Lake Skadar, Montenegro
After a few relaxing days on Montenegro's Bay of Kotor we moved to the beach resort of Sveti Stefan. While the crystal clear water and forest setting were lovely, the masses of leopard print clad Russian package tourists were a tad less appealing. Montenegro isn't a big country and when we decided to spent a day exploring inland we found ourselves in the surrounds of Lake Skadar. The massive lake is a delightful place packed with millions of tiny fish and a massive variety of waterfowl. Its inherent natural beauty is enhanced by a peacefulness and tranquillity of its setting; a setting that stands in stark contrast to the overt tackiness of the coast.
A drive around Lake Skadar isn't so much a drive around the lake, but a winding journey through the steep hills above. While the road is made, it's a single lane and the chances of bumping into a cow, goat or donkey are high. Passing through tiny, isolated farming hamlets we decided to stop for fresh produce and chanced upon the cellar door of the Petar Lekovic Vineyard. Cellar door in this case is a term that is both accurate and misleading. Misleading because their setup is nothing like the highly polished, professional operations one encounters at Australian wineries and accurate because their small roadside stall is literally setup at the door of their home (and cellar) under a bounterful kiwi fruit vine.
Petar and his wife were both manning the stall, and as well as selling us a bottle proudly labelled 'fine wine of Montenegro' we also brought tomatoes, chillies, onions, parsley and apples. Their array of produce was fresh and fragrant, while the jars on display were a temptation for a man who loves preserving as much as I do. We also sampled a shot of delicious, but fiery home-made cherry brandy. I loved the down to earth honesty of the Lekovics and visiting their roadside cellar door was a highlight of my trip to the Balkans. Whether or not you can manage to find the Petar Lekovic Vineyard, a drive through the hills surrounding Lake Skadar is still a highly recommended adventure.