Montenegro is without doubt one of the most astonishingly beautiful places I’ve ever seen. You cannot go a vacation without appreciating their nature. Biking up the road between Kotor and Cetinje in Montenegro, the Lovcen road, is probably one of the most crazy and best things I’ve ever done in my life. This road is often described as one of the world’s most dangerous drives as well as one of the world’s most scenic routes.
When I was staying at Hotel Splendid Conference and Spa Resort, I began to crave for some adventure in the nature. My co-founder, John Hathaway II, kept insisting that I get my nature fix at Mount Lovcen because I had been in and out of cities for adventures and whatnot. I haven’t had the chance to just have fun in the nature disconnecting myself from the Internet.
By all means, I went for it. I began doing some research and then contacted the office of the National Parks of Montenegro to find out more information. I reached out to them just to find out that they have never sponsored a blogger for adventures in the national park. It was a honor to be their first and they sponsored the entrance fee to the national park, two nights of accommodations in a bungalow up in the mountains, plus a bike rental for my trip to the peak where the Njegoš Mausoleum was located at.
They emailed me the permit document waiving my entrance fee. I had the hotel to print it out and I hopped on a bus that took me to Cetjine then took a taxi to the visitor center of the Lovcen National Park. We did stop by at the entrance for me to pull out the permit document and it was smooth when they confirmed the document then allowed my taxi to go through the Kotor gate and dropped me off at the visitor center where I met this kind lady who worked at the visitor center.
It was about mid afternoon when I got there. This lady was so kind and informative. She took me on a short hike to my bungalow. We passed by several nice sights of families vacationing in the bungalows. At the moment, I told myself that I’d do the same with my family one day.
Anyways, when I arrived at my bungalow, the lady was so nice that she waited until I was settled. It was a small and cozy cabin with a couch and two bunk beds. I loved every bit of the cabin. Not only that, it was what I needed—a change in my scene for once.
Then I asked about access to Internet. She told me that I wouldn’t be able to access Internet unless I go to their restaurant near the visitor center, which was a short walk from my bungalow. After that, I told the lady that I was all set and that I’d go to the restaurant to eat for dinner and work on this travel blog while I would get access to Internet there. I thanked her graciously and she left back to the center.
I went over to the restaurant to eat and get access to the Internet. The speed of the Internet wasn’t so bad, but I got to say that the food was better. =P
After I got filled up with a good dinner, outside was getting dark, so I started going back. Good thing because it got really dark when I went out to walk back to the bungalow and it was quite hard to see and walk through the woods. Good thing we got technology, I turned on the light of my iPhone’s LED to guide my way back to my lovely bed in the bungalow.
Before I went to bed, I went to take a piss in the bathroom just to find a scorpion in the toilet. It was terrifying to see, but it had no chance of getting to me because the first thing I did was flushing the toilet. It didn’t fail to suck the scorpion down the toilet drain; however, I hope it wouldn’t climb up the toilets on the next guest… Just like cockroaches as I have heard of horrifying stories about that. Ekk!
Overall, the bungalow is just perfectly cozy especially in the mountains. I had no problems sleeping through the night. I’d recommend trying their bungalows when you get the chance to explore the Lovcen National Park.
Cycling to the Jezerski Peak\
Oh, I cannot describe how exhilarating this entire experience was for me. It was quite rewarding and let me tell you how come.
Rinse and shine, I got up at the light of the dawn and went down to the visitor center to pick up the bike. I was so stoked to get my nature fix with some fitness as a bonus to me.
At the visitor center, I wrote back and forth with the lady over a map with routes of bike trails. She did her best to give me some pointers on the routes. I was quite hard for me to understand her English because she wasn’t native in it, but I gathered as much information as I could and went off to figure out my route on my own with few of her pointers.
I just couldn’t wait, so I immediately hopped on the bike saddle and started riding the minute I went out with the bike rental. I thought I had the hand of it until I started to ascend uphill.
Somehow, I led myself to the Lovcen road. I did try a couple of routes, but it led me to dead ends. I just didn’t stop going, so I kept riding up the Lovcen road.
You wouldn’t have any idea of how hard it was for me fight my way up the steep slopes, but it was the spectacular aerial views of the mountains with a collection of stone houses along the landscape that gave me the courage to keep going up.
On the ascent, I passed a couple of phenomenal picnic spots, with crazy stand-up tables and sheer drops, and I took a break at the last spot I saw on the way for a photo op because the terrace view was so beautiful and surreal.
After that, I rode the bike up the slope for a short while until I couldn’t feel my legs, so I got off to walk the bike to the peak.
I actually conquered my goal of reaching to the peak with a great sigh of relief, especially when I recall that the lady said it wasn’t ideal for me to ride my bike all the way to the peak. She originally suggested me to ride the bike around the mountain and then hike up to the summit.
Good thing I had been an adrenaline-junkie and that I didn’t listen the lady, because I wouldn’t have done this if I had listen to her. I couldn’t be any prouder of what I accomplished. At that moment of that very thought, I watched a car passing with couple of people cheering me on and giving me plenty of thumbs ups out of the car windows.
That felt good.
Hiking to Njegoš Mausoleum
I couldn’t feel my legs at all at this point, but I pushed myself to take the 461 steps up to the magnificent mausoleum.
I didn’t count the steps, I knew about it when I looked up the Internet.
Anyways, I reached to the entry guarded by two stone female giantesses. I walked around the monument and I could see different parts of Budva, Kotor and few other areas. It was a dramatically panoramic view of the Lovcen National Park filled with plenty of mountain rock. You could even see Lake Skadar at that point, but I better stop blabbing and let you enjoy the photographs as they will do most of the talking.
I have to be honest that my photos really do not do it justice and the bike trip trip over the mountain was the highlight for me.
It had been a very long time since I actually went out into the nature because I spent most of my time in urban area while I was living in the States. Therefore, this was perfect getaway for me.
At the top of the peak, you have no idea how long it took me to accept the fact that going down was mandatory. I just wish that time would freeze for me. I would love to live this moment forever and I couldn’t be any more thankful of National Parks of Montenegro for making this possible for me.
Funny thing is that it took me hours and buckets of sweat to get up to the top, but it only took me like 10 minutes down the slopes to reach the park’s main hub where the visitor center and my bungalow was at.
First thing I did was walking into the visitor center and telling the lady about the biking up to the peak and then down! Her reaction surely had my pride glowing all over the park.
“You’re a wacko!” The lady gestured.
“That’s right. That’s how I am with my adventures. One more thing checked off my bucket list!” I wrote to her and then I chuckled with a shrug.
We both laughed along before I went to sleep for another night and then took off for adventures in the Tara River Canyon.