…and some amazing beaches, towns and villages in between. We keep exploring Montenegro and meet the locals.
A week and a half passed since we left Berlin and were on a way to the Caucasus with our dear Land Rover Defender Gnu. In the morning of the tenth day, we were in Montenegro, on a mountain road overlooking the Bay of Kotor. Soon we were spotted by a local guy. He suggested that we could refill our water from his well – we felt relieved as we had not been quite sure if the villagers did object to our car being parked almost in the middle of their road for a night or not. The first Montenegrins we encountered embodied the world famous Balkan hospitality and friendliness.
Driving down the mountain serpentine to the Bay of Kotor, we tried to solve a dilemma: should we take the 4,50 EUR ferry to the other side of the bay, or drive along its coast road, which is supposedly really picturesque. We didn’t spot any unique beauty in the Bay of Kotor the day before, but we were afraid that it did actually exist and we were going to miss out on it. On the other hand, google maps and the internet informed us that we would save one hour or even two if we took that ferry. Later we figured out why – the road on the coast was but a giant traffic jam.
The internet also told of picturesque locations in the mountains near the town of Kotor and we decided to check it out. Finding a parking spot is really a tedious business there, our last choice was to park by a group of cars which had tickets for fines on their windshields and “borrow” one of those tickets for the duration of our stay. We thought if the police showed up they would think they had already fined our Gnu and leave it alone. And then maybe write another fine for the car we borrowed the ticket from.
Kotor turned out to be quite nice, but I guess its spectacular location can only really be appreciated from the sea. A good reason to come back by water someday!
Because of the traffic and the parking situation in Kotor we skipped all other towns on the coast and drove through to the Montenegrin gem – Sveti Stefan, an island and a medieval town. The beautiful beaches of Sveti Stefan were empty – as everybody who is interested in beaches goes to Croatia and sleeps in their caravan… Pulling your leg, my dear reader! The empty beaches were some kind of private VIP ones with an entrance fee of 100 euros – really! The whole proletariat (including us) gathered on the south side of the town on the one free-to-use beach.
But alas, Sveti Stefan itself is also somehow private and could be visited only with a guided tour for 20 EUR. I am still wondering whether a single person bought the whole island or it was a business idea from the community to get money and avoid crowds like one might expect to see during a 1st of May demonstration – in that case, it worked brilliantly.
The next town we went to, Cetinje, is situated higher in the mountains and was nothing like the coastal towns – with wide streets, free parking spots everywhere, quite devoid of people, a bit too chilly and everything was cheap. Some art schools are based in Cetinje and the town squares and parks are turned into exhibition spaces. It is like having Münster Skulptur Projekte Exhibition, but all year around.
We dined at Sentje, left the town in the afternoon and started descending towards Lake Skadar. We found the picturesque village of Rijeka Crnojevića on our way. It was like a village in the mountains ought to be from my point of view – not too perfectly maintained and charming in its imperfection. So we sat on its smelly river bank in the rays of a setting sun, cracked open our beers and gazed at the queer old houses that spat out water into the river from time to time.
Only after some time, I realized how many places we’ve actually been to in one day: Bay of Kotor, the town of Kotor, Sveti Stefan, Setinje, Rijeka Crnojevića and Lake Skadar. Further on, all these places are so amazing, so different but still within a short driving distance.
I felt like I could stay in Montenegro much longer and that I don’t want to leave this wonderful country.