Monday, July 28, 2008

MONTENEGRO - the world's newest nation

The view of Kotor from the fortress up in the mountains

I decided that I wanted to visit Kotor, Montenegro. It is nestled in Europe's deepest fjord. An old walled town with brooding mountains towering over it, Kotor is picturesque. And besides, it's not everyday that you get to visit the world's newest nation.

Day 1 in Kotor
I said goodbye to Joy and Otto, and set off on my own once again. I took a 3 hour bus ride from Dubrovnik, leaving Croatia and entering Montenegro, then switched to a local bus for another 1.5 hour ride into town. Here, I met 3 really nice Danes from Copenhagen on holiday. Seeing that we both shared a common interest in Copenhagen and got along well, the Danes took me in and we ended up room hunting together. After being showed a sketch place by an old man tout at the bus station, we walked 5 min to town and scoured for tourist agents. Luckily an agent found us a room ... in this lady's apt. She spoke no English. It was literally a local experience We walked through her dining room, kitchen to see our small room which she quickly tossed clothes away into the corner and magically created 4 sleeping places For 10 Euro a night, it will do.

Meandering around the town.

It was great to just walk around town Even though it was really tiny, we got endlessly lost and went in circles. But the first thing we did was throw on our swimsuits and head to the water to cool off. We found the docks where all the local kids were jumping off and joined them . In the backdrop was a once glamorous now war-strickened building. While Dubrovnik has masked it's history, it is still evident here in Montenegro.A war-torn building.

Outside of the old-town, things definitely looked like they suffered Even within the walls, you can see some of the remaining destruction from the former Yugoslavia nation.

The three crazy Danes.

We climbed up on the top of the fortress for spectacular views, and they whipped out their sandwich making assembly. Nicolas, Phil and sorry, I forgot the name of the third. We had a lot of fun together the first day, exploring, playing cards (which I am awful at) and checking out the night scene of the town.

DAY 2 in Kotor
Now I planned this day on being a "me" day to just relax, read, journal and catch up on internet. It didn't go as planned. It was anything but only "me" and there are only 5 public computers for the whole town.

SO, here goes the second day, one of the most interesting ones in my travels. I bid farewell to theI Danes who are headed off to the mountains, and I go on a room hunt again . It proves difficult being a single person. After an hour of searching, the travel agent meets her friend on the street who knows of an old lady who has a room for females only. So, this guy takes me to the old lady's house. She is super friendly, and knows no english of course, but the room is clean, available and only 12 Euros so I take it. Turns out that she is probably just lonely, her daughter is traveling for her job, and there appears to be no husband. She is a little overly-friendly, bordering TOO friendly. She offers me tea and fruit and gives me a bug hug and kiss every time I come and leave.

Then this "nice" Montenegrin guy who hooked me up with the room asks me out for a drink. Um, no thank you, I don't drink. He is persistent and after we keep running into each other in the small town, I agree. We sit down and have Fanta. It's awkard. He tries boldly to hit on me, unsuccessfully of course. Eastern Europeans are pretty straight forward. Luckily, two Swedes he befriended see him and join us. Whew. The Swedes, Erica and Jonas, are really sweet. Erica and I hit it off when I find out she is a dancer training in Stockholm. So I spend the day with the Swedes, and off and on with the Montenegrin. It was interesting to get his perspective as he was the last generation to swear allegiance to Tito.The view from the beach where I sat with Erica and Jonas and relaxed and chatted about everything from dance to culture to media to Montenegro, Stockholm and New York.

Just one of the many wonderful views in town.

I had a great time in Montenegro! I met wonderful people and it was interesting to see this little town of Kotor and how it is dealing with the present and the past. I felt like I got a glimpse into the lives here thanks to the "intimate" rooming situations and the native Kotor guy. And it was also very relaxing to just be embedded within the protective mountains and calmed by the water views. What a crazy time!

1 comment:

janek said...

Be careful out there! But it sounds like you've got it well in hand. Way to take on Montenegro!