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Podgorica - Moraca Monastery - Kulasin - Berane - Durmitor National Park

Trip Details

Road Trip 2013 I
Date: Tue, 10/09/2013
Montenegro
Distance: 261km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Giorgos Z., Stratos, Mimis
Photographers: Manolis, Giorgos Z., Stratos
Authors: Manolis
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

Despite yesterday's fatigue, we managed to wake up early enough, to take our breakfast and then we started, around 9am, our journey.

Our thought was, before departing for Kolasin, to make a hasty ride to Podgorica to see some of the sights of the city. So, we drove on main roads, we passed next to the bridge «Millennium», we met beautiful parks and stunning buildings as well as the tower, the trademark of the city. Unfortunately, neither yesterday nor today we had the time to visit it. From what we saw, we can certainly, say that someone deserves to remain in the capital more than one day, to obtain a more detailed picture of the city. Podgorica is not considered as a large town, as it has only 140,000 residents. The marking of roads, in the interior of the city, were incomplete, which is making circulation very difficult to tourists. Fortunately, in the suburbs of the capital, the road signs were quite informative. So we followed them to Kolasin.

We refueled in a gas station named EKO, with the price of gasoline at 1,40€ /litre, by paying in euros, which is the official currency of the country. After a few kilometers, we arrived at the canyon Moraca, where the road moved alongside the homonym river. There was lush vegetation around, while huge rocks were literally above us and the path of the river, in many places, followed the route of the road. We passed through small tunnels which, they gave us the impression that we were inside caves, there was no lighting. Honestly, this is a beautiful landscape and the good conditions of the road helped us to enjoy it. After 20km, we found a hanging wooden bridge which connecting the two banks of the river. Basically, we had seen some pictures of it in the internet and we had intrigued us to see this up close. We parked our motorbikes to roadside, just before bridge and we walked toward her. As we looked closely, the wooden planks of the bridge could not give us the sense of confidence to walk on it, especially when  directly below her, flowing the crystal clear waters of the river. When someone passes the bridge some oscillations and all those we mentioned above,    sending up adrenaline high. Stratos managed and went up to a point, in order to photograph the landscape. Passing the bridge a small footpath leading to the river bank where there was a local canteen made of reeds.

We continued our journey into the same environment and after 15km we met Monastery Moraca. From pictures that we had seen did not seem very interesting but in reality everything was different. Within low walls dominates for over 800 years, the church of Mother of God and a small church of St. Nicholas. The outdoor area was landscaped with plenty of flowers, passing us a strange calm while all around were full of tourists. As we explored the area, a priest came by, to talked to us. We told him that we came from Greece and he tried with the few greek words that he knew to explain us the frescoes of the church. The main entrance had hagiography of St. Demetrios and the Crisis that was painted by a greek priest who lived on the Holy Mountain and it is confirmed by the greek words in the bottom of the hagiography. The interior of the church was filled with murals depicting scenes from the life of the Prophet Elijah, John the Baptist, Saints and more. Furthermore, in a special casing is the hand of St. Haralambos ! Below, the church of St. Nicholas which is more austere and it had much less paintings inside. Just beside there were priests graves and around the walls, there were the cells of the monks, the dining room, etc. Outside the monastery there was a small canteen for visitors and a raging creek that led to a small hydroelectric plant that apparently supplied the monastery with power. We sat for a long time, until we decided to continue our way to Kolasin.

The path, became more and more impressive and the landscape steepest! The weather was nice, despite the bad morning forecast weather. After a while, we reached to the junction for the winter destination Kolasin. We tried to imagine the village, which was pretty neat, how it would be snowy in the winter! Following the signs, we left behind us the village and we drove in a lush secluded area in a narrow, almost desert - road, where as we went the route, we saw small villages with beautifully manicured homes. It is worth to mention, that we met many areas for cutting and woodworking, large piles of logs and timber trucks. We overcame the altitude of 1500m, making many stops for photos in stunning scenery. After about 30km we were again on the national road network and we headed to the Berane.

The name of the town comes from the Turkish words «Bir»&«Ane» which means “a house”. It is a city situated on the way to Belgrade, without any special interest apart from a small church, which is shortly after the city, on a cliff next to the river and the war museum.

We had delayed enough, we should have traveled about 100km and we were just in the middle of what we had planned. So, we rate increases to get to Mojlovac and a little further down, we saw the intersection of Zabljak, one of the most popular winter destinations. The weather was getting bad and we did not know the condition of the carriageway. We were afraid that it would be difficult to go there so, we headed to the Mojlovac which soon led us to the famous National Natural Park in Montenegro. The «Durmitor»...!

The park has area approximately 390m2 and includes the mountains of Sinjavina. The road follows the river Tara and in some parts abuts with the river while in some other parts towering over it. Essentially, we were in the canyon Tara Klisura and it is certain that landscape can excite even the most demanding guests. The carriageway was in a very good condition and it helped us lowering speed to enjoy the journey. In the afternoon we arrived at a large bridge, which was high above the river and connecting the riversides. This spot has many tourist shops, restaurants, cafes, rafting equipment, etc. We made a rested stop and we took some photos. Just 25km separates us from Zabljak.

Then, the road ascends to 1550m, crossing a large plateau where the wind was blowing hard. The sun was setting slowly and made us the cold, quite perceptible. The landscape reminded me of early winter season and soon we arrived in Zabljak where a multitude of small houses, having steep slopes on their roofs to withstand the snow, loomed ahead. We realized that most of them were rent apartments but we were out of season so these were closed. The village had restaurants, shops, gas stations and everything else you may need for an organized tourist destination. We stopped to refuel petrol when a gentleman approached us to propose us accommodation. He gave us some cards, which show the prices of the rooms - 10 euros per person. We decided that in such reasonable price, it was worthwhile to take a look. So, two of us followed the owner, leaving the others to continue refueling. The truth of course was that for us it was a good solution because we felt tired and the first raindrops of rain had begun to fall.

The hostel facilities included camping, bedrooms, kitchen, restaurant and some rental houses. So, we rent one of them and owner's daughter offered to lead the rest of company in the hostel as it abstained 1- 2km from the center of Zabljak. As we waiting, we drank coffee and we browse to internet. It is worth mentioning that from the area of the hotel starts a path to the lake Jezero, about 20-25 minutes walk. We left our stuff in the room and went down to the city for food. We chose a restaurant that inadvertently Mimis suggested to us named «Old Wolf»! The food was very good. We tried meats and soups cooked by local recipes!

When we returned to hotel, the temperature was low almost 10 degrees, giving us the impression that winter had already come. Inside the room we turned on the heater and we chatted while drinking local beers until late.