In Montenegro we like to say we’re more resistant to living in crisis than the rest of the world – and I’m only half joking! For those of us who remember the 90s, this mess we’re in regarding Covid-19 doesn’t register on the same scale at all. There’s no question, though, that social distancing has pushed us to change our routines and improvise to keep physically and mentally healthy – so to keep my spirits up I’ve been cycling some of Montenegro’s least known trails!
Being active for me is more than a desire – it’s a need. Under lock-down all gyms, swimming pools and parks were closed – but people were allowed outside alone for personal exercise. So, to use an English expression, I got on my bike! After almost 50 days I’ve managed about 900 km and put almost 9000 metres of altitude in my legs. Not bad; it’s like I cycled Mount Everest! And yeah, I also lost 4 kilos, even though I really enjoyed delicacies from my mother’s kitchen (I also did cooking regularly!).
I didn’t want to be hugely visible when many people were suffering indoors in small apartments. I also wanted to respect the physical distancing required, so I chose to ride around the thinly populated hills near Podgorica (we are still limited to the municipality in which we live). I picked a route that goes very steeply up into the highlands above Bjelopavlici – less frequented, beautiful and most cyclists don’t go there because of its grade of difficulty.
In total it’s not that long a route – about 50km [oh, is that all? – Ed], but there’s one segment which does test you – in 7km you climb about 680 metres. When you come to the foothills and see the pass above you, nature rewards you with awesome views of the valley and Podgorica looks really lovely from those points; you can see Lovćen, Rumija and Lola Mountains from a rare perspective. The few cars that pass cheer you with a beep, a little surprised that somebody travels this route without an engine.
When you finally finish the climb, the prize is the plateau of Kopilje village in the foothills of Brotnjik Mountain. It’s really calm, remote – a spot that lets you forget the troubles the world currently struggles with. Nothing but nature and the epic silence of the stunning Montenegrin hills, with beautiful old houses in bucolic spots where people clean their meadows preparing for the summer season, planting and working in their gardens. Enough to remind you how a simple, organic life still beats living in cities. Maybe these temporary conditions will convert more people to nature and outdoor activities?
1st June is the date we’re all looking forward to: this is when we will be allowed to cross the country again and travel to the amazing places we take you to on our Super Active and Family Active Holidays , where you can combine mountain biking with hiking, canyoning, white-water rafting and zip-lining up in the Durmitor, Prokletije, Komovi and Lola mountain ranges (see our video below!). Not long after that we hope to be able to welcome both new and old friends for more adventures in this small, but spectacular part of the Earth. Undiscovered Montenegro will be ready to get back to work soon. Hope you guys will be ready too!