March 31, 2011

Drizzly Day In Paradise

"Prosuma Biogradska" in  Montenegro
We had a drizzly, wet walk through the beautiful Biogradska Gora National Park.  I took this picture In October when the water would have been at it's lowest level.  During April or May the water reaches it's highest peak and is crystal clear.  I can't begin to describe the sweet smelling air - it was so intoxicating.  You'll have to go there and find out for yourself.  I do think the moisture in the atmosphere helped to produce the amazing scent.  Apparently there is a phenomenal diversity of flora, trees and shrubs in this environment.   Several summits in this forest reach 2000 metres above sea level.   A truly spectacular place.


  1. Mariana,
    I'm enjoying your little tour through Montenegro, and I must admit that many of the scenes do not match my mental picture of what Montenegro looks like.

    I have an interesting little story involving Montenegro -at least I think it's interesting- I have a large collection of those little spiral bound, soft cover Community Fund Raiser cookbooks created and sold by organizations (don't know if you have these in Australia) and many of them wind up being stored away in boxes - so my wife encourages me to get rid of many of them. For awhile, I sold them on eBay, but most do not bring more than a dollar or two, so eventually, I began putting some of my more interesting ones up for bid.

    I'll always remember when I posted a church cookbook from some northern US state featuring recipes from Montenegro - I didn't think there was anything special about it, but it soon began to draw a lot of bids. Toward the end of the bidding, it got very hectic, and I remember thinking 'Why is this happening?'. When the bidding ended, that little used book sold for more than $28, an unusual amount for such a book.

    I still have no idea why it garnered such interest, except that this area of the world has many loyal descendents who love their history and culture very much.

  2. Magnificent photo, Mariana! I particularly love the stripes of colour in the water!

  3. This reminds me of Pocahontas, how enchanting!

  4. Gosh drfugawe-

    thank you for sharing that. Fascinating to hear that the book did so well. Beats me why - to be totally honest, the cuisine in Montenegro ain't that crash-hot. They do eat a tremendous amount of meat, way too much I think. It's usually accompanied with heavily greased potatoes, cheese and peppers dripping in oil. To be fair, salad is always available mainly lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and very finely sliced cabbage dressed in salt, pepper, oil and white vinegar. This is standard staple. We do have a dish called "pita" which is a dough filled with all sorts. Fillings include meat, cheese, pumpkin, carrot, mushroom, spinach etc and sweet ones include apple and walnut off the top of my head. The cuisine is hearty and not very good on the waistline.

    When I went there two years ago, I had grand ambitions that I would write a Montenegrin cookbook. That idea subsided when I came to realise it wouldn't be a goer in the western world. After your little story, I now begin to think maybe I should have after all! hehe.

    Seriously though, Montenegrin people are fiercely proud and very loyal. You got that right. When the Turks reigned over this region of Europe during the Ottoman Empire, the Montenegrins were the only Balkan or Slavic race who managed to hold their territory and fight the Turks (either to regain their land or to keep the turks out.) Only in Southern Montenegro. The northern part was mostly occupied.

    I'm sure you've heard about the barbarianism of the Turks at that time. Well, I tell you that the Montenegrins weren't much better. When they fought the Turks and won, they would always go back to their villages or to their mountain hideouts with cut off Turkish heads on top of a stake. They were notorious for doing this. Maybe that's why after a while, the Turks stopped trying to conquer them. They were a tough race accompanied with some of the highest mountain terrain that they knew like the backs of their hands. The Turks were definitely up against it.

    Just one more thing I can't resist telling you. When I was little, I'd often hear my Dad or my aunt talk about someone who had angered them. It usually included them saying "they need their head cut off". The Montenegrin blood ran very deep especially in my aunt. She was a tough old stick. Their history is very important to Montenegrins.
    They are truly the most hospitable people in the world. No. I'm not biased. Just don't get them angry. And that's it in a nutshell. A Montenegrin is either your best friend or your worst enemy. (goodness, I've written a book)


  5. Thanks Celia - I rather thought it was a nice photo too. But hey - when you have such a gorgeous subject to work with, it's easy, even for an amateur like me.

    Pocahontas! I didn't manage to catch a glimpse of John Smith or Percy or Meeko or Flit nor did I see any bows and arrows peeking through the forest. Nonetheless, it was most certainly enchanting. I suspect it will be one of those places you'll love. Still, I don't think anything will beat the top of Durmitor mountain. Stay tuned for that one my little Indian.