Todays entry is a day late, but hey i’m on holidays 🙂
I picked up a hire car as catching buses seems to be useful for where the locals want to go. Besides the road I was taking, was not fit for buses. I was going to take the scenic route from Kotor up Mt Lovcen and through to the old Royal Capital of Cetinje. Its described as the must do drive in Montenegro much like the Great Ocean road is in Australia.
The start of the climb up the hill was not too bad and soon there was a panoramic view of the Bay of Kotor with just 3 cruise ships today… Soon enough the hairpins came as well as the narrow road, with the occasional bay to allow for overtaking. Fortunately I encountered no traffic coming down the hill.
There were numbers painted at each hairpin counting as you rise up. The pass over the mountain was at over 1500 metres. It was quite an imposing view. Still, I wonder who in their right mind cycles up this thing. Two people obviously thought it would be fun as I passed them at hairpin 17. The view just got better and better.
Even over the hill, the countryside was still beautiful with small villages nestled between the mountains and the drive to Cetinje was almost as hair raising but not as long as the drive up Mt Lovcen. Cetinje, was a disappointment. So much so i didn’t stop there and drove on towards the Ostrog monastery. It was touted as being a nice place to visit and it seemed to be, but nothing looked that interesting. Cetinje was the old capital when they had a Royal family in Montenegro. Now about 15,000 people live here and the current capital Podgorica has a still humble 160,000+.
Fortunately the turn off to Ostrog Monastery was well before i got into Podgorica. I had no map and was driving “Amazing race” style with very little idea where I was going. Occasionally a sign would pop up indicating i was still on track.
At the turn off to Ostrog from the main highway, Lonely planets guide book describes it as a 7km walk to the bottom monastery and another 2km to the upper monastery. It turns out the climb up the hill to the monastery rivals all the other roads for hairpins and sheer drops. anyone who walks up this road is super fit and super brave as Montenegrins drive rally style everywhere they go. I got to the lower monastery. Now part of the reason I hired a car was because it seemed a difficult place to get to. But not if you came on one of the 7 tour buses parked at the lower monastery. Of course cars could make the excruciating 2km slog up the mountain to the upper monastery, buses would never make it the turns too sharp and the roads too narrow.
The monastery at the top is impressive, but somehow, i found it lacking a wow factor. Yes I’m glad i saw the monastery perched high in the mountain, sitting literally in the rock face. For the record they sold no Jesus snow domes, buts lots of other religion inspired items. All the books were in cyrillic also.