Holly and I set off on our journey to Montenegro at another unsociable hour and arrived in Tivat at half past 10 on Monday morning. Glorious sunshine greeted us hurray! It’s been one of the most fun and wonderful weeks of all my travels and it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ll start with the people…
Hostel Anton is a very special hostel with a unique atmosphere and even more unique people. People come and go but many of the people we met live there. Had we not been offered red wine, which we all know I cannot resist, we may never have met such wonderful friends. We spent the evening celebrating a Russian girl’s 23rd birthday and listening to the repetitive tales of a seemingly always drunk Russian man who slept in the hostel lobby. He insisted on speaking to us in Russian despite the language barrier and insistently told me I couldn’t possibly be British because all British women are ugly and stupid (there’s a compliment in there somewhere). Here’s a poor quality photo from the night:
It was a great evening, and these guys are hilarious, crazy, interesting individuals. Alexa and Lazar- you’re the best and only Montenegrin people I know and now want to know. Francs, you’re my favourite hostel boy and I’m glad I added you on facebook.
The next day we met Matthijs, from Holland. We raised a kitten that had been rejected from her mother in our dorm room for a night and bonded as a result. Apparently she’s thriving and we receive regular updates.
Remember to always wear suncream Matthijs.
So what did we actually do in Montenegro? Well, Holly had her very first hike in real hiking boots. We hiked to the abandoned village Gornja Lastva and let our active imaginations run wild with tales of ghosts. It went a bit far and I ended up too scared to enter the houses for fear of ghost children from times gone by. The village is deserted and it’s beautiful but eerie. Weirdly a man in a yellow truck was driving up and down the same road with no purpose other than to salute us as he went past. We named him Niko Markovitz, ghost of Gornja Lastva.
Holly and I went to Budva when we were far too hungover and spent the whole time complaining about the cloud coverage and general lack of sleep etc. In it’s defence it has a lovely beach but it’s not Kotor. It also has the most bizarre petting zoo attached to the bus station where a white peacock, a swan, a rabbit and two deer live.
Kotor is amazing. The old town is definitely to be appreciated after half past 4 when the cruise ships leave. If you can be bothered, hike up the fortress and enjoy this:
On the way down I saw a cat and a snake having a fight.
We were lucky to be joined by Jonny for the time we were in Kotor and the three of us had a sleep deprived but enjoyable three days. We had a room mate who we named Shaun (turns out he was called Ben) and my God did he snore. I’ve never known anything like it. Holly tried many tactics, huffing, ringing herself, shining a torch on him, shouting at him, banging doors…but he never stopped. It was awful.
After one sleepless night we went on a tour around Lovćen National Park and Lake Skadar. The tour guide Oggy was a legend but we had a strained relationship due to my tired mood and his lack of understanding about my sense of humour. We saw some incredible landscapes:
At one point we thought we had lost one member of our group, a girl from Hong Kong. We went back to the bus to find her singing karaoke to the driver on the bus microphone. This is one of the strangest things I’ve experienced. She then sung us a Japanese song before apparently using up all her energy and not speaking again for the rest of the day.
The Montenegrin roads are an interesting concept. One day our bus got stuck so we all had to get out and walk for a bit until it could get along the road. Another time the driver of another car couldn’t reverse so the bus driver got out and drove the other person’s car and someone else just drove the bus for a bit. Then there are these tunnels controlled by traffic lights but no one pays attention to them and it’s like a game of ‘chicken’.
Of course we saw lots of beautiful sunsets:
And finally…today is my birthday! I spent the start of my birthday in a storm dancing on the streets of Kotor. Then we had a bellini breakfast and a cheese platter. We got a taxi to Tivat and spent the afternoon getting blown away on the beach with Holly, Matthijs, Francisco and the hostel dog. Then I got the bus to Podgorica and had to sit next to a fat man who was up in my personal space for two hours. After that the hostel we were staying in apparently no roof anymore (course) so we have the family apartment to sleep in in a residential back street of Podgorica. Tomorrow…Sarajevo!
To conclude, go to Montenegro because it’s beautiful, cheap and easy to get around. I love it here. The weather changes by the minute and every day’s description should be “sunny with partial clouds, could rain, could be very windy and too hot but also cold.”
Ps. Holly Baldwin I love you and I’ll miss you very much. Thank you for being my travel buddy and my best friend. I hope one day they have the lemon beer they promise on the menu.