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Durmitor National Park - Ostrog Monastery - Cetinje - Kotor

Trip Details

Road Trip 2013 I
Date: Wed, 11/09/2013
Distance: 220km.
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Giorgos Z., Stratos, Mimis
Photographers: Manolis, Giorgos Z., Stratos
Authors: Manolis
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

At night the wind hitting the windows and sometimes we think it rained. In the morning, we realized that occurred both simultaneously. The weather was bad and for our bad luck there was electric current and water blackout, in the whole area. As the battery in the computer withstanding, we wrote some experiences in diary and then we just expected a sign of whether improvement or the electricity restoring. Unfortunately, as time passed, the rain grew stronger and we could not do literally anything.

Around 10am, we decided to get ready for our departure regardless of weather conditions. An hour ago, we were ready and for our good luck the intensity of rain decreased and the electricity came back. We wore raincoats and we started for the National Park Durmitor. The ride was spectacular while in some parts the rain completely stopped. This pattern continued until Savnik, where the weather started getting much better. Moving to Nicsik, also a beautiful landscape, the sun kept us company until our next destination, the monastery Ostrog. In crossing way, the sign writing that the famous Serbian Orthodox monastery in Montenegro, which is dedicated to St. Basil of Ostrog, it abstained only 8km. Thus, a narrow filled with sharp turns route, with a fantastic view led us there, where crowds of worshipers, tourists and locals had gone to worship and admire.

The monastery has been built on a steep vertical cliff which, essentially, was the entrance of the cave. Discovered in 17th century by Bishop of Herzegovina Vasilije who died in 1671 and the corpse was placed in a tomb inside of monastery. A few years later, Metropolitan became saint and monastery dedicated to him and his action. Has an important role in faith of Montenegro's people and it is considered one of the largest orthodox places in Balkans. Vehicles are reachable until one point and then you should go up the stairs to get to the entrance of the church. We wanted to get to Kotor early to visit Cetinje so we decided not to go to monastery. The most important deterrent in this decision, it was the crowd which had visited the monastery that day, many buses and individual believers.

We left behind the monastery and continued in a narrow, winding road. The road surface was in good condition and we were impressed by the panoramic view of the area. We arrived close to Podgorica, where from there we followed the signs to Cetinje (45km). From afar, we saw dark clouds in the sky which we were estimated that they were over Kotor, where it was our final destination of the day. The only thing we wished was to avoid the rain...!

After 40-45km we arrived in Cetinje and lucky for us the weather was good. This small town, in the past, was the capital of the country. Approaching to the center of the city, we crossed the streets with picturesque houses which were well preserved, in earthy colors. There was no traffic on the roads, so we ended up to a central park driving around it. We parked next to a church for a while, to organize our onward journey. At this point there was a tourist office with a large map, which they were marked the main attractions of the area, along with some interesting routes. A few meters away, there were many tourist shops that sell trifles and many tourist buses which left tourists to wander to the city. An owner from a convenience store, volunteered to give us useful information about what is worth to visit to Cetinje.

Initially, we went for a coffee in the park, under the shade of the firs and then we started to visit the two main attractions. First was the church Vlah and the second was the Cetinje monastery which is within walking distance each other, in a green area which given a special beauty to the whole. The church was unfortunately closed, so we stayed in the outdoor area, as it was on a small hill. It has been built in 1450, over the ruins of an ancient necropolis. There were about 150 graves, which only two preserved nowadays. Then we walked to the monastery, which is dedicated to Saint Peter of Cetinje. One guard volunteered to show us around. He told us that the relics of St. stored in a wooden sarcophagus, in a chapel while at the same sarcophagus also exposed the hand of John the Baptist. With a few English that he knew, he tried to explain us some things about the sarcophagus, about some icons of the temple that existed, which was painted by a Greek monk, for some Russian icons, etc. We left the monastery and walked towards the city center on paved walkways, among traditional houses, cafes, shops,... Crowd of people circulated though the hour had passed. As we were walking we decided to enjoy one more coffee, likely we could browse in the internet, most of all to book rooms in Kotor. Finally, we did it...!

Around 5pm we left Cetinje and we departed to Kotor. There were two paths to choose. One was through the coastal Budva and the second was mountainous route, in which we chose. About this route, George had talked to us earlier because he had made in another trip and also the owner from the tourist shop that we had met earlier in the city.

A narrow full of winding road 45 km leading over 1000m high, in a stunning with undergrowth landscape. Soon, we reached to the highest point of the route and immediately we started to descend again. The road ended up in a plateau where there was a village which is known for hamon, local meat and then we mounted again until the impressive views of the sea loomed us. At the lowest point seemed the southern fjord in Europe, where there was the beautiful Kotor. As it was expected we made a stop to admire the spectacular view! Until we get to the city, successive bends of the road, gave us different beautiful spots of the area. It was really one of the most impressive landscapes we had seen so far. As we drove we passed in front of the castle and we continued to find the hotel, which we had booked rooms by internet, when we were in Cetinje.

The apartment (Sunset Apartmani: 64€/4 persons) has an amazing view of fjord, so much that we did not want to leave from there. We took a quick bath and we decided to visit the fort «by night». As soon as we passed the main gate of the castle we felt like, we were in another era!

This medieval castle is located on a triangular piece of land which is surrounded by Kotor's bay. It has three gates: the main gate by the sea, the north gate by the River and the south gate named Gkourntits. Passing the gate by the sea stands the Clock Tower of 1602, while a smaller building in a shaped of pyramid was used as a place of punishment of shameless people. There is the biggest and the most central square of Kotor, the "Odd Trogk Oroutzgia " (Arms Square). From this point, we started our tour! We passed by asymmetric buildings, narrow streets, smaller squares and medieval monuments, areas with tourist markets, alleys with traditional stairs, cathedrals, museums, historic buildings that serve as offices and homes of ordinary people who live there. In the old houses discern architectural elements from many different time periods as the numbers of Roman, inscriptions with dragons or lions, and Baroque elements with escutcheons and ornate arches. Among all these, suddenly appeared hotels, galleries, cultural centers, cafes and restaurants, bars, tourist shops and antique dealers with ornate porcelain. We wandered for several hours in the streets, taking photographs and discovering beautiful corners while from the top, we enjoyed the view of the lighted fort.

We decided to eat in a restaurant outside the castle next to the sea. There were so many pizzerias. We had a very pleasant time, but as we returned to hotel, one more "meeting" with the police for breathalyzer test. Fortunately one beer was not able to put us on more vicissitudes! Before we go to sleep, we were thinking that for once again we had the best memories from our trip to Montenegro...!