After passing through the fist couple of countries, Montenegro was the first country we really visited on our journey. We got lost several times, but we had left the main roads on purpose.
Staying in a country for nine days, driving on the tiniest back roads and the need to organize the daily life en route lead to interesting encounters with locals. Besides all the friendly greeting shepherds, farmers, kids and their mothers, we met different people on our way through Montenegro. We were surprised about their hospitality – and sometimes their German language skills! Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos with them. But we will work on that!
Unexpected German and the Montenegrin history first-hand
We met Anna, the lovely lady who runs Summit Tourist Agency in Zabljak. We just came by her office (a small wooden hut) to ask for a rafting tour. And so we talked in English. When we both spoke German to each other about the possible options, Anna interrupted us in perfect German: “You speak German? That would have made it way easier.” Then she told us about her time in Germany, when she was working for Neckermann travel agency. We talked about the touristic heydays of Montenegro. We felt her depression about the development in her country, the growing difference between rich and poor. She has three children, all of them well educated but two of them unemployed. We learned a lot about the Montenegrin history during the 30 minutes in her office. She was the one who brought light into the question: Why does Montenegro use the Euro as currency but is not a member of the EU? Read the answer in the essentials about Montenegro.
Whoever is interested in a great rafting tour and/or a nice chat with valuable tips for some hidden spots in Montenegro, go to Zabljak and visit Anna’s agency.
Rural life and a lot of Rakija
Talking about the rafting tour, we have to tell you the story about the end of this rafting trip. After sharing our raft with a group of Finnish boys in the morning, we spent the afternoon alone with our guide Vesko. The Finnish guys had only booked a half-day trip. After we had arrived at the destination of this amazing tour, a driver picked us up and we drove back to the base camp. Driving this stretch of road almost every day during summer, our two companions had clearly made some friends along the way. So we stopped at a house. It was somewhere in the mountains, a farmer, his wife and their son live there; and many chickens. We sat down at a table under a tree – and the Rakija-session began. We tried to stick to Vesko’s drinking speed. It was important to leave a sip in the glass, not too much to seem impolite, and not tot little. The farmer just filled our glasses, every time they were more than half empty. Our Montenegrin was limited and our “No, thank you” and “Hvala” were not successful. At the end, we stopped counting the shots. The rest of the drive (we’re still pretty proud of our driver who did not even have a single shot but had the usual Balkan driving style) was quite funny and we fell asleep right after returning to our campsite.
Meeting the most hospitable “laundress”
Our encounter with Edita was less on the Rakija, but more on the coffee side. We were driving through Podgorica, looking for a laundry service. Not too complicated in a capital, we thought. But the first one we found was a chemical laundry for special purposes. After a second look online, we tried the next one with less hope. But when Heiner walked into the small store in the middle of a residential area, he ran into the owner. Edita Klein is a middle-aged lady who speaks German perfectly. She was born in Serbia but has lived in Montenegro for a long time. She was a tourist guide in her younger years, then opened two chemical laundries, and just invited us for coffee while her friendly staff washed our clothes. We chatted for a while, received tips for our trip, until Edita had to do some business again and left us with a big smile and clean clothes.
Ending the trip on the beach – and with Rakija
On our last day in Montenegro, we really wanted to camp somewhere on the beach. We drove around but could not find a campground. So we decided to enter a small area next to a wetland. Hoping that we could find a hidden space for the night, there. Going down to the beach, we met a retired couple. The lady welcomed us in good German, telling us, the road leads to their house and we are invited to have a look. We thanked them while they continued their afternoon walk. On our GPS, we saw another small street directly heading to the beach. We went down there and met the couple again. They immediately said, we should just camp there right at the beach. Nobody would care. It was a great spot. During the evening, some walkers came by, greeted and passed us. And we enjoyed the sea, the sunset and a relaxing night. The next morning, Milanka and Vesko, the couple from the day before, came by. Milanka had a swim and then they invited for coffee. The coffee was accompanied by Rakija (it was still way before 10 am) and we talked about their country, their family and their life. They are spending half of their time in Frankfurt and the other half in Montenegro. Milanka was really welcoming, Vesko seemed to be a little bit grumpy, but warmed up and was actually pretty funny. It was a great farewell from Montenegro with all its friendly people.
Continue reading our Montenegro travel guide!