» » The Balkans by motorbike, part II: Tara and Durmitor in Montenegro

The Balkans by motorbike, part II: Tara and Durmitor in Montenegro

During the whole Balkan trip, Montenegro enchanted us the most. This is a tiny country, but delighting at each kilometer with Mediterranean views, hung like paintings under blue sky, between the mountain ridges and surface of azure water or the vivid green of valleys. What can be more beautiful? Even though we were filled with admiration and enthusiasm from the moment we crossed the Montenegrin border, we didn’t even expect, that we were just heading to the place in the heart of the fabulous Durmitor Mountains to experience the most amazing adventure of the whole trip…

Droga w Durmitorze
The path through Durmitor / photo by Martyna Wojtas, our companion

 

 Info about the trip through Balkans:

The route 11 countries: Poland >  Slovakia > Hungary > Romania > Serbia > Bosnia and Herzegovina > Montenegro > Croatia > Slovenia > Austria > Czech Republic > Poland
Travel time 3 weeks: 23 August – 14 Spetember 2013r.
Route lenght approx. 5 500 km
Total cost for 2 people EUR 800 (including petrol)
Accomodation apartments, campings, in the wild
Documents Passport / ID, Green Card (obligatory in countries: Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina), European Health Insurance Card, Insurance Motorbike Assistance (roadside assistance, optional)
Currency Slovakia: Euro (EUR); Hungary: Forint (HOF); Romania: 1 leu = 100 Bani (RON); Serbia: Serbian Dinar (RSD); Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible Mark (BAM); Montenegro: Euro (EUR); Croatia: 1 Kuna = 100 Jul (HRK); Slovenia: Euro (EUR); Austria: Euro (EUR); Czech Republic: Czech Koruna (CZK)

 

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Map of the trip to the Balkans

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| km
Map of the trip to the Balkans: 46.747177, 19.787250
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Transalpina - Taming the Path of Giants
Sebeș, Județul Alba, România
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The Table of the Giants (Masa Jidovului)
Masa Jidovului, Județul Sibiu, România
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Urdele Pass
Rânca, Județul Gorj, România
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Transfagarasan - 100 km of fabulous road in Romania
Bâlea Lac, Avrig, Sibiu, Romania
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Balea Lake
Cascada Capra, Comuna Arefu, Județul Argeș, România
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Poenari Castle
Cetatea Poienari, Comuna Arefu, Județul Argeș, România
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The road from Budva to Lovcen
Lovćen, Cetinje, Montenegro
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The city Dolovi
Lovćen, Cetinje, Montenegro
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The map of the road from Lovcen to Kotor
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The route to Sveti Jure
Sveti Jure, Biokovsko Selo, Chorwacja
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Pag
Pag, Croatia
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Statue of Rocky Balboa in Zitiste
Rocky Balboa, Zitiste, Vojvodina
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Sunny Ranch
Sunčana Reka Recreation Centre, Mali Zvornik
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Mausoleum at Gucevo Mountains
Gučevo, Banja Koviljača
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The road From Lake Piva to the Monastery of Ostrog
Pivsko Jezero, Plužine, Czarnogóra
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The Valley of Olt river
Brezoi, Vâlcea County, Romania
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Bradisor dam
Brezoi, Vâlcea County, Romania
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The Groapa Seaca pass
Brezoi, Vâlcea County, Romania
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The valley of Jiu river
Brezoi, Vâlcea County, Romania
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The Monastery of Ostrog in the Rock Cave
Manastir Ostrog, Danilovgrad, Montenegro
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Stari Bar
Stari Bar, Montenegro
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Kotor in Montenegro
Kotor, Montenegro

 

We came to Montenegro from the northern side, through Pljevlja, where we found the first accommodation.

Sleeping in travel We found rooms with showers in Plevlja for 20 Euro for a couple in a quite surprising boardinghouse, named “Pharaoh”. The owner seemed to like the Egyptian culture very much, what was proved not only by the name but also papyrus ornaments in rooms. You would like to say – the whole place was inspired by Egyptian culture, if there wasn’t singing shower and bearded Santa Claus with bell welcoming us at the hall…

 

Tara River Canyon – the first ‘wow’

At first day, we entered to the land of Montenegro through the famous Durdevic’s bridge, the highest bridge in Europe in the past. The bridge stretches above the Tara River Canyon, which is the deepest in Europe, the second in the world, just after the Colorado. Its walls reach to 1300 m. This place is a wonderful ‘gate’ to the Durmitor National Park. It’s not surprising that this place is on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Its building was started in 1937 and finished after 3 years. At the moment of coming into being it was the biggest ferroconcrete arched bridge, and required setting the highest wooden scaffolding in the world.

 

Most Durdevica w Kanionie Rzeki Tara
The Durdevic’s Bridge on the Tara River is 366 m long and 172 m tall. This amazing object is situated at the junction of the roads from Žabljak, Mojkovac i Pljevlja
Tara River Canyon
Tara is the longest river of Montenegro. Flowing through the thin and deep valley and the Dinaric Alps, the Tara River creates one of the deepest canyons in the world, which is simply breathtaking.
Tara River Canyon
Rafting on the Tara river is greatly popular in the summer. The pontoon rafting is organized by local travel agency, i.e. in Durdevic Tara
Tara River Canyon
Zip line is another rave attraction that is hung over the canyon. The 4-member-group allows to drive down on the special offer of 10 euro. It’s a pity that some members of our group gave up because of the fear of heights.

Tara Czarnogóra

 

Full gallery of Montenegro »

Beautiful adventure in Durmitor

After the Tara River Canyon, we thought that nothing would amaze us that day. How wrong we were! The next land, like from the Lord of the Rings, arose in front of us with the magical landscape of white rocks scattered on the green hillsides. That was Durmitor, which means ‘sleeping’, or according to other concept, from the Celtic: ‘the Mountains dripping with water’ or ‘River flowing from mountains’.

Durmitor - znak

Durmitor - najpięknieszje zdjęcia
When you sit down on the little wooden bench at the entrance to the Durmitor Mountains, a beautiful joy comes of the here and now, of the presence of person that you share the moment with, joy of the beauty of this world that you explore. I’m here! – you say to yourself with contentment because, eventually, you’ve been able to overcome all fears and difficulties, break the chains of routine, mount your horse and rush into the blue distance, towards an adventure!

 

Just like a ‘river flowing from mountain’ the path meandered as ribbon of soft asphalt, carrying us through the landscape that we haven’t seen before. Durmitor, which is one of the highest Dynarskie mountain ranges, is different from the mountains we got to know: the Carpathiansthe Alps or the Fagaras Mountains.

 

 

Durmitor motocyklem

Czarnogóra motocyklem

 

 

Two million years ago, the glacier was gliding here, carving the ripples in the calcareous rocks. Nowadays, Durmitor is a land that delights even the greatest travelers and the conquerors of many peaks. Because, exactly in the Durmitor National Park, there is the treasury of kart wonders, caves, sources coming out and rivers secretly disappearing under the ground. And you can’t forget about impressive Tara canyon.

 

 

Czarnogóra motorem

 

And suddenly, on this thin route running over 2 000 meters above the sea level, following the glacier tracks, some blue lorry appeared in front of us, which was signalizing from afar: someone was having troubles!…. And the travel instinct or just ordinary human reaction, on which we always have time and willingness during the trip, made us to stop and help. And it was so stubborn, that even unsuccessful attempts of communicating in Polish-English-Russian-Croatian with the driver from Montenegro didn’t discourage. Or even the fact that the driver waved his hand with the resignation and asked us to go, there was no chance that we would do something. But, when the words failed, we took the pen and shit of paper, and the puns continued.

A lot of laughing and emotions, but the effect was satisfying! We finally knew! A gorivo (petrol) was needed, and we had to look for the second koliba (cottage) and his wife called Rada (in Polish this name means “cheerful”), who lived somewhere between krewy (that means cows)!

And so… our quest started! There was a mission, a team and Tolkien-like land, everything matched, so we rushed to the battle!

Amazing motorcycle adventure

 

Durmitor motorem

 

And there were more and more beautiful landscapes arising in front of our eyes…

 

Durmitor motocyklem

Durmitor flora

 

On the way, we passed a small pub on the green meadow… It tempted tremendously, but no… Not then… We were on a mission, we had to bring help for Mr Uros!

 

Bar w Durmitorze

 

And according to the drawing from Uros, we were looking for ‘koliba’ with number 2 next to it. One small house and two shelters? Or maybe double house? We passed many shepherd’s settlements and till the end, we didn’t know how to decode the instruction.

 

Durmitor chatka

Durmitor chatki pasterskie

wakacje w Durmitorze

 

But finally our milometer presented the expected 7 kilometers, so we tried with the first ‘koliba’…

 

Durmitor motocyklem

 

Just in case, we didn’t drive close to this cottage. It was possible that the wife would chase us away for frightening animals. A man come out from the cottage, heared only “Uros’ wife, Rada” and pointed at the other cottage that we had already passed.

We needed to go down, so boys were happy that they could try some off-road.

 

Durmitor offroad

 

And suddenly, we didn’t believe our eyes, down the hillside, there was a woman rushing to us with petrol can, jumping stone by stone like an agile chamois.

 

Najelpsza przygoda wakacyjna

 

… and with charming dog by her side, playing with tomato!

 

Cute little dog

 

This was Rada, running from the peak, the only one place that her mobile phone was within the range. She had felt that he had been away too long and she called him and that is why she knew that we were coming for ‘gorivo’!

Martyna packed the petrol can between herself and Marcin and we went back 7 kilometers once again, with great willingness. In that land, we could come round and round and we would never have enough! And even we liked the “obstacles” on the way. :)

 

Durmitor owce

Durmitor owce

Durmitor owce

 

We met motorcyclist from Island. They were also delighted. And they were the only bikers that we passed that day. It was so empty, quiet! There were only us, shepherds, animals and beautiful mountain landscapes. Some single car and cyclist.

 

Podróż w Durmitor

durmitor-lake

Niezwykły Durmitor

Wakacje w Czarnogórze

 

And the great moment came. Martyna and Uros poured the petrol and we were about to go back all together!

 

Wakacyjna przygoda

 

… At least we all expected so. We got on our motorcycles, Uros behind the steering wheel presenting ‘Go’ and he was supposed to follow us. So, we started. Finally, we drove round the mountain so that we saw the starting place on the opposite side and the blue point, which was the back of the truck remaining at the same place. We realized that apparently that the petrol hadn’t helped. ‘So, do we go back for the third time?’ – the question was asked and we knew that if we had begun something, we needed to finish it. We passed the beautiful lake for the third time, taking photos with the same pleasure at each time and after that we were back by Uros, fighting with his stubborn car. He sent us to his wife once again, and told us not to come back but to drink some tea there. We didn’t want to leave him with such fiasco, but it was probably the only way to delegate his neighbor with van to pull Uros’ lorry.

After seeing us, Rada was very happy, but she would be happier seeing her husband as well. The dog, Leo, was also happy, even very happy. Leo was a real prankster, cute lively fluffy ball with so soft fur. It stole our hearts from the very beginning.
Joki i Piesek Leon

 

We hadn’t got enough fun of playing with the dog when suddenly we heard a noise on the road above us and cheerful beep – there’s Uros, he did it! His friend, who was passing him, pulled him a bit and then the lorry started working on the petrol delivered by us. Everyone was clasping his or her hands happily. Uros invited us to his ‘koliba’, set the table with delicious food. Home-made plum vodka was present and suddenly we all found joint language. Every time, we looked at our clues and started reminding the whole action, the whole cottage was filled with laughing. Uros attached it on the wall and he said that he would always remember the motorcyclist team from Poland. Rada appeared to speak English quite well. We filled our stomachs with all possible kind of dairy products, based on milk from local cows, healthy and fresh: boiled milk, cold, hot, some kind of cheese, and eggs from hens. We hadn’t eaten so good eco food for a long time!

 

Durmitor in Montenegro

Durmitor by motorbike

durmitor-milk

Montenegro Pig

Bałkany motocyklem

People from Montenegro

Chata pasterska w Czarnogórze

Uros z Gór Durmitor

 

We were looking with admiration at this happy marriage couple, who was farming in the mountains 2 500 meters above sea level, without access to radio, television and mobile phone. Without access to running water and electricity. In wooden, one-room cottage, but with the bunch of happy animals, close to stars in the mountain crown of Durmitor. Both were energetic, fresh and weather-beaten in healthy way. How do they manage in winter? We got to know that it’s only their summer cottage, the second one they have in town. They come to mountains to get rest in peace and quiet but also to make cheese, which they sell then. Many tourists knock their door to buy this cheese, because it is really natural and delicious.

 

We spent time together in so amazing atmosphere, when suddenly it got darker…

 

Dynarskie

 

And the setting down Sun revealed new, golden side of Durmitor.

 

Sunset in mountains

 

It was getting colder. We put on everything that we had. We wore several layers of clothing.

 

Motorbike adventure

 

The hosts invited us to make us of their shed or to pitch a tent in front of cottage, but it could be done at dusk , when the guards didn’t see, because we were in the Durmitor National Park. Nowadays, there is no such freedom as it used to be in the past. They guard everything now. But, in the area of homestead, it should be all right and the night in the tent on that height lured so much. We found clean field – some meters square between 4 cowpats and we pitched our tent. We squeezed in the one tent to get warmer. It appeared to be quite good idea, because otherwise the wind, which was blowing all night, would probably blow us away.

 

Motorcycle Balkan adventure

 

The morning was crisp! The air smelled of grass, dew and the mountain adventure that was still going on. And there was the whole long picturesque route ahead of us. Could the sky be bluer?

 

Wakacje w Czarnogórze

 

We are so grateful for this magical night. The night in Durmitor. Uros and Rada thanked us and we thanked them. And as promised, this photo goes to them, and together with it our most beautiful memories from the Balkan trip.

 

See all photographs of Montenegro »

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Follow Liwia:
She paints with images and words. Liwia finds joy both in long journeys "beyond the horizon" as well as in familiar everyday life, at which she looks through a colorful kaleidoscope of hers. She's inspired by the beauty of nature and stories intertwined in a stream of true emotions.

4 Responses

  1. Susi
    | Reply

    Very inspirational, Durmitor, great place, must visit! All the best to you and good farmers from this land! I love the photos and the little dog is the cutest indeed. Take care, Susi from Vienna

    • Liwia
      |

      Thank you Susi, we wish you great travels this year, all the best to you! :)

  2. Walter
    | Reply

    Great trip. Thanks for sharing it. I was in Montenegro in 2010 with my wife on BMW 1200 GS. We were charmed by Kotor Old Town. Have you been there?

    • Liwia
      |

      Hi Walter! Yes, of course, Kotor is called The Black Pearl of the Adriatic for a reason. We actually shared some photos and info about the famous, scenic route to Kotor here: https://lifewelove.com/en/the-road-from-lovcen-to-kotor/ The photos of the Old Town of Kotor are still to be published, so thanks for extra motivation to handle the topic! ;)

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