We left Hungary after 3 days on an overnight train to Beograd (Serbia). Due to time restraints and due to the fact that we wanted to spend quite a bit of time in Montenegro, this was just a stopover. We had about 3 hours in the train station in Belgrad before our train to Bar (Montenegro). This was scheduled to be an 8 hour train ride, but we had read online through reviews of the train service that this service rarely ever ran to schedule, and this day was no exception! The train was incredibly hot (about 38 degrees in the carriages!!), there was air con but it was pretty minimal and the train broke down for about an hour during the trip! What was meant to be an 8 hour trip turned into a 13 hour day of hot, cramped, sweaty travelling! The highlight of this journey was that we met a really nice local Montenegrian guy named Milan. He’s training to be a doctor and was on his way home from Serbia to Bar for a holiday. He gave us heaps of great information about Bar, sights and what to do, and even gave us a lift to our hostel at 1am after all the delays!
After a much needed night of rest, Matt and I got up and went down the beach. This was about a 5 min walk from where we were staying, and was the perfect way to spend the day as it was 36 degrees that day and there wasn’t much else we could do in that heat! We rented sun loungers at the beach for the day, never went further than from the lounger to the water for cooling off, and of course had some pivo at the beach from one of the many beach pubs scattered around the place. The only downside of this awesome day was the sea urchin (Kina) I stood on while swimming and ended up with a spine in my toe. Fortunately Matt got it out so no drama, but they can be pretty bad for infections!
That evening we caught up with Milan again, he picked us up and took us out for dinner and drinks to a place called Sutomore which is basically party central just north of Bar. It was a Friday night so pretty pumping, I think the highlight for the guys were all the Serbian women there on holiday. They don’t wear a whole lot, and are pretty stunning!! We had an amazing seafood dinner with fish, stuffed squid cases, octopus and prawns etc. We sat right next to the sea and it was all caught fresh that day – divine!
The following day we went via bus to Queens beach. This is a tourist recommendation and its only accessible by boat which makes it pretty popular. It reminded me a bit of New Chums beach in the Coromandel, aside from the fact that it was totally PACKED with people and the beaches in Montenegro are stony beaches, not really sandy. A bit too overcrowded for my liking, but a nice outing and something a bit different!. After this we caught the bus to ‘Stari Bar’, AKA ‘Old Bar’. This used to be the town of Bar, but it was moved to where it currently is, so the Stari Bar is now old ruins. A nice place to get lost for a few hours, and I did have a couple of moments of being in the ‘Labyrinth’ movie, I think I would never got out if it wasn’t for Matts keen sense of direction!
We caught the bus that afternoon to Kotor, another place that was highly recommended by a few people. Kotor is a beautiful old town set within big stone walls (kind of like walking into a big castle complex) built on the side of an inland sea. The town is on the water but is surrounded by big rocky cliffs on all sides so is sheltered from any nasty weather or rough seas. It’s a tourist destination, but not as big as some of the other places in Montenegro like Budva so was the perfect mix of relaxation and nightlife for us! We stayed in a big hostel there and met loads of other travellers – had a few boozy nights out with new friends from France, USA, Norway, Holland, pretty much a mixed bag! We stayed in Kotor for 4 days, swam all day to cool off, climbed up to the fortress on the side of the cliff, took a day trip to Perast to the beach there, and generally relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine! It was truly a stunning place and one I would highly recommend to travellers heading that way! Matt bought a pimping white suit for 10 Euros so this became the theme suit of the trip, and it appeared on several occasions – very nice!!
We left Kotor and took a bus to Herceg Novi (the central bus station for getting in and out of Montenegro to Croatia), and took a bus for 5 hours north to a national park called Durmitor (the town there is called Zablijak). This is usually popular in winter for snow sports but the national park has the famous ‘Black Lakes’, and a nice hiking trail so we decided to do that for a few days. After some initial hiccups with our accommodation, we found somewhere to stay and did a hike around the lakes for ½ a day. Aside from that there wasn’t a whole lot to do in Zablijak so we had some down time, rested, detoxed a bit and geared up for our trip to Croatia. As Durmitor was a lot further north than Bar and Kotor, the temperature was significantly cooler and the pants and jacket made a brief re-appearance for a few days (10-15 degrees compared to the 30-35 we were used to!).