On our independent tour of Montenegro, we were being driven from Žabljack to Kolašin via the Tara Canyon and Bridge, a journey of 125km which, without stops, was due to take around 3 hours.
20 minutes into the trip, we arrived at the Tara Canyon, the deepest river canyon in Europe, we walked across the Tara Bridge. Having driven along a mountainous road with lots of low cloud, we wondered how much we’d see, but the views of the green Tara river flowing some 150m below were spectacular. The bridge, on a slight curve, was beautifully constructed with five tall arches. We weren’t sure whether they were the same size or whether it was an optical illusion. The scenery was stunning with huge cliffs, tree clad mountains and low shrouds of mist. A small viewing platform on one bank, had 10 steep steps and no handrail, so we gave it a miss. There were two statues: the first of a young partisan killed in 1941, and the second in memory of Lazar Jauković, who died detonating the 5th arch in 1942. His actions not only prevented the passage of enemy forces, but his skill saved the rest of the bridge enabling it to be easily reconstructed. Although the bridge had two-way traffic and a narrow path on both sides, there were few other visitors and virtually no cars as it was still early. 45 minutes and hundreds of photographs later, we were ready to set off, just as the crowds began arriving. This area is popular with both zipliners and rafters.
Continuing onwards, Bata our driver told us about the history of the region beginning with the invasion of the Muslim Ottomans, causing the Christians to take flight into the mountains to avoid having to change religion. Over the next 400 plus years, many churches and monasteries were destroyed but some were rebuilt on numerous occasions. We stopped at the tiny, but beautiful, 500-year-old Monastery of St George in Dobrilovina with its wooden bell tower. We were greeted by two dogs and the sole resident: a young nun who manages the place as the other two incumbents had long since departed. She was very chatty (maybe not surprising considering her solitude) and unlocked the Serbian Orthodox monastery where we could see the old, fading frescos and in total contrast, the iconostasis and cross dated 2016, a gift from Jerusalem. Although I was wearing trousers, for some reason, I had to put a skirt over them. Photos were not allowed inside.
Next stop was Biogradska Gora National Park, one of five in Montenegro, where we walked around the lake. There were lots of seats and picnic areas and it was moderate to easy going, although there were loose stones, tree roots in huge quantities and some slight inclines. There were activities to educate children about the flora and fauna, age and size of the trees etc. Colourful wildflowers abounded and the greenery was enhanced by moss covering many trees. The lake was always nearby but eventually we hit a beautifully constructed and very long raised decked path which took us over muddy areas. This eventually brought us back round to the jetty and our car for the onward journey to Kolašin.