Day 12: Crno Jezero and Zabljak

We met for breakfast around 8:30 again. Today, Vineta and I made scrambled eggs and “sausage” (Wudy brand hot dogs) for the kids. She puts a giant handful of salt in her eggs, then pours a considerable amount of oil in the pan before adding the beaten egg. It’s basically a deep-fried salty omelet. But it was good enough to eat, and I was hungry. We also had sliced tomatoes and juice.

FIL and DH met us around 9:15, and we hung out long enough for DH to make some changes to his flight. He is going back to Milano for one day while we are in Paris to meet with a colleauge from China. The kids and I will stay in Paris and sightsee while he’s gone.

After he bought his tickets, we piled into two cars and headed to Zabljak and Crno Jezero (“Black Lake”). Only Cousin B and his wife came today, so we only had one driver. Mike was off, today being Sunday, so we had Dmitrilov. His friends call him “Demo”. Not sure if that is a good thing or not.

We took a winding and mountainous route through Savnik on our way to Crno Jezero. S8 nearly got carsick from the aggressive passing our caravan was doing, so I asked Vineta if we could slow down a bit. And then S8 wanted to ride in their car with FIL, which I encouraged. I figured they would be extra cautious if it meant avoiding all those eggs coming back up in the back seat. I was right. 😉


It took about an hour and a half to get to Crno Jezero. We got out of the car and started on a nice, leisurely walk around the lake. It was considerably cooler up here, probably only 50F.

Crno Jezero




The water is considerably lower than normal, due to the drought. Until we arrived, they had 101 straight days of no rain.

Low water

It was still very beautiful.

Papa & O6 at Crno Jezero

This sign refers to the three large mountaintops in the area.

Three tops of the mountains

There are many pine trees in the woods surrounding the lake. It is very reminiscent of the pacific northwest in the US.

Woods near Black Lake

We walked around to a pavilion, where we rested for a little while before turning back.


We then drove to Zabljak, a little tourist town nearby. Cousin B has a cabin there and knows the owner of the restaurant we went to for lunch: Zlatni Bor.

We were seated near a fireplace and a waiter took our drink order. The owner sat down with us and talked for a while. Soon the antipasti arrived: fresh local cheeses, “pita” (bread with a creamy cheese and egg baked inside, similar to a strudel and bearing absolutlely no resemblance to middle eastern pita), other breads, and then Kacamak: a corn, potato, cheese and spice “porridge” which I have learned is a national dish. It was full of fat and flavor and absolutely incredible.





Next, we were asked if we wanted beef or lamb. Everyone wanted lamb, so we received a platter of meat with potatoes, which are cooked for several hours in a earthenware vessel that is nestled on hot wood embers.



Even though we were all stuffed at this point, we dug in. Those potatoes are probably the most flavorful spuds I have ever eaten in my life. Oh, and we also had the plates of coleslaw, tomato and cucumber that is the family-style salad.

After this, we learned that the owner’s son was celebrating his 18th birthday that day. Our plates were cleared and fresh ones brought, so that we could also have cake.

Er, cakes.




After our enormous “lunch”, we walked around the corner to see Cousin B’s cabin.



It is very cute and modern-rustic: built just 7 years ago. But it’s very Baltic, too. Here are the neighbors.


After a short visit, we got back into the cars and drove to their farmhouse, about a half-hour from Podgorica.


I did not understand the Serbian name of this mediterranean fruit, but Cousin B has a fig tree growing on his property and shared some with us. It sounded like he said “skokla”, but I couldn’t be sure.



He also grows grapes- amazingly sweet ones, at that- and apples. We had a snack outside while touring the garden, then went in to see the house.

I am in love.







We sat out on the terrace and enjoyed a beverage and the cool breeze off the mountains.



We talked about how the family was from this area, which Vineta referred to as Pociakev- “rest place”. Both B’s great-grandparents and all of FIL’s grandparents were born here. In the late thirties, FIL’s family moved to Pece (which I’m certainly spelling wrong). The government was offering free land which had been captured from the region’s Muslim tribes to anyone who would settle there, so the family took advantage and settled in a small village not far from there, called Dobrusa. Not long after moving to the village, FIL’s dad joined the army and then WWII broke out. FIL and Cousin B’s father were born in Dobrusha, but FIL’s dad was away during this time.

FIL’s father was captured during the war and sent to a German camp. Draga and Pete, Cousin B’s grandparents, took in FIL and his mother and helped raise FIL. FIL’s dad was liberated, but took advantage of the Council OF World Churches’ offer to sponsor him to go to another country. He chose USA. But while he was going through the process to emigrate, the Turkish army overran the area of Dobrusa and burned their village, so the family moved back into the city of Pece for a time. Eventually they went back to the Montenegrian town of Bioce where they originally started.

FIL was a royalist and had served in the King’s army, but then Tito took over and the country became communist (and later became part of Yugoslavia). FIL went to America in 1949, but could not get the family to join him for another six years because of his politics. The first time my FIL ever met his dad was in 1955, when he was nearly 14 years old.

And then we came back to Podgorica. Everyone had a great day.


Returning to present day, we did briefly consider canceling the Paris leg of our trip, in light of the protests that have been going on there. We kicked around just going to Milano with DH, or perhaps flying thru Paris but not staying. In the end, FIL suggested he come with us on Tuesday when we leave Montenegro, rather than stay on an extra two days here. They are not going to be able to go to to Belgrade as he had hoped, and everyone here has work and school obligations. It looks like that is our current and best plan for the moment.