How many capital cities do you know of where people advise you not to visit? I don't mean from a safety aspect but rather from a dullness and lack of excitement perspective. If you don't have an immediate answer to the above, you soon will in the form of Podgorica - Montenegro's capital city. When fellow travellers say there really isn't much to do there and that I should skip it and hostel managers say the same - then that's what you do. Amusingly if you Google 'Visit Podgorica' you should find that one of the top few articles is from a traveller blogger with an article titled 'Podgorica is a hole!' Like, seriously.
I wasn't disappointed with this, in fact quite the opposite because it would mean I could reach my final Montenegrin destination a whole lot quicker than if I'd stayed in the capital for a couple of days and where I was heading would be anything but dull and uninteresting!
I've managed to end up quite far north to a small town called Zabljak where no more than 4000 locals reside. Why here? Well, Zabljak is pretty much in the centre of the Durmitor mountain region that is protected as a national park. Infact, here's a stat for you: Zabljak is the highest situated town on the entire Balkan peninsular sitting at nearly 1500m above sea level! There's also quite a deep canyon here too but I'll speak more about that in a different post as today would be all about hiking. Yes folks back home, you read that correctly. It was only two months ago that I heavily relied on my car - not this 18th century form of transportation you people call 'walking'. Those days have gone...
The Zabljak hostel was recommended by the folks down in Kotor and the fact that someone from the hostel came to meet me (and some others also on the same bus) only strengthened this recommendation for me. Oh, not forgetting the FREE, superb BBQ provided that evening only an hour after arrival. Me thinks I'm going to like it here...
The next morning the nice manageress lady would map-out some well known hikes. Yep, there's that word again. I notice 'hikes' conveniently and appropriately rhymes with 'yikes!' :-)
And so that's the bulk of the writing done folks meaning it's picture time starting with some flowers I had snapped before I'd even got to the national park itself.
Really pleased with how the flowers turned out.
From the hostel to the official entrance it took around 20 minutes. I'm guessing not many of us have these views within 20 minutes walk from our residence:
The first main 'attraction' was The Black Lake; the largest of the lakes here in the national park.
If you're thinking that doesn't look very black, I would say 'No shit Sherlock' but we can all agree the lake looks stunning.
To get to the second lake, I would have to walk around 75% of the entire Black Lake - which is what I did. This stretch of the trek alone is estimated to between 2.5 and 3KM which is longer than I would walk in a month before I transformed into The Unlikely Traveller. (The terrain wasn't 'a walk in the park' either - if you'll excuse the pun).
The pics of the second lake didn't turn out as I would have hoped so instead I'll just throw a collection of other pics that I took throughout the day.
I departed the hostel at 10am and I arrived back at 4pm - without a lunch break or rest I might add due poor planning on my part. Yes, I literally walked for all of those hours and I was absolutely exhausted when I returned. If I'm honest I felt a little delirious for the last 30 minutes or so but granted, the lack of nourishment might have had something to do with that. If you're wondering how far I walked today (I certainly was) I had the hostel owners confirm the distance to the best of their knowledge - 20 kilometres. Sheeeet.