Small Virpazar on The Shores of Lake Skadar, Montenegro
Two completely dissimilar Montenegrin resorts behind us, the drive towards Lake Skadar continued through a very long tunnel (toll) that took approximately three years to build, and pulled into Virpazar for one night. Our two star Hotel 13 of July (that’s the name in honor of an uprising in Bar’s municipality against the occupying power on July 13, 1941) was clean, but a little confusing. Reception gave the group keys for rooms on the second floor. After painfully and slowly schlepping bags up, none of the keys worked. They had gotten mixed up and it took a while for the owner to take back the keys, matching them to the proper room.
When questioned about whether or not there is hot water (always ask), she answered, “Yes. Just let it run for a while.” I washed some clothes in cold water. Let the water continue running. Turned on the shower. Thirty minutes of running water produced…more cold water. With that I gave up, washed hair and showered in ice cold water while Steve listened to screams of, “Cold…damn…cold…damn…” Something is better than nothing….
Virpazar, on the edge of Lake Skadar, appears to exist for bird watchers. Optional excursions for bird watching leave from the dock below Hotel 13 of July and costs 15 Euros a person (strangely, the Euro is Montenegro’s official currency). Lake Skadar is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula with two-thirds in Montenegro and one-third in Albania. The lake is home to 270 species of birds including egrets, spoonbills and one of the largest cormorant colonies on the planet.
Nearly 1,300 people live in Virpazar, the largest town on the lake. There were hiking signs pointing to well marked trails posted throughout town and along Lake Skadar that made us wish there was time to do a little hiking. Montenegro is known for good trail markings according to Sinisa. (Completely unlike Albania where trail markings were nonexistent.)
There are supposed to be only two really good restaurants in Virpazar and we opted for Konoba Terry, also known as Konoba “Crmnicki Vinotek.” Plunked down at a wooden table, hungrily browsed the menu and ordered. Portion sizes are usually huge throughout the Balkans. Keeping that in mind, we would order one of everything to split thinking we’d order more if the size was abnormally small. “Terry” did not disappoint. A wonderful grilled pepper, large steak with ample fries, big Shopska salad and carafe of the delicious Montenegrin wine. FYI: A Shopska salad is a cold salad made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, roasted peppers, Bulgarian cheese/feta cheese dressed with olive oil and wine vinegar. Always filling…always delicious…
Cold water forgotten, we were happy to be sitting in Virpazar in a food coma.