Secret Honeymoon in Montenegro Part 2: Mountains and hotels

Friday, July 14, 2017

If the first week had been by the Adriatic Coast and Airbnbs, the latter half of the surprise honeymoon trip was by lakes and mountains and hotels.

Days 8-9: Žabljak

Last night the cloudless blue skies we'd been enjoying thus far broke open while we were in Berane on a coffee stop. Like, we are talking a torrential downpour. We could hardly see the road in front of us, the rain that momentarily had turned into hail, and the thunders sounded so close this high above the mountains that it was truly frightening. The rain lasted all night. The weather in North Montenegro is definitely colder than the coast. I finally succumbed to the weather and got a cold. Boohoo.

In Žabljak we went for a walk around Lake Black. The national park had the most tourists we've seen so far. Bus loads of them.

The four star hotel Soa is right next to Durmitor national park. Hubby booked us a family suite - huge! The hotel also comes with a free sauna and hammam for private use. We found that that's pretty common of hotels in Montenegro, but not all of them are of decent size. The weaklings that we are , we were constantly in and out, not being able to last even 15 minutes sitting still in them. I also got a body scrub here. It was a satisfying experience overall, though at one point I thought my skin would be peeled back and bleeding!

The second day at Hotel Soa, we went canyoning from Nevidio, around 20km from Žabljak. I'd only agreed to canyoning because I knew my husband would love to do it. Canyoning turned out to be a great idea, with just us two and the guide. We got into our wetsuits - two for me - and shoes. The smallest shoe size they had was 40. I have size 35 feet. I felt like Pipi Longstocking the whole time. It made walking quite tiring but wasn't too bad in the end. We followed the canyon, with rocks hanging between two slopes above us, climbing rocks, jumping over and under waterfalls. It was beautiful and adrenaline pumping. The walk back up the mountain afterwards wasn't fun though, especially dragging our tired legs in the heat with the mob of flies and mosquitoes gladly sticking close by. Everything tastes better after an exercise. I had a small trout, eaten traditional way, with fingers.

Days 10-11: Pivo Canyon

The cold is still very much here, added by the pains from the canyoning the day before. Not the best combo!
Taking the day super slow, we drove through windy but green landscape of all sorts of mountain sheep and deep blue Pivo canyon to arrive at our place for the next two days, in the middle of nowhere.

It's a small wooden cabin with a campfire out the front and the river running beyond. The electricity only comes on at designated times during the day, wifi included. I love this place! We tried to go to a monastery just over the border in Bosnia but got stopped by the Police because we forgot that we were not allowed to cross borders with our rental car. No rafting with my cold but lots of mountain food - goulaš, meat, mousaka, potatoes, hot chocolate, writing postcards, playing chess and darts, and practising for a wedding speech.

Day 12: Podgorica

I thought the river might flood and sweep the cabin away in the rain that played an all-nighter. Woke up at 4.30am again, making for a grumpy morning. I hate the cold.

On the way to Podgorica, we made stops at Ostrog Monastery and Danilovgrad. Ostrog Monastery is a famous Orthodox pilgrim site set on the rocky mountains. Lots of people trek up, some in bare feet, to pay their respects. It was amazing to see the artworks and the amount of people.

Podgorica is definitely a city, not a village like all the other places we had been to. The five star hotel for the night sits in the middle of a hip lively neighbourhood as most boutique hotels tend to do. We also started souvenir shopping for our family and friends today, stopping by the many roadside markets selling liquors, honey, etc. that dot the mountain roads.

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