A week ago today we were enjoying the summer sun in lovely Slovenia. The weather has turned on us a bit since then, but after a day of rest and cosy wood burner heat we’re ready to get going again. Our gear is more or less dry again and by 9AM we’re packed and ready, but not before enjoying another hearty breakfast.
In stead of the more traveled route via Piva canyon and Trsa, which we rode last year, we opt for the route along the border on the north side of the Durmitor mountains. That should take us via Sušičko lake to Žabljak.
When we leave Tara Grab it’s dry, but the clouds are hanging very low.
Until last year most of this road was still gravel. But it has been paved mostly now. Only a short section near Sušičko is mainly rocks and gravel. By the time we get to that part it has started raining again. The steep descent with a couple of hair pins down to the lake is pretty slippery with the water streaming down some washed out gullies by the bucket load. It does inspire respect for the guys and girls on mountain bikes coming up in the opposite direction.
The Terras make it pretty easy for us. They feel like they were made for this.
The lake should be at the bottom of the valley, but with these misty conditions we don’t even bother stopping to have a look. At the other side of the valley the road goes up again along an equally steep hill side.
On an easier, flatter stretch we come across a 4×4. There’s not much room on the tight road, so we pull into the bushes to let them pass. The guy behind the wheel indicates that there’s 4 more coming. The people in the second Jeep gives us a friendly wave, but when the third car passes the guy behind the wheel stops and roles down his window. I hear him screaming to Sofie in front of me “You are beautiful!”. While the passenger is taking pictures of us he gives her some candy. Then he moves a couple of meters forward and stops next to me.
Before I can do the Gorilla thing, beat my chest and yell: “woman! mine!” he gives me some candy as well.
And then he’s off again. We can hardly stop laughing and have hardly recovered again by the time the last car has passed us. At least it made us forget the shitty weather for a while.
In Žabljak it is pouring down again. We seek shelter under an umbrella at a local bar and after about an hour of tea and shopping in the supermarket across the street the rain has eased off a bit. We take our chances and take the tarmac road towards Tara canyon.
Our original plan was to take some gravel tracks to Biograd National park and then make a loop in the NP to get to Kolašin. But with the current weather conditions and the delays we’ve suffered due to the weather so far we decide to skip that for now. We have an appointment to keep with a friend in Podgorica in 2 days.
Even in dreary weather Tara canyon does not disappoint.
Just before we ride into Kolašin it starts raining again. Our next track starts near the Morača monastery and should take us to Nikšić, but with the current time of day and the weather as it is we prefer to postpone that to tomorrow morning. Weather forecasts look a little better for tomorrow, it should stay reasonably dry at least until late afternoon.
We had checked for possible spots to pitch our tent yesterday at Tara Grab, and one of the options was to pitch up near Kapetanovo Jezero, another a small camp site down the road from the Morača monastery. Right about now the latter sounds like an ideal place to spend the night and tackle the track to Nikšić via Kapetanovo Jezero first thing tomorrow morning.
I had marked the location of the camp site roughly in the GPS, but we’re already past it before we notice. There’s a sign next to a truck stop restaurant, pointing to a small track down towards the river. We turn around and go down to the area where there’s some huts and a small building. The place seems entirely deserted though. We’ve been looking around for a few minutes when a car, a VW Golf obviously, comes racing down the track. It turns out it is the owner of the truck restaurant on top who also runs the camp site.
With the ground all soggy we cop out again and go for one of the huts which include 2 beds, a toilet and a shower.
The place even has a swimming pool, even if it is not in use at the moment.
Our host Miljan tells us to get installed and come up to the restaurant afterwards for some drinks.
The place quickly looks like a battlefield.
But soon it’s beer o’clock again.
Miljan prepares us a nice meal with a huge schnitzel.
And then we hang out with him a bit, enjoying the local rakija.
Miljan is extremely hospitable but doesn’t speak any foreign languages, except for a bit of Russian that he -like many of the older generation- learned at school. So we can have a basic conversation. It turns out he’s divorced and has 2 sons, and he’s very interested in our lives, jobs and family. The rakijas he keeps serving us (all kinds with slivo/plum, krucko/pear and jablako/apple) certainly help the conversation.
When we ask him what he is cooking up in the big pot on the wood stove inside he enthusiastically explains it is a kind of mashed potatoes with cheese. We immediately remember what it is. We tasted it for the first time on the HUBB meeting in Montenegro last year. A mix of patatoes, corn flour and cheese, mashed with a huge pestle and cooked on a low heat for hours. It is called kačamak.
Around 10PM some of his friends show up to enjoy it with rakija and beer. We’re invited to join them. The kačamak is heavy stuff though, and after the gigantic schnitzel from earlier we’re full after only a few spoons.
With an interesting choice of lighting.
Our route for today: