Day 180: Blazing through Montenegro

One of the coastal villages we passed by on the Montenegran coast

Really wasn’t much to see in Montenegro. Not one to judge as we only stayed in Kotor for a night and quickly made our way across the Albanian border. May have discovered more if we had our own vehicle and stayed a little while longer, but from our bus ride along the Montenegran coast, passing the main highlights of the country, I was glad we didn’t waste more time here.

Boats & yachts docked at Kotor’s bay
Montenegro felt to me like a try-hard wannabe cousin of Croatia – clearly less developed yet charging similarly high prices. Kotor is a 1:20 miniature of Dubrovnik, charming in its own right but no where comparable to the Croatian jewel. Along the coast we passed Budva and Bar, both heavily developed beach resorts with nothing of cultural interest besides sand and sun. That’s not to say the coastline isn’t interesting – it’s beautiful like the rest of the Adriatic and Sveti Stefan, a picturesque little island, provides an iconic image of Montenegro.

Picturesque island of Sveti Stefan

Perhaps my rather lackluster impression of this country is related to one of my first interactions with a Montenegran – the old lady who wanted to charge us €30 for her claustrophobic “apartment” which was really just a windowless room in an old house with low ceilings and the tiniest dysfunctional “kitchen”. We paid the same price for a proper apartment 5 times the size of this one, with sea view in Dubrovnik, a city that commands a premium. When the old lady realized I was Chinese, her face shriveled up like a rotten plum. She was definitely unhappy because we “cook food with many spices” and her kitchen isn’t ventilated. I thought to myself, that “kitchen” of yours is only equipped with a mini electric stove that should be retired to a museum… it is far too weak to even qualify for cooking Chinese food!!

Last night Kotor also held a carnival…. it was probably the lamest street party I have ever attended.

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  1. ace says:

    boo to the lady who wanted to rip you off!

  2. Anke says:

    hm, it´s a pity how less enjoyable places can become as soon as they try to open up for tourism. Same here in South America: Where there isn´t much tourism yet, people are open, friendly, amazingly hospitable and just interested in you. Once the places start to open up for tourism, people tend to be fixed on money instead. Haven´t been to the coast in Montenegro, but when I drove through the mountains some years ago I loved the landscape – and everybody waved happily at us. Not much tourism inland back then…

  3. 山 him says:

    Anke: couldn't agree more!!! that's what we've come to realise as well.. I was first hit with the same thought after seeing Croatia and how touristy it has become since my first visit, and it was kind of sad. Then we came to Albania, a land that is still far from being shaped by tourism, and it feels so so so genuine – the people are amazingly kind and friendly and take a real interest in who you are, where you come from!

  4. Anonymous says:

    u definitely did not do justiuce to Montenegro guys
    I have been there few times, and yes, its true there are many issues, however, dont judge whole country based on bad day with old granny..

    e.g. what u do not know you have missed:
    deepest canyon in the Europe-River tara, amazing nature and fantastic rafting spot…

    Biogradska Gora, one of two last prehistoric forests in Europe…national park Durmitor and its pristine glacier lakes…

    Perast – wonderfull little city in Boka Bay, which stunned great poet Lord Byron, in front of it small church on artifical island which was made by locals by throwing in stones into water for 200 years!!
    etc etc

    Skadarsko Lake, largest lake in sout east Europe, where u can spend day among Pelikans…

    on top i can not imagine u describe Kotor the way u did… Kotor is one of the most beatifull cities in mediterranean – yes, u could say like small Dubrovnik – but is estetics about size or estetics?


  5. 山 him says:

    Thanks for the tips my friend! Will keep in mind if I ever revisit MN but for now there are just too many other places with rivers, canyons and lakes that are topping our list of "to see"!

    re: Kotor, these are just my personal feelings. the interesting thing abt travel is it really preaches the saying "to each his own"; everybody almost always have different perspective to the places they visit. Aesthetics has nothing to do with size – Dubrovnik trumps Kotor in many ways but surely not because it is bigger.

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