Lake Skadar on the Albanian border, an ancient fortress, and a simple fishing village

Vranjina Travel Blog

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Inland, the forest had not a green leaf, yet. It was just whitish rock and brown…..a touch of green grass or plants, and the occasional flower. In this section there were almost no inhabitants, at all. I found just a few farmhouses…..and that’s it!

Rounding a major curve of a mountain, the view opened up. There were mountains close and far, far away, and in between….a beautiful lake with little peaks to protect it. Lake Skadar which is also known as Lake Shkodër (Albanian), and Skadarsko jezero (Serbian) strattles the border with Albania and is the largest lake on the Balkan Penninsula. The Montenegrin part of the lake and its surrounds is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having 270 species call it home.

Soon, I was approaching the lake. I passed through an area of wetlands with reeds growing as far was the eye could see. Then, water, water, everywhere, as the lake revealed itself to me.

There were remains of a fortress, Lesendro, built in the 17thcentury. It was taken by the Turks and returned in ruins. I drove to the other side of the causeway and found a place to park near a wine shop. On the banks of the lake ……one restaurant, a tour company office, and a wine shop….food, entertainment, and wine!

I walked along the scary lake side of the railroad tracks as opposed to the scary road side where there was no…..NO shoulder to walk on. From time to time, I had to walk on the tracks…..as the slope of the bank was too great. I almost slid down the back several times.

It was very sad to see this great fortress resting aside the lake with a rail track barrier to one side and a power line tower at its point.

This was very sad. There was absolutely no way to safely get to it. I tried. There was a little worn path but, I was in shorts and the brush got very high. I had no desire to have my legs rubbed by strange plants or the many bugs that must be in them as I was being assaulted by flying ones, as it was.

I walked back to the car and left. I didn’t get very far as I stopped again on the other side of the island. There was a poverty stricken fishing village….beautiful in its ravaged appearance. Vranjina is on the western slopes of what used to be the largest island in Lake Skadar. There has been a monastery here since the Middle Ages but, the establishment of a village only happened about 300 years ago when local fishermen bought the land from the Turks. Nearby clans took refuge here during several blood feuds and now the inhabitants are a mix of these….it’s interesting cultural dynamic.

 

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photo by: delsol67