Rafting the Tara

We’ve arrived at our rafting center. We picked the Divlja Rijeka rafting company and they were awesome!

Our first look at the Tara River is captivating. The crystal clear waters are mesmerising and you can literally drink straight from it.

Then it’s a 40 minute drive to the start of our rafting adventure at Brštanovica.

We’re embarking on 17 km of rafting through the most exciting part of the river Tara and through places with the biggest number of rapids.

Of course the minute the men folk get the chance to get into the river, off they go!

A bit of on board footage! It was hard to capture the really fast bits as we had to paddle hard and hang on!

There’s a couple of rest spots during the trip including a beer break at this scenic riverside bar and waterfall.

The hubby braves the icy waters of a pretty waterfall but scrambles out pretty sharpish!

We’re offered the chance to swim the rapids, I decline due to mt previous embarrassing attempts to get back into a boat, but once again the men flop overboard.

Excuse the hideously weird voice and laugh that comes out of me . . #cringe

Another brief break and I am loving all the rainbow of colourful rafts moored up.

There’s another impressive waterfall to check out so naturally he gets in . . but then the crafty sod drags me in with him. Luckily there is no footage of me turning the air blue!

Some more action shots when the river is a little calmer and i can get the camera out.

The war mongers at the front of the raft keep instigating splashing water fights!

And then, all too soon, it’s over. A fantastic few hours on the most beautiful river with some real high octane white water rafting under our belts!

Stunning scenery

We’re heading through some of the most spectacular scenery today as we head to our next thrill seeking appointment.

We have to cross the Montenegrin border into Bosnia to get to the start of our of next adventure – rafting on the Tara River.

So we have about an hour drive through the beautiful mountains of Durmitor National Park.

Durmitor is a massif (a large area) that forms part of the Dinaric Alps.

Durmitor National Park alone has 48 peaks – all over 2,000m high, with the highest, Bobotov Kuk, reaching 2,523m. 

The park is also home to 18 glacial lakes (known as ‘mountain eyes’ by the locals) and five canyons.

A quick pull in for a photo stop costs us $10 euros as the park ranger nabbed us and made us pay for park tickets (again!) even though we we only driving through.

The Tara River, where we’re heading to raft, is the deepest canyon in Europe and one of the deepest in the world at 82km long and 1,300m deep. 

Enjoy some of the incredible scenery that we’re soaking up as we head to the river.

We’re getting close now so next up are some pics from our exhilarating white water rafting trip on Europe’s deepest canyon!

Black Lake

Placid turquoise water surrounded by dense forest, the Black Lake close to Žabljak is a stunning place to visit.

Nestled in Durmitor National Park, the lake is the ideal taste of the park if you don’t have time to explore it more thoroughly.

Black Lake (Crno Jezero) is the largest of Durmitor National Park’s glacial lakes known as ‘mountain eyes’.

It sits at the bottom of Međed Peak, the impressive chunk of rock seen below.

The Black Lake is actually made up of two smaller lakes, Big Lake (Veliko Jezero) and Small Lake (Malo Jezero), but when the lake level rises in autumn, it becomes one lake. In summer the level drops and you can walk the path between the two lakes. 

The lake is fed by springs, rain and surface flow. Most of the lake’s water comes from Mill Creek (Mlinski Potok) and the Čeline Well. 

The Čeline Well is a reservoir at the base of Međed Peak. In spring the snow melt fills up the reservoir and increases the water pressure.

The lake temperature is around 4°C (39°F) lower than air temperature in summer. With a summer high of around 19°C (66°F), that makes the water a very ‘refreshing’ 15°C (59°F)

Even I get the ole carcass into the water – it’s a bit chilly but not too bad!

A rare phenomena happens at the Black Lake. Water from the Small Lake drains into the Piva River via a sinkhole and water from the Big Lake drains into the Tara River via the Otoka River.

When the two lakes are joined water flows in two different directions and this is called bifurcation.

Durmitor is home to a wide range of wildlife including bears, wolves and eagles.

Luckily the nearest we get are some vey cute ducklings and a close encounter of the horned kind!

Then it’s back to town for a well earned glass or two of local wine and some pizza!


After the vertiginous views from the monastery we’re heading to the lovely little mountain town of Žabljak.

Zabljak is the highest urban settlement in the Balkans, located at the altitude of 1456m in the middle of Durmitor National Park.

Žabljak is surrounded by 22 mountain peaks over 2200 meters, 18 mountain lakes and the Tara canyon – the deepest in Europe – making it the perfect base for some outdoor adventures.

As we head nearer we begin to see the distinctive Alpinesque buildings start to appear with their steeply sloping roofs designed to stop snow settling.

Here’s a tour of our adorable little mountain home for the next two days. I feel like Heidi!!!

And the view to our neighbouring hut – everything is just so cute!

Having settled into our accommodation we’re going to see one of the area’s highlights – the Black Lake in Durmitor National Park.

There’s some stunning scenery coming up so watch this space!

Ostrog Monastery

The first stop off on our Montenegrin road trip is to the incredible Ostrog Monastery and this entails a lot of hairpin roads….as usual!

The monastery is split into an upper and lower site, and is a Serbian Orthodox Church.

Its most famous sight is the upper monastery situated against an almost vertical background high up in the large rock of Ostroška Greda.

The Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina founded this monastery in the 17th century – he decided to build the beautiful monastery around three caves that were formerly used by a hermit.

He died in 1671 an his body is enshrined in a reliquary kept in the Church of the Presentation – one of the two cave churches in the complex. 

We stood in a queue for quite a while until we realised we were waiting to see (and kiss) the mummified body.

The other cave church is the Church of the Holy Cross which dates back to the year 1665 and is on the upper floor of the monastery.

It is covered in vivid frescoes which were contributed by the Serbian Master Radul and painted on a pure rock surface. (no photo allowed!)

In post Covid world it is very strange, and uncomfortable, to see so many people kissing pictures and the floor . . all I can think of is viral transmission!!

The view from Ostrog upper monastery offers panoramic vistas of the Bjelopavlići plain.

Ostrog Monastery is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for believers of the Orthodox Christian faith. Pilgrims traditionally march up the steep 3-kilometer walking path from one monastery to the other – barefoot.

There are dorm rooms available for pilgrims here too and crowds of them mill around and escape the heat on outdoor beds.

Here’s a look back at the upper monastery from the lower monastery site, showing just how high up in the hillside it actually is!

Magical Montenegro

Next up on our 2023 hitlist is the Balkan nation of Montenegro.

We’ve been meaning to visit here ever since we came back from Croatia way back in 2014!

It’s a temperature shock going from rainy Manchester at 14 degrees to the middle of a heatwave . . . roasting between 38 and 42 every day – and one day the car registered 48! #Phew

We’ve hired a car for ten days and first up we’re driving from the capital of Podgorica to the mountain town of Žabljak.

Here’s just a tiny taste of some of utterly epic scenery that we’re going to be travelling through on this whirlwind exploration!

Gardens galore

Me and my gardening buddy headed to the NEC for the horticultural wonderland that is Gardener’s World Live!

Here’s the Kings Meadow – a delicious tide of every shade of cornflower and other wildflowers.

Me giving peonies the stink eye – I adore them but they utterly refuse to grow in my garden! So it is a bittersweet sight!

Although I tend to tonal plant in soothing shades of blue, purple and pink, this paintbox bright border is very eye catching.

A harmonious single colour border of serene whites and greens has a soothing effect in the bustling crowds.

We were lucky with the weather – even if it means the sun making us squint a lot!

The show gardens give us lots of inspiration to take home and try out!

Enjoy some more garden inspiration below.

Rambling the ruins

A final few bits from our Athens trip way aback in May! Featuring random ruins and a warm lake.

At the end of the Perachora peninsula are even more ancient Greek ruins!

The Heraion of Perachora is a sanctuary of the goddess Hera situated in a small cove of the Corinthian gulf at the end of the peninsula.

In addition to a temple of Hera the remains of a number of other structures have also been found. Below you can see some of the ruins to the left of the photo.

Lake Vouliagmeni (“Sunken Lake”) is a small brackish-water lake fed by underground currents. Because of its constant warm water temperature the lake functions as a spa and relaxation spot in the little town.

The Temple of Poseidon is an ancient Greek temple on Cape Sounion dedicated to the god Poseidon.

There is evidence of the establishment of sanctuaries on the cape from as early as the 11th century BC Sounion’s most prominent temples, the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Poseidon, are however not believed to have been built until about 700 BC,

Heraion lagoon

Lake Vouliagmeni also known as Vouliagemi and Heraion lagoon is 3.5 kms from Ancient Heraion and the lake is a picturesque area surrounded by many cafes and tavernas.

We had it all to ourselves as it was still out of season, but it is thronged with visitors once the peak summer holidays start.

Below is the tiny church of Aghios Nikolaos on Heraion Lagoon.

Below is where the lake exits into the Corinthian Gulf.

Just soak up the wonderful scenery and stunning blue waters (aka I can’t really think of anything else to add!)

Getting some real Thailand vibes here – although it is nowhere near as warm!!

Corinth Canal

Time for the engineering nerd to get his manmade structure on with a visit to the Corinth Canal.

The Corinth Canal is an artificial canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.

It is 4 miles in length and only 80.7 feet wide meaning it is impassable for many modern ships.

The canal experienced financial and operational difficulties after completion. The narrowness of the canal makes navigation difficult.

Its high walls funnel wind along its length, and the different times of the tides in the two gulfs cause strong tidal currents in the channel.

It is now mainly a tourist attraction, and was closed to boats when we visited due to another landslip.