The magnificent Durmitor National Park

Friday, August 02, 2019
Žabljak, Žabljak Municipality, Montenegro
At 8am, we met for breakfast in Gitti and Hermann’s apartment where we feasted on a buffet of muesli, bananas, juice, bread, sliced meats, cheese, tea, coffee, etc. With stomachs full, we set off at 10am for the Black Lake, situated a short distance out of town. It was a glorious morning — warm and sunny — perfect for our walk around this large lake. 
We managed to find an empty space along the side of the road to park the car, and then strolled down to the entry booth where we purchased three-day passes for the Durmitor National Park. A little further down the road, we reached the lake. Towards the beginning of our walk, a Montenegran couple heard Michael and me chatting to each other and asked whether we were from Australia. They had lived in Sydney for 7 years, and so their ears pricked up when they heard our accents. We chatted for a while and obtained some suggestions regarding what national dishes we should try Kačamak — ‘a local kind of porridge made with wheat or corn flour, crushed potatoes and cheese, and served with white cheese, “kajmak” or local homemade yogurt’ — received rave reviews from them both. 
The bright turquoise colour of the water shining through the fir trees provided some great material for our photos. Most of the 2-hour walk around the lake was fairly easy, except for some steep steps towards the end. We managed them relatively easily, but wondered how the couple coming from the opposite direction carrying a baby and a stroller would be able to navigate their way safely down!
As we walked back up the road to the car park, flocks of tourists kept streaming in. We had certainly chosen the best time of the day to visit Black Lake, and certainly the easiest time to find a car park not too far away from the entrance.
After a short rest back at the apartment, we managed to navigate our way to the top of the mountains for a walk to a scenic lookout over the Tara Canyon. The hike took me about 50 minutes — I do struggle on the steep ascents these days, as I get a little dizzy when I exert myself, even if it is only slightly. It was also quite warm, especially when walking uphill. The views were well worth the effort with the sheer drop being about 1300 metres from our viewpoint to the river below. We were particularly careful to keep well away from the edge and to keep our feet planted in the one spot whenever we were taking photos!
Gitti and Hermann were ready to head back as Michael and I were just arriving at the very top. Knowing that somewhere there was an alternative track back to the carpark, Michael and I started  following a different trail, but then began to doubt that we were on the right track. Back uphill we trudged, eventually rejoining the track we had taken to get there in the first place. By the time we returned to the carpark, we had probably been walking (and stopping to enjoy the views) for about  two hours. We were all feeling rather weary! It was time to head back to the apartments.
After pre-dinner drinks and nibbles, we wandered into town to an inexpensive restaurant that served a variety of traditional foods and meal deals. Michael’s mixed grill proved to be a bit much for him to manage, even though he shared it with me. It was a rare sight to see Michael send a plate back to the kitchen with food left on it! The Kačamak was quite tasty, even though it wasn’t served with white cheese or yoghurt — I think I might try it again some time.
It’s now 9:20pm...and I’m fading fast! The wifi here is incredibly slow, and so photos are taking forever to upload. I still haven’t managed to complete yesterday’s entry!
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Comments

Ian
2019-08-04

What a pleasant walk around Black Lake! You describe its colour as turquoise. A Google entry describes what it calls a spiritual meaning of turquoise:- “The color turquoise is associated without meanings of refreshing, feminine, calming, sophisticated, energy, wisdom, serenity, wholeness, creativity, emotional balance, good luck, spiritual grounding, friendship, love, joy, tranquility, patience and intuition and loyalty.Nov 20, 2010”. With that information, you might have taken a plunge into the lake to see if it gave you added vitality to counteract the dizziness you were experiencing during your walk. From the mountain you climbed in the walk, it looked down on a very deep canyon. No wonder you were deliberately cautious about where you were placing your feet, when taking photographs of it.

Ian
2019-08-04

Correction “........The color turquoise is associated with meanings of refreshing, feminine ........”#

Lynette
2019-08-04

The black lake looks a really beautiful place and quite tricky to climb in places as your Dad said. Yes I would have loved to swim or kayak in that lovely lake. Not intoxicated tired I think. Keep enjoying yourselves. :)

melandmic
2019-08-16

Wow, Dad! I would never have thought to look up the meaning of the word ‘turquoise’! Michael actually felt the water in Black Lake and declared it too cold to swim in. However, if we had been near the water after finishing our strenuous hike up the mountain, we may well have appreciated a plunge, regardless of the temperature. And yes, Lynette, I am sure you would have been keen to do some kayaking there. If you ever visit there, you’ll have to allow time for both hiking AND kayaking. :-)

2022-10-03