If you are truly in love with the nature and you are in a good health condition, with an adventurous spirit, then you definitely have to try trekking. Montenegro, due to its terrain, is an ideal venue for this kind of outdoor activity.
I tried it for the first time a few days ago. At the urging of our friend Srdjan, my sister and I, joined the group “Phototrekking Montenegro”, which organises trekking tours every weekend. Our tour was called „Vranjina – nekako s proljeća“ and it was symbolically on the first day of the spring this year.
Vranjina is one of the oldest villages on Skadar Lake, also known as a „Little Venice“.
Vranjina used to be an island, until the bridge and the highway were built to connect Podgorica with the Montenegrin coast.
Now, it is a beautiful peninsula with two hills: Kosmac (273 m) and Velji vrh (303 m), also known as „Breasts of Sofia Loren“.
Our destination was Velji vrh, and we started the trekking tour from Vranjina Village near the restaurant “Venice”.
The first steps showed that in front of us is a path full of rocks and thorns. Actually there was no path at all.
I immediately realized that I had failed with my choice of wardrobe. I didn’t follow the detailed instructions given on official Montenegro Phototrekking facebook page. A typical beginner’s mistake – thinking that you know what’s best for you. Anyway, I didn’t give up, but my advice for all beginners is to choose special wardrobe for trekking, bring a lot of water, some juicy fruit, sun protection and necessarily shirts for change. Actually, to follow instructions from the experienced ones.
After the first trekking part which lasted for about one hour (for me, the hardest one), we got a break. We didn’t cross so high route, but Vranjina is a very tricky terrain, which requires climbing skills along with fighting the thorns and thistles. Because of that you have a feeling that you walked a long and high distance while climbing. And you feel exhausted. So, we used the break for refreshing, resting, taking photos and having fun in nature.
I enjoyed every single minute for breathing the fresh air, watching around a hundred people laughing while they were playing a relay game, chatting, laying on the grass…My brain was resting. My soul was nourished. Priceless feeling, indeed.
After the next trekking part, when we were below the “Velji vrh”, we were separated in two groups. The faster group, after reaching this hill, went to the St. Nicholas Monastery, and the slower one (mine) descended on the western side to the Restaurant “Jezero”.
View of the Skadar Lake from the “Velji vrh” was really stunning.
Skadar Lake is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula. Approximately two thirds of its surface belongs to Montenegro, and about one third to Albania. The Montenegrin part of the lake and its surrounding area were declared a National park in 1983. Skadar Lake is also known as a „paradise for birds“ with 280 bird species, where most of them are rare and endangered. Even though I spent most of my childhood on this lake (my father’s village Golubovci is nearby), I have never seen it from the hill, and for me this view was a valuable experience.
From this spot you can see a lot of islands, peninsulas, villages and other places on Skadar Lake, like Virpazar, Dodosi Village, Zabljak Crnojevića, Island of birds, Lesendro Fortress, St. Nicholas Monastery. All of them look breathtaking from this point of view.
After two hours break, we started to descend. It was a very tricky and a little bit dangerous part which lasted a long time (from my perspective), but we all managed.
Our guides were very careful, especially to those who were not so skilled, like our charming friend Srdjan who is originally from the lowlands of Vojvodina – Serbian northern province, and who had neverbefore faced such a hard rocky terrain without walking path.
Actually, I think that many of us haven’t experience something like this before, so we all helped each other to overcome rocks and thorns. Special thanks to Zoran, who was helping me during descending.
Anyway, according to our smiles, we all felt great in the end. It was hard, but also it was well worth of the great views, fun and good company all the way along. It was worthy and a completely new experience in my life, too. I can’t wait for another adventure with Montenegro Phototrekking team. If you are interested to find out more about the tours they organise, visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/montenegro.phototrekking/?fref=ts
P.S. While I was reading the blog post about this tour which wrote my friend Damira (http://cemovsko.me/2016/03/vranjina-je-i-uzivanje-i-krs-i-draca/), I found out, that the thorns, which most irritated me on this tour, are actually medicative. Also, this rocky terrain is full of warmwoods which are also valued for its medical aroma and contain the nectar. One more reason to visit Vranjina and join the trekking tour. 🙂 Because I missed an amazing route to the St. Nicholas Monastery this time, I will be back to Vranjina again, for sure!