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Montenegro - a brand spanking new country

Written on: Sunday June 8th, 2008

A journal entry from: Trails in 2008

Montenegro has recently split from Serbia to earn the title of the newest country.  We started at the coastal town of Kotor, which has lots of big flashy yachts in the harbour and a cool castle built into the top of the hill.  Its pretty easy to find accommodation in Montenegro - thereīs always a group of locals, generally old women, to nab you when you get off the bus to stay at their house.  We were approached by a toothless wrinkled lady in black who had enough english to tell us she lived 2 minutes away, and we could take a look at her place obligation free.  So we got there but we were too polite to then say "no, we donīt want to stay at your crusty, stale-smoke-infused place" so her loungeroom became our bedroom for two nights.  We considered it an anthropolical adventure...  the bathroom weirdly had no sink, i suppose they just forgot to put one in, and the kitchen sink was outside.  We didnīt spot the husband but could hear him hacking away from those smokes.  She was a lovely old lady, and when she saw me walking to the bathroom barefoot was horrified and promptly whipped off her slippers and forced me to put them on!  It was not pleasant but the thought was there.  We met a couple of english guys on the bus leaving Kotor and shared accommodation tales - they at least had their own bedroom but her house stunk of wee.

We hired a car for a day which stretched the budget at 50 euros.  A 2 hour bus ride costs about 4 euro so its much cheaper to get the bus but the car was worth it to get up into the hills and appreciate the view of the coastline, and drive along the coast which looks like nzīs marlborough sounds complete with mussel farms.  We drove to the historic capital of Cetinje, and to the church which has John the Baptists hand and a splinter from the cross.  Unfortunately they were well guarded by Greek Orthodox priests in black dresses, pillbox hats and white santa beards, so we didnīt get a peek.

Montenegro is quite an expensive place, and not particularly big, so we only stayed a few days.  They serve a lot of seafood, and donīt really have any national dishes except a delicious apple pastry for breakfast.  They consider italian food their national food, and make a very good icecream.