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Montenegro Part One

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

We recently got back from a 10 day trip to Montenegro. Why Montenegro?

Well James Bond has a lot to answer for! Watching Casino Royale a few years ago.. Bond is seen sipping champagne travelling on a bullet train through Montenegro. He was infact in Croatia! The film director had hoped to shoot in Montenegro, but due to some logistics he had decided that it wouldn't work. However, writing that nation into the script was a huge favour to the little country. It was now on the map! I fell in love with "Montenegro" and started googling more about it. Very similar to Croatia but less touristy. From then on it was an intriguing destination on the top of my list. My husband and I both turned the magic 50 this year and friends and family very generously gave us some funds to go towards a trip of a life time of our choosing. Malta and Portugal were also possiblities, but Montenegro won out!

Wow what a place! Stunning natural beauty. Huge Mountains (the Black Mountains) surround every vista. Its a place of lakes and rivers and it sits on the Adriatic Coast. We found accommodation and food very reasonable, good quality and large, fresh portions.

The people are friendly and many speak good English. The roads were super - and no issues.

The Montenegrins don't pay attention to the speed limits ( which is quite slow). Everyone typically slows down at the entrance and exit points of the cities - where the police patrol is.

Everywhere we went the local dogs and cats were friendly and well kept - it seems although most of them are strays - they are part owned or taken care of by the community at large.

Our trip started in Podgorica the Capital. We got a hire car (already paid for before we arrived) but that did not mean it was any faster in aquiring it - we waited a good hour or so before we had the keys. Note to selves: this is not Britain, take a chill pill, it will all work out eventually ...

We then went to Cetinje (the old capital) for 3 days. Museums - art galleries - old embassy buildings - the architecture alluding to a bygone era when it was the political Capital.

Then we visited some friends in the North in Nikšić for lunch and drove back down to Virpazar which is a little village by Lake Skodar. We had a little cabin in the mountains for 3

days during which we did a Lake tour and drove to the smaller village of Gordinje.

This little village has many little hacienda style homes. We since learned that most of them advertise their spare room for tourists, will offer "domestic" food, along with their home made honey, wine and brandy. Fish is caught fresh from the river or lake. Wild pig is hunted regularly. The sounds of wolf packs can be heard at night, along with the chirping of crickets.

Then we journeyed to Kotor and stayed within the old city walls. It is a port city famous for its cats! With a strong Venician influence, the buildings all maintain that historic look. On days the cruise ships arrive, the little town feels a bit overrun with tourists (even though we are counted as some of them!) it was a relief when the ships left the port again! Kotor is known as the City of Cats from when the sailors employed them to keep on top of the rat and mice population. Now they are a symbol of Kotor and many of the souvenir shops have cat themed items. The cats enjoy the attention from tourists and they are well taken care of by the local community.

After a few days we drove around the bay to Hercig Novi and enjoyed sunbathing and swimming at a little stretch of pebbly beach looking out on the Adriatic Sea. Not much English to be heard, mostly locals and French and German. We returned to Cetinje for another night before flying out of Podgorica. Our last night we had the privaledge of meeting the widow of a local artist we had read about before our trip began. My next blog post will go into more detail about the prolific art community within the country, and more about the culture we discovered.

The food was amazing! Our first host joked that its not much help to vegetarians here, as most of the dishes are meat and cheese. But to be fair the fresh produce was very good.

He also joked that he offers the traditional little glass of brandy to his guests "because then the rooms will look much better!" ...the accommodation was fine, although the "kitchen equipment" was quite sparse in 2 out of the 3 locations - The beds were comfortable and bathrooms absolutely fine at £30 a night for the two of us.

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