The dolphin-shaped Lake Skadar marks the border between Montenegro and Albania. Simply put, this is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, and it is drastically different on one side of the border than it is on the other. During my own trip, I was lucky enough to be able to visit this lake in both the national park on the Montenegrin side and in the area just outside the Albanian city of Shkodër, and it was difficult to believe I was looking at the same area of water in both instances.
On the Montenegrin side, Lake Skadar is a managed wildlife reserve set in an incredibly well-preserved natural environment consisting of marshes, forests and meandering streams and rivers and which provides a home to more than 250 different species of birds. On the Albanian side, by contrast, there is no national park, and the shores of the lake have been absolutely ruined by the presence of all kinds of litter and rubbish, which lies floating on the surface of the water. This gets you thinking about the role wildlife and nature reserves play and the importance of preserving and managing natural areas in this way.