[Lovely Durmitor Park = photos.]
The day before I checked the possibility to go from Bar directly to Žabljak for Durmitor National Park. Luckily, the lady in the tourist center in Bar center told me that there’re more buses if I change in Niksic instead of taking a direct bus from Podgorica to Zabljak – this is the key. (I’ll have to change in Podgorica no matter what.)
This morning the B&B owner had the sandwiches prepare for me but didn’t offer to give me a lift. I probably should’ve been thicker-skinned, but in any case I didn’t ask. Well, the lucky thing is that with the breeze, the temperature before 8am was very agreeable anyway, although in the end the walking (with the big trolley luggage) was a bit much.
The female clerk out of the two in Podgorica Bus Station told me that the bus from Podgorica to Žabljak leaves at something like 1pm. “What about changing in Nikšić?” I asked. “No,” she was very firm about her opinion, “That one stops in Nikšić too.”
I explained to her that I want to take the earliest possible bus to Nikšić instead of waiting for that direct bus. Well, the next bus to Nikšić leaves in 10 minutes. “And are there lots of buses from Nikšić to Žabljak?” She gestured “I don’t know and don’t care” – something one encounters a lot here.
On the way to Nikšić I noticed the fork where one can go to Ostrog. Some internet information mentioned that one can ask to be let off here, take a taxi already waiting here to go to Ostrog Monastery, but no, I didn’t see any taxis waiting.
I was lucky that I didn’t have to wait in Nikšić for long. I also noticed that there’re quite some buses from Nikšić to Budva, so two days later I probably don’t have to go through Podgorica in order to reach Budva.
As we came close to the destination, the mountains on the way were quite lovely and impressive. I felt that I made a really good choice by adding Durmitor back to the itinerary – I deleted it when I was “tightening” the schedule when deleting Bosnia and Herzegovina and adding four days by pushing late the flight so as to give enough days to Bugaria. Sometime after that, probably when I was in Bulgaria or early in Macedonia, I added it back.
Although this is already not the highest season, as soon as I got off someone came to me asking if I needed private accommodation. He showed me a sturdy plastic name card, telling me that he has a tour agency and can offer rafting tours and so on. He kept talking, leading the way to his place, but after a while I realized that he hardly understood any English aside from the few things he knew how to entice potential guests. Anyway, the wi-fi at his place didn’t work, so I left. Soon another approached; this one speaks English quite well, and while his place is close enough, I asked him to help call an “autocamp” I enquired earlier.
I probably should’ve stayed with the second guy, since he did speak English well, and his place was super close to the bus “station,” which is just a parking lot, and the price (10 Euros) was really right. Soon the autocamp owner came – this “Mišo” turned out to speak more German than English, and frankly it wasn’t easy to communicate.
The good thing is that there was a girl who spoke fine English. Mišo told me in German that this is “real Montenegrin girl – no makeup.” This girl, 20-year-old, soon told me that she wears makeup every day, and she’s Serbian rather than Montenegrin. I soon sat down with her for Turkish coffee, asking how she felt about certain identity issues. I also got to know that she doesn’t think the “area” Kosovo should be independent, since “the history is the same; it’s from Serbia. It’s just some Albanians wanted to make problems.” But on the other hand, it’s perfectly ok that Montenegro went independent – “we’re friendly [with each other].”
And great news – I have a HUGE room complete with a small kitchen! There’s a huge double bed, and while the wifi signal is much weaker here, it seems serviceable.
When it was almost or around 4pm, I checked with Mišo – with some difficulties, due to language problem – about a possible hiking option. I soon set forth to go to “Black Lake,” which is quite a sight. Actually there was a paved trail leading all the way to and around the lake, and many tourists obviously came in a tour bus with a tour guide and were allowed to “walk around for twenty minutes.” After this I continued to “Snake Lake,” and while earlier Mišo told me that, if I hike from his place rather than from town center, I don’t have to pay the 2-Euro entrance fee to the national park, I was stopped by a guy to pay. The Serbian girl, named Marijana, told me not to pay unless I see a valid badge, and well, this guy did show some badge and was probably going to forcefully stop me from proceeding. Overall it was a fine hike, that Black Lake being a distinct highlight.
By walking I would not have reached the autocamp until something like 7pm, but I was lucky – when I was about to return, I noticed that a young couple were getting on their car, and I (pretty bold-faced) advanced to ask for a ride. They agreed, and we started talking, while the bus bounced up and down on the very rocky road. They’re students – from their car plate I figured out they’re from Herceg Novi –, and they’re here for holidays, although rafting is “too expensive” for them. They’re very good looking, the girl’s youthful plumbness notwithstanding. The guy studies maritime, and the girl architecture, but they told me that unless they know someone working in the government, they won’t get a job (something I also heard from the Albanian Macedonians I met in Ohrid, Macedonia). In fact, they will be unemployed unless some cousin has a private business or so. But just like that Albanian Macedonian couple, this Montenegrin couple also told me that it’s easy to live [survive without a job] here.
Since they also stayed in this autocamp, I was very very lucky to return to my place without having to walk. Yeepee! (And then I had enough time for a phone call.)
Bar – Podgorica – Nikšić – Žabljak公車：4.5+ 3.5+ 7