Dramatic Durmitor

Sunday, August 04, 2019
Žabljak, Žabljak Municipality, Montenegro
Our plan for the day was to drive along the southern part of the panoramic road that circles the Durmitor National Park. To drive the full 87 kilometres apparently takes about 3.5 hours due to the winding narrow road, and so we decided that we would just tackle a small section. 
The road was certainly very narrow — there were sections where it was impossible for two cars to pass each other. There was no barrier on the side of the road to prevent cars from falling over the precipice, and so all road users were driving particularly carefully! We were fine for the journey there, as the right hand lane hugged the mountain side. It was more hairy on the return journey. 
Every now and again, there were some wider areas where cars could park. We located a park near the walk that Gitti had chosen for us — it encompassed 4 lakes in a loop that was estimated to take about 3 hours. The spectacular mountain scenery looked even more stunning when the clouds parted to let the sun shine through. It really was a perfect day for walking — around 20C and partly cloudy.  
We carefully followed the markers guiding the way for the first 3 lakes, but then were unable to find any markers to continue our hike to the fourth lake, Suva Lokva. We wandered in all directions, but to no avail. Eventually, we came across some children herding sheep. They couldn’t speak any English, but when we pointed to the lake on our map, they sent us in the right direction. It really was impossible to get lost, as we were in a valley surrounded by mountains, with the road running along one side. As we neared the last lake, the markers reappeared. We found the lake where we rested and ate our apples before resuming our walk. We had to retrace our footsteps for a while, as we had missed the correct section of the trail and ended up walking along the return section to get to the lake. (I hope that makes sense!)
The markers led us on to the road — the map indicated that there should have been a path running along the other side of the road, but we couldn’t see where it began, and so wandered back to the car along the road for about 15 minutes.
Not far along the road, we reached an area known as Sedlo Pass. The larger car park here was full, many visitors having left their cars there in order to scale the nearby mountain. We found an area down the hill about 300 metres, and then Gitti, Michael and I hiked up the road to the top of the pass. The views were stunning. It is really hard to appreciate the scale of the mountains and valleys from my photos. High on top of the nearby mountain, we could just discern a number of climbers — they looked like ants following each other in a line. These were indeed serious rock climbers!
Once we had taken photos of every possible vista, we headed back to the car and drove back along the long, winding road, this time on the more scary side! 
Our next stop was at Savin kuk (a mountain and ski fields) where for the price of 8 euros each (just over $12), we took 2 old chair lift rides up the mountains. I hadn’t realised that Michael had never been on a chair lift (at least he couldn’t remember ever having been on one) — it was all a little surprising to him how you have to get on to the chairs. We had to manually pull the bars down to hold us in. It did feel a little precarious up so high and for so long, but we trusted that the lifts would get us there and back safely! The views were awesome! On the short walk to the second lift, I slipped on the gravel and landed on my backside. Fortunately, I wasn’t injured — just a little shaken.
I was glad I had taken my fingerless gloves with me, as the air temperature up the top was significantly cooler than the warm air below. Michael and I did the extra 10 - 15 minute climb to the summit of Savin kuk where we had a 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside. We could see Black Lake and the town of Zabljak, giving us a better cognitive map of where we were and where we’d been.
The rides down the mountain were equally as breathtaking as the rides up. The scariest part was getting off at the end of each ride. An attendant assisted the women by grabbing our hands and pulling us firmly out of the way of the chair. The men were left to fend for themselves!
It was only a short drive back to our apartment. We freshened up and then walked into town to find somewhere to eat. As you can see from the photos, we had no idea how large the pizzas would be, ordering two when one would have been quite sufficient! The waitress obliged by putting the remaining slices into a doggy bag for us to take home with us. I probably ate more than I really needed, but then we had done a lot of walking and had only eaten an apple and a very small sandwich each during the day.
With stomachs full, we wandered home and headed off to bed.
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Comments

Lisa
2019-08-06

Some beautiful shots❤️ Loving all the photos

Ian
2019-08-06

The summary of the day's events is a great help in appreciating the 85 photos of this magnificent region. The formation of the mountains is most unusual. The views taken at various places along Sedlo Pass and from the summit of Savin kuk are spectacular. I especially enjoyed seeing photos taken when starting out for the day and your returning to your accommodation. I don't suppose you are bringing home a few crumbs of those gigantic pizzas.

Tracy
2019-08-06

Amazing views from the chair lift and the wild flowers beautiful and matched your top Merrilly

melandmic
2019-08-06

Thank you, Lisa, Dad & Tracy! We took the leftover pizza in a ‘doggy bag’ and ate it last night with Michael’s pasta. :-) I’m glad you are all enjoying the photos! xxx

Jo
2019-08-09

Hi M&M, I'm slowly catching up with your travels,thank you. You have taken some wonderful pictures, it's so lovely to see the sunshine. We have had a bit of a cold spell catching the tale end of an artic blast hitting areas more south than Adelaide.

melandmic
2019-08-16

Better late than never, Jo! Welcome on board the bus. :-)

2022-10-03