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Black Lake

Sunday, July 13th, 2008 | Balkans 2008 | 43°8' N, 19°6' E
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Black Lake

I had a choice when I got to Podgorica – head into the mountains of Montenegro, or move on to Kosovo. I had a brief look outside the bus station, and immediately decided to wait one hour here for the bus to Žabljak, rather than wait six hours for the bus to Priština.

It was a good decision. The journey into the hinterlands of Montenegro was amazing. Before very long we were in rugged and remote scenery, wild mountains with waterfalls and streams, all covered in lush green forests. Between tiny settlements where people got on and off, there was little sign of human habitation.

We arrived in Žabljak just after sunset. I wondered if it would turn out to have been a bad idea to arrive in a popular mountain town late on a weekend evening in the summer, but I found a room easily enough, in a house owned by a woman called Dragana.

In the morning I went for a walk to Crno Jezero, Black Lake. It was not far out of town and it was a nice walk through the forest. The lake was quiet, and impressive, with towering rocky peaks and dense forest around it. I walked around it.

All was silent. Then suddenly I heard a ‘plop’, and saw ripples of water spreading out. I was mystified at first. Had someone thrown a stone at me from somewhere nearby? I walked on a few metres, and there was another ‘plop’, but this time I saw the culprit – a large frog who had been relaxing in the sun before I passed by. There were frogs all along the shore, and I set off a wave of jumps into the lake as I walked. In the forest, some squirrel-like rodents ran about; in the lake, a large black fish circled and occasionally grabbed a fly from near the surface.

Once I’d walked all around, I headed back to Žabljak to get a bus back to Podgorica, and found myself there with six hours to kill before the Kosovo bus would leave.

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