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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Sinisa's DreamPosted Friday, August 5, 2011, at 11:03 AM
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Here nature rules, with extraordinary beauty from the 100+ mile Adriatic coast to the Dinaric Alps. It is bordered by Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Serbia and Kosovo (guess this week's border skirmish didn't make it to your TV).
The distinct Adriatic coastal zone, central lowland plain, and inland mountains burst with diversity, with over nearly 3,200 plant species, 500 more than Arkansas. Wild pomegranate and figs pepper the coastal range while endemic alpine wildflowers blanket the north.
This place is karst with a capital 'K." The mountains are largely dolomite and limestone, rising to more than 6,000 feet. Springs feed waterfalls, rivers, canyons and lakes. The Tara River, with its sapphire gem water, carves Europe's deepest canyon. Plav Lake, a cold, deep spring-fed lake, has an endemic trout species -- the record trout snagged here weighed more than 90 lbs.
Last Friday, my colleague, Boris Spalevic, drove me to visit his friend, Sinisa Novakovic, in a small katun (village) Niksin Kiljan, at the geographical center of Montenegro, in mountains known as the Mala Lukavica. In a place like this I talk to my camera like it's a beloved pet.
Sinisa likes to come up here and hang out at the ruins of his ancestral grandfather's home (the one who lived here 500 years ago).
The katun, ancient home of Niksa and his clansmen, has been settled for 1,000 years. While camping here a few years ago Sinisa had a vision in a dream to build a small six room, off-the-grid hotel at the site. The hotel, to open next year, will be called "Moj San" -- My Dream.
There are 365 springs in the katun, most with delicious potable sweet water. Wow, I got to satiate my thirst from a spring! Fifty families live (or visit) here seasonally. They want to develop tourism.
I told them about Eureka Springs, and that people once came to Eureka to drink the healing waters. The five-mile-long rough rock, SUV-only road, after an hour's drive on single lane pavement from the nearest town, invites only the determined tourist.
Sinisa's ancestors are keeping watch.
Steven Foster is a world renowned botanical photographer. He has published many books, including 2 for National Geographic
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