Lake Plav greets us after tunnels and rain

July 18, 2017 0 By Viktor

Balkans Cycling Trip, Day 10

Another light day cut short by the rain. We ride our bikes towards the Albanian border in a hidden corner of Montenegro. As we pass through dark tunnels, we enjoy the stunning landscape and the atmosphere of small towns. And the views from our campsite by Lake Plav make us stay longer.
Day 10 (15 July): Bijelo Polje – Plav
Distance: 68 km
Total distance: 658 km

A lilttle sun in the afternoon makes a lot of change

Start the day with rakiya!

We woke up to a cool morning under the fruit trees and soon we were sitting with our host family drinking coffee in the shade. This time we met Jelena’s grandfather and great-grandmother, too. The (not so) old man had been up since 5 scything near the house. He was very friendly and, of course, he offered rakiya to me, which, of course, I had to return. So another day started with short drinks…

Coffee with our Montenegrin friends

Coffee with our Montenegrin friends

We quickly packed our things and thanked the family for their kindness. They left for the raspberry field to pick the fruits. My son also joined them for half an hour while we prepared for setting off.

 

Bridges and tunnels

The road gradually ascended towards Plav, following the river Lim. The scenery was gorgeous. Lush forests on the steep mountainsides and the turquoise colour of the water with its foaming rapids.

Railway bridge over the Lim

Railway bridge over the Lim

When we had to cross a tunnel, we always put on our headlights. But there was a really long one where the old road was still passable so we decided to try it. All the fallen rocks were a bit scary but we were rewarded by a unique view of the river at the other end. And we could take a photo of all of us in the old tunnel as there was absolutely no traffic.

Looking to have more adventures

Then we reached Berane, a city that reminded us of our home town as there was a huge factory complex in the outskirts, apparently out of use. 

The chimneys of Berane

The chimneys of Berane

Where history still lingers on

Then came Andrijevica, where we had a drink in a roadside bar and then forgot to buy food at the last shop. So we had to carry on though we were getting really famish. We carried pedalling and in the end we didn’t stop until the tiny town of Murino. The main square was skirted by a row of bars and shops with tough-looking people wearing warm clothes. The buildings were average, if not ugly. Still the place had a very eerie atmosphere so it was nice to spend half an hour there, watching the world go by. 

The main square of Murino on a rainy day

The main square of Murino on a rainy day

Murino has a very interesting history. In the 1850s it was proclaimed an independent French principality as a means of protecting it from the Turkish army’s violence and it was a very important crossroads between Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. Then in WWII the area was badly hit by the aggression of the Nazi forces.

While we were enjoying our sandwichces and wondering why there were so many cars with American number plates in this remote place, it got very dark and cloudy so we got back on our bikes. Plav was only a few kilometres away and we arrived quite early at famous Lake Plav. It was now less colourful but we could understand why it was once more popular than the Montenegrin seaside resorts. The town has a splendid location with the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Lake Plav

Lake Plav

Tent with a view of Lake Plav

We found the campsite by the road and for a few minutes we were wondering if we should stay or go on to Gusinje. But the weather convinced us to stop for the day. 

The campsite is located in a grassy area near Lake Plav and there are wooden tables and benches for the guests to use. The toilets and the shower could be improved and the WiFi connection is dead slow but the staff is helpful and friendly.

Next time we'll try rowing on Lake Plav

Just as we put up the tent, it started to rain so we spent the next hour playing cards. Later as it got a bit better we discovered the rather unimpressive town and shopped for dinner but otherwise the rest of the day was quite eventless. We just hoped it would get a bit better as we were going to spend another day by Lake Plav to relax.

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