Exploring Sinjajevina: a wonderful day in Krnja Jela
It has been my wish to explore the mountain plateau of Sinjajevina for a long time, but I knew that it would not be easy to realize such an idea, as you need a 4×4 to discover this huge mountain expanse in the heart of Montenegro. But one of these days we were invited by friends to visit Krnja Jela, a village with around one hundred inhabitants on the western side of the plateau. Our friends had decided to turn back to their roots and are now building a weekend house on the land that had been owned by their family through many generations.
Traveling by camper, we took the road to Kolašin and turned left in Mioska, at the upper end of the Morača Canyon, in the direction of Šavnik. This curvy road offers breathtaking views and leads through a pristine mountain scenery. We passed the Semolj Pass (1536 m) – the watershed between the Danube and Adriatic Sea – and opposite to Dragovića Polje we turned right on a very narrow and curvy asphalt road climbing steeply towards Krnja Jela. Of course, there was no signpost! It was not easy to reach the village, and in particular the property of our friends, which was situated deep in the forest. But the place itself was like a fairy tale! Green pastures, huge beech trees, a water spring and an old abandoned stone house hidden among the trees … The air was clean and fresh and the silence was absolute. What a difference with Podgorica – at a distance of 85 km only!
Our hospitable hosts served a excellent meal of grilled meat, home-made bread and white “lisnati” cheese that is typical for this region. After lunch we got the opportunity to explore Krnja Jela and the western part of Sinjajevina.Just a few facts about Sinjajevina: this mountain plateau (also called Sinjavina) is situated at an average altitude of 1600 m above sea level, with several peaks up to 2277 m (Babin Zub). Its relief is rolling, due to glacial activity. The massif is almost 50 km long and 15 km wide and is specific by its karst fields and grassy slopes. There are two lakes and numerous ponds, which are used by livestock and wildlife. The area is ideal for mountain biking and hiking and, of course, for jeep safaris. Crossing over Sinjajevina in the winter period on skis or snowshoes is also a unique experience!
Our first encounter with the beauties of Sinjajevina was shocking. The vast plateau, the untouched nature and the impressive mountain peaks under the cloudy sky made us feel very humble. Such places always remind me of the fact that we are just a tiny part of nature and nothing else …
We made a walking tour over the rolling pastures. The new church of Krnja Jela looked quite picturesque in the afternoon sun. A lonely ram was curiously looking at us. Huts and houses were scattered all over the plateau and the scenery, with high mountains in the background, was just magnificent.
Unfortunately, we had to go back to Podgorica. But I am sure that we will be back next summer for a long biking tour all over the plateau!
29/08/2013 by Marianne van Twillert