The second day in beautiful Montenegro started with sun, coffee and planning what to see next. For a country of this size, Montenegro is full of places to see, and picking only few of them may be a challenge. We spent wonderful morning in the café in the same building as our rented apartment, and off we went to find our car that was hiding in one of the nearby parking lots.
The first stop of the day was the Ostrog Monastery, located just 50 kilometres from the capital city. The white monastery is visible from kilometres away as it is “carved” in the side of the hill, almost at the top. Few turns drive up the hill, and we parked the car in the parking lot, that turned out to be not that close to the monastery. We still had to climb approximately 3 kilometres up-hill to reach our destination.
The Monastery was founded by the Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina in the XVII century. His body is kept in a cave-church at the Monastery. To visit his tomb, we had to wait in a queue in the sun, and the room with his remains is tiny, and no more than 2-3 people can fit in there the same time. Today’s look, and division into Upper Monastery and Lower Monastery was given between World Wars, after the big fire had destroyed majority of the place.
The Monastery of Ostrog is one of the most visited in Balkans. Even though it is an Orthodox church it is believed that the Catholics and the Muslims come to pay their respects in addition to the Orthodox believers. It is a beautiful place to visit, not only because of its history, but also because of its location. One can see majority of the valley and the opposite chain of hills from the terrace of the Lower Church. I spent few minutes taking the place in and the surroundings in being in the awe of it all. The weather perfect that day, so we really took our time to experience that location.
We did not drive too far away from the monastery, when the curiousity for a local cuisine hit our stomachs. On the way to our next destination we stopped in the local restaurant to try traditional food. Our hearts were set at “slane palacinke” (salty pancakes). Little that we knew that our stomachs would definitely remember this lunch. The dish, disguised as a main artery-clogging with instant bad cholesterol rise and possible indigestion, consists of two big deep-fried crispy pancakes filled with cheese and mushrooms, covered in additional cheese and served with pickles and heavy cream on the side. It took us a while to finish it, and I can honestly say that this was one heavy and delicious lunch!
Our GPS was set with our next destination, Cetnije. The city is an Old Royal Capital of Montenegro. It is not only a historic city, but it is also where the residence of current President of Montenegro is located.
Usually GPS shows option as short route, economic route and long route. Well, as it turned out that all depends on GPS and the capability. After deciding we entered the option of a short route, and off we went.
We started suspecting that something went totally wrong with GPS when the tarmac ended at the end of the road, and we started driving on the local road. At some point we were surrounded by trees and bushes and the only local representative popped up in a form of a hedgehog.
Suddenly we started climbing higher and higher with a road getting narrower and narrower. The quality of the road was also changing, to the worse. Even the road signs disappeared leaving us with our “GPS”. I love driving, and I drove in many different countries, but after driving in the mountains for two hours with GPS still showing me the short route and “15 minutes” to destination, I believed that this GPS was full of crap. Occasionally we spotted a house or a very old car, however we drove between thick bushes and trees, with a steep way down on my left.
And we drove… and drove… and drove some more…
If it was not for a stress of “where are we”, “why we are here”, “where are the road signs” and, quoting the Donkey from “Shrek”, “are we there yet”, I would enjoy the drive. The Mountains of Montenegro are beautiful, covered in green and lush forest with occasional small village on the way. This must be a paradise for the hikers.
In total, the “short route” took us about four hours to reach a tarmac again, that lead to a tunnel. Imagine the happiness we felt! According to the instructions coming from the GPS, we should have been close to where we wanted to go.
Unfortunately, GPS nor any of the road signs, did not mention that the tunnel was still under the construction. Hence, we were forced to find another way. It looked like our GPS was not the only one full of errors, because there were quite few cars driving towards the tunnel and then turning back. They must have been tourists too:)
As it was coming to a quite late hour, we drove through Cetnije without stopping. It was one of those quick sightseeing moments from the window of the car. We headed again to Kotor for a longer visit then the day before. This time we did not park the car immediately after arriving to Kotor but we drove further to see beyond the main pier.
The bay is surrounded by mountains making the entire area tranquil, as there is only one exit from the back to the Adriatic Sea. If one looks for a not so crowded location, without huge resorts, packed beaches full of frying themselves tourists around and a little bit of seclusion, this is simply the perfect spot to rest. Not to mention good food, especially fresh fish.
We came back to Podgorica well after the sunset, both very tired after the excitement of the day, with our adrenaline coming back to normal levels. We still had our bellies digesting the “slane palacinke”, so we thought light dinner should be exactly what we needed. As a foodie, I said a proper goodbye ordering another portion of traditional “black risotto” accompanied with couple of glasses of Aperol Spirtz:)