's bumbling, it's making a deal, it's getting done. Unless it's just our crooked perception of reality, and so great margins of error are not needed.

 

 

It is scandalous, but it is so familiar and positive. This level of ugliness, which is already known as "art". If you were born before the 90's and as part of a free, children's time, you played with your friends on a dustbin by the trash, there is a good chance that you will feel a note of nostalgia. It's like here, once.

 

What will I do that all cities in this country sound like the name of a venereal disease: Podgorica, Cetinje, Budva, Zabljak, Roza ... and Kotor (but it's probably not venereal)

 

In the second week of stay, the rules began to clarify if:

- you are not sure if you will be able to join the movement, you will make it
- you are not sure if you have priority, you have it
- you know that you do not have priority, but you have been standing for more than 13 seconds, getting into traffic, you are winning the right of priority
- you did not hit a pedestrian / cyclist (because, for example, he dodged) it means that you did not do anything wrong
- you have a car, you have priority over those who do not have
- Your car is moving, it means it is working
- you have nowhere to park, use the pavement. If there is no space on the sidewalk, use the street lane (regardless of how many of them there are). If everything is already there, park at the intersection or lanes, but then turn on the emergency lights of invisibility, or not ... the rest does not matter.

 

 

I slowly filtered through it. I felt that I needed to leave this place as soon as possible.

 


 

For those who do not like reading

 

Prices as in Poland (I dare to say that the cheapest country with Euro as currency)

Drivers of variates (not maliciously, just by nature)

Bitumen as-with very good or none

Skadar Lake and mountains around Podgorica - an assault

Podgorica - cancer, but beautifully located

Kajmak - this is not a toffee mass but a salty, creamy cream cheese (something for the profession and discovery at the same time)!

At the turn of March and April it is slightly gloomy, and roads above 1400m above sea level are impassable

It's worth it, but it's not an attraction for everyone

Albania is also a bullion and it will probably be our next direction of departure

 


 

Classical Podgorica

 

The average citizen of Montenegro is quite easy to recognize, and the one who lives in Podgorica is the very essence of stereotypes.

 

 

Podgorić is the people that we missed so much in Morocco. The most Slavic Slavs. I feel like at home. As if someone would come to me in a dresk and ask about my problems.

 

Podgoricz would look like you, if you:

- he was a little taller and he wore a short beard

- went to the gym and ate greasy things

- he put rolled up socks under his armpits and groin so that your gait would not leave any doubts about who is the king of the area

- smoked in every possible (and impossible) place, with particular reference to restaurants

- moved by a 15-year-old Mercedes or slightly older and smaller car, but with more blue-black vapors

- ALWAYS and everywhere he went in desie and had dark glasses on hand. The bigger the writing on the tracksuit, the better: ADIDAS, NIKE, TOMMY, REAL MADRID and the like are preferred ... possibly the same stripes, in the number from 2 to 4. Really - so many, so very stereotypical people that suit us to define " dresier "I have never seen anywhere. I thought it was only on movies.

 

Classical podgoriczanin is also tall and probably quite pretty, but it is impossible to take a good look at it, because of the number of classic podgoriczaninów, who carefully observe unknown strangers.

 


 

Pieniążki, or how much of it?

 

Montenegro was Yugoslavia, and rather closer to its neighbors, with a dubious opinion about us: Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania Slovenia - it can not be expensive in it. Surprisingly, the currency of Montenegro is Euro (which replaced the German brand) - so it can not be cheap. Both of these facts balance each other and prices are more or less the same as in Poland - both food in stores (smaller ones, because Biedronki and large grocery stores do not have), food in pubs, taxis, services. In Podgorica, prices similar to Warsaw, in other cities a bit cheaper, on the coast differently - probably depends on whether there is a season.

 

Behind LOT flight from Chopin to Podgorica we pay a little over 700 PLN two ways (together with a bicycle). You can probably cheaper Ryan, only you need to get to Modlin and buy a bike for an absurd amount. In addition, LOT flies very well, because you can fly out of the week (almost) after work, and come back on Sunday afternoon.

 

A taxi from the airport to the center is about 10 euros, by train 2 euros - to the station is about 1km.

 

For 11 days in a 50-meter flat in new construction, we pay about PLN 1,100. It can be cheaper and better, and more expensive and worse - it depends on how it goes.

 

For 11 days of use Hyundai i10 (yes - it includes 2 people and 2 bicycles or 2 people and one soft suitcase with a bicycle) with full insurance - 110 euros. It turns out that the guest from the apartment also has a rental company - LINK TO PROAUTO RENTAL.

 

For "life" we pay as much as if we were sitting at home. The SIM card with internet is 5euro for 5GB per week (plus infinite fejsbuki) - available for purchase in most stores. The seller will immediately ask us for proof and register it for us. Key words: Telenor Sim Internet Prepaid.

 

There is no Decathlon, no McDonalds, no Burger Kings, no KFC etc. There is an Intersport where prices are so great that we thought for a long time that they sell counterfeits. Most things cost him up to 50euro (eg branded sneakers), and around 100euro they only finish the winter cocks of the top brands. When we are armed in warm clothes in the autumn, it will probably be worth coming here. It is beautiful for the fact that the shops are open from early morning until late evening. There is no problem to visit the bakery at 9pm and buy bread there.

 


 

Street Sodom and Gomorrah

 

If this entry was sponsored by the Tourism Development Agency in Montenegro, I would write: Never before, nowhere did I feel as little obstacle on the road as here. Because in such Norway - a narrow, narrow and uphill road. You are hovering at your 12km / h, and the tubing of cars behind you is steadily growing, because you can not overtake. Or a narrow street out of the capital. Twine cars in both directions - no one will miss you either because there is no place. There is no such problem in Montenegro.

 

I do not know, maybe because I saw 2 and a half year old cyclists on the road for 11 days, but I know from Strava that there are at least a dozen or so regular riders here. There is no bike on the road. There is no situation in which the driver behind you would say that he can not overtake. Regardless of the number of belts, the truck will bypass you in such a distance that you can feel it in your arms. Burying a man on a bicycle is so abstract that if I did not see it, I would not believe it. Virtually every driver with whom I had any contact left me with the desire to go to him and ask questions straight to the face: WHY or at least huddle somewhere in the corner and spread arms in a gesture of complete lack of understanding of the situation that has just taken place. However, I got the interesting impression that these are not rude or malicious behaviors, but simply due to ignorance and lack of familiarity with people on bicycles.

... although it may also be the fact that even in the city, some 86% of people in cars are clicking or talking on the cell and do not have time to safely bypass the riders.

 

 

Street curiosityA car around the country we have made some 600km and the times of getting between towns, even if we limit ourselves to the most major of the main roads, are from space. The average speed of movement is about 50-60km / h. It's really hard to find a route where Google Maps predicts an average above 60km / h.

In order to make the trip more attractive every 40 km, there is a police patrol with a speed camera in front of the eyes, and with it a queue of petitioners in cars.

 


 

Eco-vegan in the style of zero waste with a bamboo straw and its own organic mug

 

A visit to Montenegro has one major advantage. It illustrates well why compliance with the rules is important. In Podgorica, everything is covered with cars, and moving around (with anything, even legs), you have to have eyes around your head. What's more, the amount of rubbish we encounter with every major human aggregate is staggering. Of course, the view of a seahorse wrapped in a plastic bag gives a bit of thought, but this is a higher level of abstraction.

Montenegro is a landscape quite close to us, and which is destroyed by silly human activity, on an exaggerated scale. Stupid, because the garbage cans are full here, and the problem lies (literally) around them. Polanka, trees, in the background beautiful, majestic mountains, a small winding river canyon, some small waterfall, sheep, goats, cows, horses ... and everything ZAJE ... salty garbage: foil, armchair, car wreck, boards, falling, abandoned house, glass. In the foil shop you get everything. Do you buy a lipstick in Rossman's equivalent? You will get it in a foil. You buy a donut in the bakery or bread in paper - they will be additionally secured with a foil. Before we realized, to the surprise of the sellers, to reclaim the foil, we already had enough in the apartment that it was enough to secure it in a bicycle suitcase.

I've got here aversion to plastic, foil and cars - that's probably good. I would like to send everyone here for a week to see what the effects of egoism bring.

 


 

Podgorica: why go to pathology?

 

Seeing this somewhat lengthy intro, one very legitimate question arises: why anyone would go there. After all, everything that is the most beautiful is according to the guides on the coast, and possibly you can jump from there for 2-3 days into the mountains deep into the country. I will answer this: the Montenegrin coast is already touristy close to the Croatian coast. Whoever missed the moment to visit before the tourists discovered this place, will never know how it can be there. I answer: Podgorica is a great starting point for the rider. It is known, it would be a bit better to change the apartment every 2-3 days, but if you are condemned to one - it is enough for a week of intensive driving. If you have an additional car and 1-2h travel somewhere else is not a problem, you have routes for at least 2 weeks.

I do not think I've ever been in such a comfortable place. Just a few to a dozen or so minutes by bike (you can try even urban bike paths, but it does not change anything) to find yourself on empty roads. Podgorica is located in the only flat region of the country, but the area is so small that regardless of the direction chosen, after a dozen or so minutes asphalt climbs start with a distance of 800 to 1500 meters (because we start practically from scratch). As if that was not enough, some loops are so good that I could ride them practically every day. It is simply beautiful, and the Skadar Lake, located a dozen or so kilometers away from the city, is one of the best lakes I've ever seen in my life (and the best for me).

 


 

Dear: If your highway is closer to you than your wife and daughter put together, do not come here.

 

At the beginning, a small digression: this is not a place for everyone. If you like cycling cafes, perfect asphalts, workouts, power measurements, settings, road safety, proven solutions and peace of mind associated with organized groupings - this is not the place for you. Roads are here as-such ... with small breaks, when, for example, quite spontaneously disappear, or are replaced by craters or gravel. By as-such I mean passable road with caution.

Traffic on side roads is completely negligible (cars met within an hour counts on the fingers of one hand) and there is a greater chance that we will fall on a cow, goat or horse standing crosswise. For us, only the fragments of the main roads were problematic (which we would still consider sideways), on which the traffic slightly increased. At the coast of the road I would describe as "NOT-TO-RIDE" due to the number of cars and the distance left by the cyclist, but lokalsi from what I see, somehow these roads run and live (probably - maybe that's why so few riders). There are a lot of places where we can only get a gravel - especially on the side of Albania, which is also a dozen or so kilometers.

Choosing a bike for me? Gravel, if we plan mountain gravels. For asphalts and some adventures: a comfortable road with reinforced 28mm tires, although despite the 4-digit kilometer result we made here, we did not catch a single slip. I recommend, however, the exchange of shoes / pedals on MTB, because there are many places to go on foot when cycling.

 


 

When to go?

 

Hard to say. The turn of March and April on the one hand gave us six days in a row of a strong lamp, on the other hand uninterrupted rain. Temperature was optimal for short-time driving, and sometimes even too warm. There were two problems: almost everywhere outside the Skadar Lake area, it was gray, boomy and gloomy. In combination with many ruins of abandoned buildings, it makes the atmosphere ideal for recording a movie in a post-apo atmosphere. We missed some greenery visible on the ubiquitous on the internet photos from this region. Only the lowlands suggested that maybe these photos do not lie and in the high season it gets really nice here.

 

 

The best roads (ie those located the highest) were impassable. At an altitude of 1400-1500m above sea level, snow kicked out, which effectively prevented the road both by car and bicycle. In addition, I do not know if it's a periodic or is it all the time. In many places, grass (?) Was burned after winter, so that the visibility left much to be desired in the mountains. The biggest plus, however, is that we arrived completely outside the tourist season. Most of the places that are normally flooded with people (I think) were empty, and all local attractions were just beginning to be armored.

 


 

What to go

 

It's nice, over 2000 words, and I'm just starting to write about routes. There is a lot of roads here, and I have not had the feeling of so much unexplored area around the place where I live. So I chose a few examples, which in my opinion were the best solutions, but I do not guarantee that they are actually optimal. If you ask people on the Internet what to go in Montenegro, there are two answers:

 

Durmotor and Lovćen

 

We did not drive any of them. Durmitor are big mountains and asphalt roads marked here as "panoramic road" routes, but unfortunately you can forget about driving on roads located at 1900m above sea level. It remains to send me back to Google search resultsto see what we lost. We only saw the region by car, but it soon turned out that skitury would be more useful here.

Lovćen National Park is a small mountain range located next to Kotor. The main fun here is the entry from the sea level to the Štirovnik located at 1749m above sea level (if we accept a gravel road) or asphalt to the Narego Mausoleum located 200 meters below. Yes, one and a half kilometers (vertically) of a continuous driveway - it makes an impression. We do not manage this and the driveway ends several hundred meters below, because even though the road is cleared of snow, the snow bands quickly make us aware that we are inadequately dressed, it is too late, and if that was not enough - the road is still under renovation for a few days .

 


 

0. Car trip

 

One of the days we devote to the use of our wonderful Hyundai to explore the country like typical tourists. It quickly turns out that we are extremely weak in this, but a visit to Durmitor makes us realize that there is no reason to count on cycling there. We get somewhere between the end of the ski season and the beginning of spring. We visit the famous Black Lake, which is white at this time. Very nice areas, but in adidasach can not see much - so we pay a few euros for admission to the place where we spend half an hour. The view of the mountains falling into the water compensates for financial failure. In late spring the lake is supposedly a popular bathing spot because all-day skiing. Interesting, because the whole area looks much more available version of our Sea Eye - I think that the introduction of bans is a matter of time.

 

 

We ride a bit of 82 km canyon of the Tara river - depth reaching 1300 meters puts him in second place in the world, 200 meters behind the already described here twice The Grand Canyon. The classic activity here is rafting ... but unfortunately not in March.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, we also reflect on Đurđevića Tara Bridge - at the time when its construction was completed, it had the largest curve of all bridges in Europe (at least those for vehicles). At the bridge there are also two downhill links (tyroles), open unfortunately only from May - maybe it's better ... if you want to see how it looks, I invite you here: https://www.redrockzipline.com/

In addition, we visit a lot of other places, but I would not write about any of them as "exceptionally worth visiting." We gain a general view of the country for this and it does not look different than in the Podgorica region on which we focus.

 

 


 

1. The largest classic. His height Kotor

 

Kotor creme de la creme: 98km / 2355m
Kotor pętla: 111km / 2721m

 

Let's have it behind us: Kotor is the biggest tramp of all the tramps - the Dubrovnik of Montenegro. The statement that Kotor is a beautiful city is a tourist-blogger's lie in vivid eyes. Kotor is a terrible city, welcoming us with old blocks covered with laundry, and a bit further a decent old town (similar to thousands of other old towns) ... but maybe I am just an ignorant and I can not appreciate beauty.

Kotor has another, very important advantage - it is brilliantly located and runs from it an excellent cycling route through serpentine mountains to Lovćen. The same is just a pebble and with much more serpentines there is also a walking trail - it would be sinless to undermine at least one of them.

 

It is said that Kotor Bay is the southernmost fjord of Europe. Yes, the bay is a bit like Norwergy, but climate, purity and human interference are not necessarily ...

 

Let's start from the beginning. The version on the right - the loop beginning in the former capital of the country - Cetinje, through Budva and Kotor and Lovcen is probably one of the most recommended routes in the country (next to Durmitor). That's how you can also guess by knowing our blog, partly the worst route we've traveled here. The section between Cetynia and Budva is the main road leading to the local Mielno. Maybe the views of the bay are good, but the drivers do not let them focus on them. For 20 kilometers, I only prayed that I would not die. The reward for survival is a visit to Budva, a city recommended in guidebooks. Actually, if you like 7D cinemas, tightly packed with hotels and casinos, "Las Vegas" centers, this will be the perfect place. Let's add buses to tourists and we have a set.

 

 

 

We left Budva in such fear and rush that we modified the road a bit (here is the link to Stravy) to avoid people even more. It did not work out for good. We start the escape from the city to the north by a driveway, where Mr. Czesław Lang could easily place a commemorative stone "Bukovina wall". There is a surprise waiting for us at the top - the exit at which the Karkonoska Pass is a flat - fortunately relatively short. It lasted a maximum of 2mm brake pad. This is one of those conventions, in which you ask yourself "What if it is a dead end and you have to step back?".

 

 

According to the law of self-fulfilling prophecies, the end of the exit ended with asphalt, and in principle also any way. As only the backs are gone (this theory hardly killed me on this trip, as later), we find a stony road leading through some property, which according to the map, after a few connections with the main roads, gives hope of meeting once asphalt. We reach the closed gate. An older man approaches us and he never saw the last road cyclist.

 

- Can you ?! Panda yells
- You can! a nice gentleman exclaims with a slight surprise.

 

We open the gate and move on. To this day, we do not know what Montenegrin means "you can", but the question asked by us was wrong: it should be "can be ?!". We have a few kilometers of walking around the cobbles with no prospects ahead of us. When hope began to die, it turned out to be a gravel road that led to asphalt that appeared out of nowhere and another disgusting steep descent. We are landing in a place where the track would lead us ...

Somewhat tired and with a shortage of time, we decide to "straighten a bit of access to Kotor" and hit the main road. Drama, massacre, pathology and life on the edge, but we manage to survive. We do not go down to Kotor - we will return to it once, by car. It saves us from a 200-meter driveway, although in the depths of our mind is the awareness that we will do a bit "non-destructive" driveway.

The beginning of probably the most famous driveway in this part of Europe (next to Sv. Jure in Croatia) is ahead of us. It starts so that we want to sit down and cry, because neither the bay does not look particularly special, or the serpentine is not visible from below, and the only rubbish around us. The situation changes dramatically after a few kilometers and I have to apologize for all my bad thoughts. The driveway is magnificent and beautiful - it has a stable, comfortable slope, and the movement is minimal. I'm afraid that in the season it looks different here. It's hard to talk about serpentine, so I'll just add photos here:

 

 

The end of serpents is obviously not the end of the driveway. We are disgustingly high, but we still have 500 meters left, which unfortunately we will not do. Access to the peaks of the National Park Lovcen is currently undergoing a pre-season renovation and consists mainly of excavators and gravel. In retrospect, it turns out to be happy for us. We circle the mountains (hills slightly lower) and a very nice and completely empty road we reach Cetynia.

 

 

We decide to visit in Lovcen by car, as we still have about an hour to dark. It quickly turns out that if we decided to overcome this version with a road, today two frozen bodies would be sought. A beautiful route, but the walls of snow and the setting sun did not fill us with optimism. We reach the summit 15 minutes before the closing of the Mausoleum (we take the lower peak, because it is possible to enter it by car), from which a 360-degree panoramic view can be seen, but the nice ticket lord does not let us in.

 

Note, I describe GUVNO to attract attention

 

For the first time in our life we regret that we did not enter guvno. Because guvno is such a small, small meeting place in Montenegro - usually with a good view. One of the best such guvien is at the Mausoleum of Niegosz.

 

If I can suggest something, I would modify the "slightly" loop. The whole part with Budva is unnecessary to me, but we can see the panorama from the car in one of the car parks.

 

Version on the left. In my opinion, this is creme de la creme. We are starting from Kotor, climbing with serpentine, we are circling the National Park passing through Cetina, then we climb to the top and serpentine down to the city. There is a version for hardcores, in which we follow the serpentines to continue towards the summit, then exit to Cetynia, round the Park and serpentine again to the city.

 

Digression about Kotor.

 

We return to Kotor another day. When a man forgets about parking lots and blocks straight from the State Agricultural Farm, and somehow somehow get to the Old Town, it's pretty cool. Especially if you add to this at least part of the walking route, towering over the city (the route leads to the end of serpentines, which we beat by bike). I do not want to think what it looks like in the season, but I think we have some luck. In the city, we feel like the only tourists. Only us, the old town and dozens of waiters and sellers who lazily follow us with their eyes. Funny and terrible at the same time. We need about 20 minutes of walk to remind ourselves that we can not "tour". I think that our photos and memories of Kotor are a unique sensation:

 

 

In Kotor, of course, we also eat lunch, the pub which went to Bastion 3. The standard set throughout the trip is the grill mix (ie the cross-section of meats) and seafood. Is it good, I can not judge, because the meat is similar everywhere, and when it comes to "floats", our simple palate can only assess whether there is enough salt / enough salt and lemon.

 


 

2. Krug's eye Korita

Krug oko Korita: 73km / 1555m
Krug oko Korita extended version: 125km / 2802m

 

Krug oko Korita is starting in Podgorica, the first fully marked Montenegrin lookout. The official leaflet looks like OH YES and presents both the whole road and the curiosities that can be found on it. As most of the monuments were successfully avoided as it should be, we will focus on the road. The Internet claims that it is the most-visited pedestrian-route in the country - interesting. If you think that it can be a guarantee of good asphalt, you can not be more wrong.

What's more, there are currently places where asphalt is not available due to rock landslides. However, it can be seen that the locals are trying very hard and part of the loop and part of its extension to the north are already covered with perfectly smooth asphalt. So good that it does not fit there. At the turn of March and April, we do not meet anyone on the route, and all buildings in the highest parts of the route are deserted.

As the first half of the route is moderately varied (at least compared to the second one) I suggest to develop a loop for a series of TRUE STOTS (right map). We are turning here a sad driveway along the highway to Serbia that is being built. This results in an increased number of Chinese in the area and occasionally dumps. This is probably the last moments to drive this scenic route without the sound of cars speeding past.

The initial 60km is practically a continuous uphill drive from 50m above sea level to nearly 1600m above sea level. We start the main route with a nice canyon (of course hollowed out by a river with a color), after a few / a dozen kilometers to bounce off into the wilderness. As usual, we drive along the slope, slowly gaining altitude, and you could, of course, think it's boring and monotonous, but with every kilometer it gets better and better, and the views are not letting go any more.

 

 

We pass along the way Mala Rijeka Viaduct (on the river with a beautiful and original name translated into: Mała Rzeka) - it was once the highest railway viaduct in the world. I admit honestly, it does not look impressive, and the more I look at it, the smaller the impression. The Belgrade-Bar railway line itself is much more interesting, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and looking at the location of the tracks - I can believe it.

 

 

A trained eye will see me waving for help in this photo - on a white-marked road;) Big success, because the feet are standing on the snow, and deeply not under it:

 

 

Meaningful asphalt ends somehow around Raskovo Guvno (I had to). It seems to me that the so-called poor but passable is still there, but it's hard for me to judge. From about 1250m above sea level, there is snow, which with each subway becomes higher and higher, to finally reach the height covering my knees at every step.

 

I beat another 13 kilometers from my shoe, wading in the snow, pulling a bicycle and wondering when my feet would be frostbitten

 

It's quite an uncomfortable experience, because after the second hour of walking it was impossible to tell how to get out of this situation in the event of a bad weather. The thrill of emotion was added by the fact that this is the only way you can get here, so in the case of any disaster, no one will find me until late spring. In these delightful circumstances, I spend about 4 hours - I do not remember when I got tired so much for the last time.

 

 

On the way I pass the dream lake Bukomirsko - such a substitute of the Sea Eye. I meet there also the only man who looks like a local bear grills, who with a rifle on his back explains to me that I should not be here and that you can not get here, or leave the car, and the bike the more. After many miles of torment, I am very grateful to him for this information.

I will not hide that my feet, soaked for many hours and lack of any hope that it might be better around the bend, disturbed me a little bit over the mountain panoramas stretching all around me. I do not have a heartbeat so much to 170, when I'm driving a bicycle under my arm.

 

It was undoubtedly the stupidest thing in my life:

 

Ahead of me, the last corner, thanks to letting the drone know that afterwards the snow ends and a familiar route awaits me. Unfortunately, the drama is playing - the last corner is completely covered up with a few meters long snowdrift, which points directly at the hundred-meter chasm at a right angle. Snow is not afraid of me anymore, I have a lot of experience, so I throw the bike, take a step, then the second one, I again throw the bike ... and the snow begins to slip.

Well, it's a natural consequence that I did not think about. I can see myself in this valley a few hundred meters below as I am looking for a bicycle and I calculate how long 3 bars will last for me. Then I start thinking about what the hand of the guy in the film "127 hours" cut out for himself. I am rescued by some protruding stone, for which I am blocking my leg and gently begin to move backwards to withdraw from this idea.

 

 

I do not hide, the situation is a bit stalemate, because the return road is again a few hours of wading in the snow, for which I do not necessarily have the strength, and until the twilight they have stayed for 2 hours. Without sensible alternatives, I therefore make a second attempt to cross the cliff. This time I decide to run at an angle of 45 ° up. I'm kicking my shoe many times with snow, every time I put my foot in order to make a safe "house" for her. Every two steps I move the bike a dozen centimeters away and with the impetus I drive it into the snow. I reach the rock where the snow gap appears, so my plan fails. If I collapse in this crevice I will find it in a month with thaws.

The only thing that remains to me is the downhill ride praying that the chosen angle of exit will end my trip where the asphalt begins. It would definitely be easier if it was not for 10kg of the bike under his arm. This is the moment when you think that you are doing something terribly stupid, but there is no other way out. Something between a desperate run and an uncontrolled descent on the backside connected with praying for grip pushes me to the center of the asphalt. I do not think I've ever been so close to a serious disaster in my life.

 

 

Roads connect in the village of Ubli, to which I reach the ideal asphalt. This is one of those places where I catch the downhill flow. Like singles, but in road edition. If one day they finish such a surface in the whole area, it will be a paradise. Delicate turns, slight inclination and lack of any "disturbances" make that maintained ~ 50km / h and a permanent state of slight inclination relative to the road give a lot more fun than usual. The only surprise can be cows or goats positioned across the road or a fire that is just trying to get to the other side. In the current situation, I would gladly stop at such a fire and thaw some parts of my body.

This road looks something like that and although it can not be seen, it runs rather down than up:

 

 

This time I resign from completing the full loop, because everything is wet and soaked, but a few days earlier I defeated her with Panda, so I know what Korita's eye is waiting for in the second half of Krug. And perfection awaits there.

 

First of all, Korita itself is a strictly resort town, but in the summer. Dozens of abandoned houses surrounded by high mountains, again good scenography for the movie about the zombie apocalypse. Getting to it from the mentioned Ubli is nice, but considering the quality of the whole loop, a bit boring.

In Korita, a five-kilometer long loop on Grlo Sokolovo begins.

 

 

It's definitely not expensive for a road bike, but if there's snow everywhere, we can afford a bit of madness, and believe me - it's worth it. Finding the route is easy, although it takes some time. Instead of focusing on the map, just look around the signs and the route marked with a white circle in the red border.

 

 

In the middle of the route (going according to the clock's directions the first half is much easier, so both ways we go with it) is a bench. This is the main point mentioned above Grlo Sokolovo. Pictures do not reflect the power of this view, but believe me, rest with your back on this perfectly profiled to "chill" seat convinced us that our next destination will be the Cursed Mountains in Albania unfolding before us. 

 

 

We are returning to the town and moving our bikes through several snowdrifts on the asphalt we move on. This "better" part of the small loop is waiting for us. I will say this: if it is the most visited route in the country, we either have bad luck, because the asphalt has crumbled a moment ago, or else just rides on the boulders.

For the two bad ones, however, the average surface is better than good but interrupted unexpectedly by craters that we encounter a moment earlier. The congress is also blocked by 3 horses for a while, so we drive the pace of a walking steed for several kilometers, which allows us to focus on peaks that open up at every horizon.

 

 

I describe the loop as a true cycling ignorant, omitting all the historical and cultural curiosities. Those more ambitious I refer to the official leaflet about the loop: Roadbook-The-Circuit-around-Korita

 

Then it is quite strong, we reach the canyon, which we overcame on the occasion of the loop to Albania (including the border - route 5.)

While from the bottom the canyon looked impressive, from above (700 meters higher) it looks a few times better. We would have stayed with him for a bit longer, but we are driven off by goats returning from grazing. That the canyon was even more .... as it is, the Montenegrins have put a great cross, a guvno and a small Jesus (probably on a 1: 1 scale) with him, who directs his gaze to Skadar Lake piercing in the distance.

Then there is only a short climb-a surprise and twice as much downhill as we have already defeated from Korita (which is almost a kilometer vertically) - almost the whole with a view of Podgorica in the background.

 

 


 

3. Ostrog Monastery

Ostrog Monastery: 99km / 1297m
Ostrog Monastery extended version: 139km / 2096m

The so-called motorboat fishing-boat with one driveway. This is a route that I can recommend to training colleagues, the essence of Podgorica. We leave the poor suburbs, then slowly climbing the slope of the mountain on the way to the Monastery and streamers to the monastery itself.

 

 

I do not know how it looks in the season, but I met 3 cars for the first 40km. The church is carved in the rock, it looks as modest as possible, but it is located so that there is no doubt who the boss is here. It's towering over everyone in the whole valley. I admit that I dreamed of photographing serpentines from the drone, as they match very well with the structure that they precede, but the locals were probably prepared for it - at the beginning of the driveway I see a clearly crossed out sign with a drone. In total, I am not surprised, after all, this is a sacred place, what tourists will be tempted by such a system.

 

Apparently, the monastery is visited annually by over a million people, the road is crowded, and queues line up to the entrance. I think I missed these attractions ..

 

There are two ways to return to Podgorica: slowly and steadily sliding down the other side of the road, the main road or a fast descent to the valley, which then flattens and we arrive along the river, probably the only flat in the country, into the city. As you can easily guess, the second option wins.

 


 

4. Skadar Lake

Pętla do Baru: 188km / 3132m
By train to Bar: 127km / 2150m

 

Skadar Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes I've seen. It can easily compete with Garda for me, and maybe even overtakes her. The options are two, one assumes a minor train fraud, the other one hooks on Albania and performs a full lap of the lake. Both have their advantages, but we decide on the first option. Who would not like to cross the famous railway line on the Montenegrin train. Well, today I know that I would not want ;-)

 

 

We leave from Podgorica - with the purchase of a ticket there is no problem, the departure time agrees with the one given on the website http://www.zcg-prevoz.me. The lady in the window explains something that the bike is a conductor, but I do not listen to it enough. We pay 2,000 euros per hour for an hour's ride (although 2euro is written on the ticket and website). It's great, but on the train it turns out that the bike is an extra 4 euros for one - I feel like in Ryanair. We have very good seats - up the steps to the wagon, standing, at the toilet, in a place where all travelers are smoking. Nice people notice that the smoke from pipes is suffocating us, so they regularly try to give us a cigarette.

The first kilometers are some of the ugliest villages from Gran Canaria, but then the route changes into an unforgettable piece. Such a really good one, which in combination with the extended version of Krug Korita's eye makes it worth visiting Montenegro even for only 2 days.

 

Because we are moving to the border with Albania, where everything is the same, but a bit different. We climb at a height of ~ 500 meters on nearly 5 kilometers with an average of 7%. It is not just any climb, because we are rocking the slope of the mountain, from which the Albanian greenery extends to the horizon. When it seems that nothing better will happen to us this day and we are huddled up and down by some abandoned villages, it appears ... Skadar Lake.

 

Eyes dazzle in the blue and as a boat wades.
Let's stand! - how quiet! - słuchszę ciągnące pelikany / kormorany / czaple / wędlecki / dziernaty,
Which the pupils of the falcon would not catch;
I hear when the butterfly is rocking on the grass (the unbaked one),
Where the slippery snake touches the herb (the deadly poisonous viper lives here)
In such silence - my ears are so interesting,
That I would hear a voice from Strava. - Let's go, no one is calling.

 

The case looks like this: there is a lake in color taken straight from the Photoshop junior high school student who just discovered the "saturation" slider. There is asphalt running along the slope and on the expensive side of the great water huge mountains. Such a crossroads between Norway and the Canaries. Asphalt can be a bit worse, but with zero traffic and in total who this asphalt is interested in when you see such things. This smoke from furnaces spreads only slightly limiting visibility, but after all I have a "dehaze" slider on the phone (odemglij?).

 

 

After passing the main road in the town of Virpazar (railway station and a lot of boat rentals for swimming on the lake), the landscape changes slightly, but the world championship is still there. The northern road surrounding the lake's branches deserves a special mention here. remember Horseshoe Bend from the US entry? It's something, just a little less, but more green and asphalt runs along it. As if that was not enough, at the viewpoint in Šinđon there is a series of optional serpentines, which maybe a better view does not guarantee, but they add an epic effect.

 

 

THIS IS REALLY GOOD ROAD.

REALLY.

 


 

5. Illegal Albania

Nielegalna Albania: 89km / 1011m
Albania with a slight pass: 133km / 1701m

NOTE: this route can not be traveled ... legally ;-)

But when we were moving, we did not know about it. The whole loop is a so-called strong stab. One of those that you do not forget, and if that was not enough, you can combine it with the previous one (if you like to walk on the marshes).

After about 5 kilometers, we leave the civilization and for the next few hours we can see 5 cars. We ride the canyon of the river Cem. Again, colored blue water, which makes the photos look unnatural, and the high walls on the sides and the two thousandths (and even 2,500 thousandths) in front of us - and I remind you that we are at ~ 250m above sea level

 

 

The canyon ends with a border ... basically not. In fact, on Google Maps the road near the border with Albania breaks off for some 100 meters, but in satellite view I saw it, so it could not be bad. We get to the passage, where we are welcomed by a joyful dog and Montenegrin clerk who informs us that we will not pass.

 

We spend 40 minutes on the border trying to communicate. In a nutshell, the point is that you can not go legally, because there is no Albanian border, there is only Montenegrin. The visitor can not let us pass openly because he is illegal and can not say that he wants a bribe, because it is also illegal. He can not suggest anything to us, so that we can understand. For all my questions straight away, I'm just looking at the cameras. The situation is so abstract that the guest treats me with meringue for consolation, and not skumawszy, that I have to pay for it, eat it and give it a bar from Decathlon. We, the righteous people, are not accustomed to breaking the law, so a lot of water in this thing passes before we get along. Especially that the guest does not want to believe us that we will do bicycles over 100km and we will politely return to Podgorica a legal passage ... and besides what if at the second passage someone asks us how we found ourselves in Albania?

 

 

The situation ends so that I lose 10 euros in the bathroom at the station, and a nice clerk goes to check something. During this time, we go further, jump over the barbed wire and follow the new, ideal asphalt for the driveway in Grabom. Such from the hidden, alpine categories - bald snow-capped mountains in the background, perfect asphalt, zero traffic and streamers. I am playing with the drone above, Panda on the observation deck talks to some Bulgar and Turk, who tell her about Poland once.

 

 

The exit is 10 km with an average of 7%. It is a bit thick - the ideal road, people with 100x less than animals and weird buildings: villas surrounded by goats, shattering hovels, rubbish, colorful houses - full cross section. I worry about the main road back to the border, but it turns out that instead of cars, we find pigs on it rather. Only at the border crossing we encounter a TIR cork, but it is completely non-invasive. Each time we get to the ID card itself.

Return options are in my opinion two: the one on the right, i.e. easily and quickly with a look at the local waterfall called Niagara. I will say straight away that with the real Niagara it has as much as our Skaryszewski Wembley in Praga with the real Wembley, but next to it is a restaurant where you can have a nice meal with nice water noise.

 

 

The second option is shoe destructor, bearing destroyer, bike squeegee. We reach Žabljak Crnojević, from which we have to get to Dodoš, and unfortunately, there is no (open road) between them. We follow the Azymut fields, losing track a couple of times. Maybe if it was not so wet, it would be a bit easier, but I do not know if it is ever less wet there. In Žabljak there is also a fort from the 10th century, which may not be very impressive, but it gives a good idea of what will have to be overcome from the shoe (it is also hard to come to the fort in SPD).

 

 

It's irrelevant again. These areas are beautiful and if we only had MTB shoes instead of road, we would be very happy with this walk. Especially, that the purpose of the trip justifies such a break. We land in the vicinity of roads from the route described in point 4. The fact that we get in the vicinity of the sunset adds to the charm of the whole place. And if only the main return road to Podgorica would be a bit less busy then. Unfortunately, riding it in the evening is a big chore, but since we survived it means that it was worth it.

 

It was also a very good tour.

Very.

 

 


 

Is it worth or not worth it?

 

Montenegro is not for everyone and I can not recommend it with a clear conscience. Montenegro is a pathological town, pathological behavior on the streets, sometimes unimaginable shit, smoky bars and trains and people looking like my favorite, jutubowych music videos: Russia Hardbass Crazy Dance and Dancing Crazy Russian Party (only sober, we have not seen alcohol patios). The most important thing I got out of 11 days in Montenegro is even greater aversion to disposable plastics, illegal parking and lack of courtesy on the road. It seems to me that it would be worth to condemn people who were found littering or kings of bad parking ... but nature effectively compensates for human errors - the question is how long.

 

Let our assessment, however, testify to the fact that in the vicinity of Durmitor and the eastern part of the country we will definitely be back, and meanwhile I am going to buy tickets for a picnic in Albania ...

 

About the Author:
Every day I work in IT: I restart servers, I click on things and I ask if it has already been repaired. I spend my free time with friends on cycling. We visit the best parties, overcome the most spectacular routes, we ride in the toughest races. Blog allows me to develop my passion and describe the best of adventures, so that you do not have to repeat our mistakes. I am trying to stick to the unpopular rule that quality counts not quantity.


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