This is a postcard sent to me from France! What is shown is Lake Skadar, located in Montenegro, a small country in southeast Europe that borders the Adriatic Sea. Lake Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula, and it sits very close to the Adriatic Sea (BTW, the Adriatic Sea is between Italy and the Balkans, just to give some reference). Lake Skadar is a lesser known area, and for that reason it is largely untouched by tourism. The area is known for its unhurried lifestyle, one that’s slow and simple especially compared to the beaches nearby. You can boat, swim, cycle, taste wine, and explore the surrounding nature, ruins and monasteries, all in a laidback stride (or pedal… or paddle… or sip… you get the gist.) Probably the most notable bit of coolness would be the endemic species, particularly with fish, birds and flowers. As I mentioned in my post about Lake Ohrid in Macedonia (which is a bit coincidental since the Drin River links Lake Skadar to Lake Ohrid), “endemic” means native to that area, and only that area. So, between 20% and 30% of the lake’s fish species are endemic. Lake Skadar is considered to be the largest bird reserve in Europe, and you can find about 270 different bird species, including some of the last birds in the continent, like the Dalmatian pelican and the pygmy cormorant. So if you’re a bird-watcher, don’t expect to leave Lake Skadar too soon after arriving. Speaking of not being able to leave the lake, here’s a fun fact: the lake houses an islet by the name of Grmožur, where the ruins of a fortress turned prison sit. This is Montenegro’s version of Alcatraz! This prison was where many serious offenders (and later political prisoners) were sent to do their time. It’s said that the ones that were sent there were bad swimmers, and with no boats on the island, it was theoretically impossible for them to escape. If they did, then their assigned guard had to serve the rest of their sentence. One prisoner did escape, however, using a gate as a raft. His guard was elated to find that out… The ruins have since been taken over by birds. And they have no obligation to stay. Love this card and the stories behind it! Thank you so much for sending this beautiful postcard to me, Marianne!