Holiday in the Balkans (8): Stari Bar and Lake Skadar

Our last day (Saturday) in Montenegro was another long excursion, starting at 9 am and concluding at 7.15 pm. Our first visit was to a local family operation for producing olive oil from their olive trees. Our guide described the “smashing” of the olives to create the oil. 

Then we made a longer visit to the ruins of Stari Bar, the original medieval settlement founded by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in 6th century, located five km (3 miles) east of the modern city of Bar. There is still a lot of restoration going on here. It was a rare opportunity for a refreshment break and I had the best baklava of my life outside Athens. 

The next part of the day was a two hour boat trip on Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the Balkans sprawling across the border between Montenegro and Albania. In winter the lake swells to over 500 sq km (190 sq miles) and some two-thirds belongs to Montenegro. We boarded our boat at the village of Virpazar and only saw the the most north-western corner of the lake. During the ride, we were served a kind is doughnut which is dipped in honey and eaten with soft, white cheese. 

The final visit of the day and the tour was to a vineyard called “Vinarija Mrkan” at the tiny village of Rvasi. Over a late (4.30 pm) ‘lunch’ of cheese, tomatoes, and other bits, the owner of the vineyard invited us to sample a succession of six different wines and several liqueurs. The group were pretty merry on the ride back to our hotel. 


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