today I zig zagged south across Montenegro. Starting at the coast, 25 hairpin bends later I'm up in a mountainous national park, the smell of pine trees was divine. It had rained heavily the night before so the smell was so fresh. Then along the top for a while, dropping down to the coast before heading inland to europes second largest lake. Lake skradar, Ramsar wetlands to boot.
While down on the coast I was getting hungry and I'm generally not one to respond to a lot of roadside signage promoting hotels and restaurant ants, but this one got me in. Lots of hand written signs about home cooked food etc. not on the highway so I follow the signs along narrow, rough lanes and finally find the Restaurant Pastrovica Dvori. It was not obvious where to park the bike and luckily one of the waiters came out and suggested I park under a fruit tree. Done. I'm shown downa myriad of steps to a colourful terrace of tables and chairs, with an awesome view out over St Stephen Island. They have rooms here too, that might be nice, lets see what lunch is like first.
Zeljko, the owner is also a motorcyclist so we go out so he can show me his bike and I show him mine. He's also a musician and has a little stage in the corner of the terrace. He paints and makes all his wines and liqueurs as well as managing the 7 hectares of land that produces all the food for his restaurant.
After successfully running a resort in northern Yugoslavia up until the 1990's, it was better for him to return to Montenegro to the families village and start again. He started making olive oil, using the techniques his grandmother used, curing meat and making cheeses. From these meagre beginnings, it has now evolved into a popular restaurant.
I overheard the young French couple at the next table ask about this photo. Gosh, what a story. Eaves dropping is fun. Several years ago one of his diners was a Russian cosmonaut. Zeljko is an amateur painter and while the cosmonaught was dining he quickly painted the view of St Stevens Island and gave it to the Russian. This cosmonaught apparently was the first Russian to go to the moon. A few years later the Russian returns to the restaurant and gives Zeljko this photo. It is of his painting, held up to the window of the space ship. Apparently the painting was the first non essential item ever to go out of this world. He showed us newspaper articles about the occasion. Quite extraordinary.
Back to my lunch. The cheeses are home made, one from goats, other from Cows milk. Both very young and slight in flavour. The olives and other veggies are homegrown as is the olive oil and bread. I couldn't eat it all, so have finished it off for dinner tonight along with a jar of honeyed fruit that I bought from a charming young Nicholas at turn 25 this morning.
This old roller is fitted with tracks and skids and the front. It was done especially for Russian nobility when they came to the mountains. At Cradle Mountain some of Gustavs visitors also arrived in a similar fitted out vehicle, although from memory I think it was a Citroen. Feel free to correct me on that. It's in Anton Lades Three Indians and a Caterpillar if you want to check.