A Day of cyclist’s life
07:00 – I wake up but I don’t feel like getting up yet.
08:00 – We get up.
08:05 – Our host shows up. She’s a bit weird. She offers coffee, but we refuse.
08:10 – Our host watches carefully everything that we pack.
08:15 – Our host is joined by Dragosa, her husband. Now they both watch us packing.
08:37 – When we’re ready, we ask them to take a picture together.
08:38 – Dragosa runs to bring his shepherd’s hat and brings also others for us.
08:42 – We take a picture. Dragosa’s wife doesn’t want to pose for the photo with him.
08:46 – Dragosa runs to his hut and writes his address so that you can send him a postcard. He also explains that he sleeps in the hut because his wife doesn’t want him at home and he has to guard the sheep. He gives us plums.
08:49 – Dragosa says that the picture of Ostrog monastery (lit by led lights and very kistchy) costed him 20 euro but he felt he needed to buy it.
08:53 – Dragosa keeps his huge dog away while we cycle from their house.
09:00 – We leave through a tunnel in the hill. Behind it there’s a view of two lakes near Niksic. At this time of the day the sun shines straight into our eyes and the mountains on the other side of the lake are behind a light veil of fog.
9:15 – We go down on a wide and comfortable road toward Niksic. Cars, passing us by, use their horns to signal that they are coming. One motorcyclist waves to us. We don’t wave back because our hands are firmly gripping the brakes.
9:30 – We arrive to a restaurant and go in to have breakfast. In the menu there are Polish pierogi and it’s the only thing translated to Polish.
9:35 – The waiter assures us that pancakes are with original Nutella. We order them with coffee.
9:37 – There’s wi-fi so we change into two cyborgs stuck to the screens of our smartphones.
9:47 – The waiter brings the pancakes with sickly sweet Eurokrem – Balkan fake Nutella.
10:15 –We hang around. Aga does the washing in the toilet.
10:45 – We cycle ahead. It starts to be hot. The road is flat and easy.
12:00 – At the entrance to Niksic we decide to ask for directions. The man who answers our question offers to pour some cold water into our bottles.
12:07 – A lady on the balcony above invites us for some juice and coffee. We never refuse such invitations.
12:10 – We get homemade juice of zoma and dżania and Turkish coffee.
12:27 – Lilia, the lady from the balcony, asks about our trip, introduces her neighbour and husband, tells us about her family, sheds a tear when talking about her children in the USA and offers some soup. She brings figs from her garden and laughs when we invite her to join us on a bike.
13:00 – They change the water in our bottles again because it’s already warm. We exchange contacts and learn that here Viber is more popular then Skype.
13:20 – We arrive to an ATM in Niksic and withdraw some euros.
13:30 – A local playboy approaches us and tries to impress us but somehow he doesn’t. We decide to use his ability to speak English and ask about the road. The playboy doesn’t know the road we are interested in.
13:35 – The playboy can’t understand what we want when we ask him to ask somebody else for directions and then translate it to us.
13:40 – Success. The good news is that there is sideroad that will take us to stary put – the old road from Niksic to Podgorica.
13:45 – We cycle through the suburbs, then we stop to do some shopping.
14:15 – We arrive to an old, stone and exeptionally long bridge over a river that’s almost completely dry. Greyish stones of the riverbed shine in the sun. We take pictures.
14:20 – We get to stary put. The road is so narrow that two cars have problems passing by but luckily, almost nobody drives here. Everyone goes on nowy put – the new road. We climb a hill. There are some statues with Soviet red stars.
15:10 – We reach the other side of the hill. Only downhill from here. There’s a rock on one side of the road and an abyss on the other. And again, some stunning views.
15:50 – One car passes us by. We stop to have lunch of fruit and cookies. We take pictures.
16:45 – We arrive to a place from which we can see the monastery Ostrog. It’s a little, white spot on rocky wall above us. From here there’s a steep uphill part of the road.
17:15 – Well, it turns out it wasn’t so steep. We take a coke in a bar. We charge our mobiles. These are the last kilometres before the monastery. We try to figure out whether it’s better to stay here in the village or get directly to the lower monastary. A taxi driver offers his servis. We refuse.
17:45 – We decide to go further. We cycle past some stalls with religious souvenirs, one with burek and a couple of restaurants. At this time there aren’t a lot of people. A lady from the honey stand yawns.
17:47 – We stop because there’s a small turle on the road. We take picures.
17:50 – We arrive at the lower monastery. Aga uses her scarf to cover up, I use the towel. We enter the church. Long-bearded monks in black habits gather inside.
18:00 – Bells ring and the mass begins.
18:05 – We go to the pilgrims house to ask about the night.
18:10 – A man at the reception is proud is demontrate his knowledge of Polish literature when we say we are from Poland. He lets us camp outside. Around there are saintly girls in long skirts and with covered hair.
18: 20 – We put up the tent and leave everything on this saintly premises and rush to get some dinner.
18:30 – In the first restaurant they tell us that they are open from 19:00 after the mass.
18:40 – We go to find some other place to eat but it seems that all the other restaurants are further then we remembered. We come back. We wait with some other people by the entrance.
19:10 – The monks and crowds from the church come. A queue is formed. Everyone is so saintly dressed and we are in our cycling clothes. We don’t know what it’s all about. A girl from the queue tells us it’s a canteen for pilgrims.
19:15 – It turns out that Natasha from the queue speaks some Polish so we tie the bounds. The queue starts to move forward. We feel awkward because we have no idea if they let us in or not.
19:20 – They did let us in. We get some delicious food and sit with Natasha and her boyfriend. They are from Serbia. We talk. There’s a lectern in the canteen and a young guy reads Lives of the Saints when we eat.
19:30 – We need to get up because the monks start a prayer.
19:50 – We end our meal and it results it was for free. We walk Natasha and her boyfriend for a while and promise to find each other the next day when visiting the upper monastery.
20:10 – We do the washing and go to wash ourselves in the sink. There are no showers.
21:00 – We are very glad about the washing. We make some tea in the kitchen. Outside of the pilgrims house saintly girls talk with saintly boys in the shadow of the trees. Stars start to shine in the sky.
21:15 – We meet Siergiej from Russia in the kitchen. He tells us that he made a diploma in translation in German in a month and in Swedish in two months. Now he writes a book about monastic life. He doesn’t forget to mention that he hasn’t got a partner who would share his passions and asks if we have boyfriends.
22:00 – A saintly young man comes in and says that the pilgrims house is closed at this time. We fully appreciate the fact that we sleep outside in the tent and can enjoy our freedom.
22:15 – We write our travel diaries, count the money spent today. I eat halvah and have to brush my teeth again. We talk. It’s a very warm night. There a huge lit cross on the rock above the monastery. Aga sees a falling star.
23:30 – We go to bed.