Postcard From… Montenegro

Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels. If you would like to take part please get in touch – eluxton@hotmail.co.uk – I would love to hear from you!

This week I am really excited to feature a very beautiful, romantic story from Gunes Akdogan and Sandrine Chamussy. Gunes, a photographer from turkey, started out on a long term journey on the 2nd January this year.Sandrine, a nurse from France,began her travels in June 2011 and walked all the way from France to Serbia with two friends. Whilst staying in a commune in Rudnik, Serbia, Gunes and Sandrine met and fell in love. Since March, they have journeyed around The Balkans together, passing through five countries and travelling over 1,000km so far. Travelling on foot with around 5€ a day each to last them for another five months, they tend to camp or stay with hospitable locals. Such an inspiring story!

This week, Gunes has told me a little about their favourite country so far, Montenegro. You can read all about their adventures on either their English, French, or Turkish blogs, view videos on Youtube or Vimeo, and follow Gunes and Sandrine on Facebook or Twitter. I’ve included a selection of their incredible photos of Montenegro, but you can view more from the trip so far on Gunes’ Flickr feed.

Can you tell us a little about where you’ve been?

We travelled from Serbia to Macedonia on foot, passing through Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. All the places we passed were wonderful. Montenegro is little bit more special than other because of its nature.

All over Montenegro there is almost no industrial area. All the foot-passes and bike-trails are marked and mapped. It’s a small country but has lots of different landscapes. While we were walking, one day we were on a canyon, next day a valley, two days later a hill top etc… It’s like a natural amusement park. Whatever you like, you can easily find in Montenegro.

It’s really clean, nice and safe country. People are friendly and extremely helpful.

So did you have good weather for walking?

We passed through Montenegro between the end of March and June. The weather was wet. Almost all April was rainy and snowy in high altitudes.

What did you see and do?

We passed two canyons, The Piva and The Tara, which were great. Skodar Lake and it’s surroundings were also extremely wonderful. On Tara Canyon there is a wonderful bridge which is 172 meters above the river, with camping areas around.

Walking all the way from north to south and exploring the beauty of nature was all we did in Montenegro.

Do you have a highlight from Montenegro?

In the last week of March, after a week of walking in Bosnia & Herzegovina with sunny weather, shorts and t-shirts, we arrived to a small village in Montenegro, Mratinje on the 31st March. We woke up on the First of April with the heavy snow. It was like a joke for us. We decided to stay one more day in the same place to explore around and have a rest. We found an artificial lake without water and took a walk on the ground of a lake. It was fantastic. Bad weather caused us to have a very strange experience.

Where did you stay?

Mostly we stayed in a tent, wild camping. Sometimes people invited us to their homes and two times we stayed in hostel. Wild camping is easy and wonderful in Montenegro as it’s full of natural parks. Nobody disturbed us.

I don’t know much about Balkan food. Did you eat well in Montenegro?

In Montenegro the most popular food is smoked meat served with cheese. We were lucky that we walked around villages as we had a chance to taste home made food. The best area is also a very well known gastronomy trail between Danilovgrad and Cetinje. All along this route we had the chance to try delicious honey, smoked meat, cheese, palacinke (pancakes) and more.

An improvised trip like this one must leave a lot of room for things to go wrong. Do you have any funny stories?

In a village named Cevo, there is a man named Vuko. This man has a kind of local restaurant/cafeteria. We stayed there for four days, eating twice a day. After four days he asked us for 100 €. The next day when we left the village, we ate at another restaurant and paid just 3€ for the same plate. Afterwards, we learned that Vuko is very famous around Cevo for loving money!

Do you have any tips or advice for anyone headed to Montenegro?

In Summer, the Tara canyon is extremely nice for nature lovers. You have the option to camp, or stay in wooden houses. Go walking, fishing or rafting.

For the travellers who like history and seaside, a trip from Bar to Kotor can be nice. The best season is between June and September. The coastal areas are much more expensive than the East – don’t forget to bargain!

And finally, what is the most useful Montenegrin?

“Mozda” means “maybe” and “moze” means “can” or “can be” When people invited us in and offered us a drink “moze” worked a lot 🙂

NB – all photos belong to Gunes Akdogan, for more please check out his Flickr.

About Postcard From

Postcard From is a weekly interview feature, where I chat with a fellow blogger or travel lover about their latest trip. So far, this exciting feature has taken this blog to over one hundred countries and touched on every continent - even Antarctica! Get in touch to take part.

9 Comments

  1. Hi there! Thank you for your comment on my blog. I love this interview and I love the idea of walking around a country, or from France to Serbia for example. I am a recent convert to the joy of walking and I’ve taken to walking all over London (when I can) rather than taking public transport.

    But I also have a big place in my heart for the Balkans. I’m dying to visit Montenegro and Macedonia, and met loads of Montenegrins and Macedonians on Instagram. But it’s easy to fall in love with the Balkans – I fell in love with Serbia when I visited two years ago and am finally visiting Croatia and Bosnia in May. I can’t wait!

    Nice meeting you!

    • Wow, sounds like you have as many big plans as I do! I’d never even thought about the Balkans until I saw Gunes’ photos – it looks so beautiful!

      Thanks for visiting, nice to meet you too!

    • Balkans is such a nice piece of the world that is so friendly, safe and beautiful. we’re in Antigua island now but still thinking about our travel in Balkans.

  2. Hmmm. Wild camping. Reminds me of sleeping in a field next to the UHaul truck when I was moving. I was about 20 years old then. I prefer a few luxuries these days, such as roof and bathroom facilities. But, that let to living in a log cabin in the woods. Enjoy your adventures.

    • I have to admit, the idea of wild camping both scares and intrigues me in equal measure. Hopefully I will try it one day, although not sure I have the stamina for a whole year of it!

    • Wild camping is always my favourite. even some days I am dying to have a hostel room 🙂
      actually it doesn’t matter where you stay during traveling. the point is the road itself 🙂

  3. It was hard to leave the Balkans for us. Wonderful area on earth. Thanks for your kind comments.
    Wild camping is nice and we were lucky to find bath and place to wash our clothes 😀 Any kind of traveling is cool. No matter if you walk or travel by cruise ships.

    • I agree Gunes, what’s important is getting out there and travelling! Sometimes I put myself down for staying in hotels on recent trips, which I don’t consider ‘real’ travelling – but as long as you’re seeing the world that’s all that matters. Definitely want to try wild camping sometime, perhaps somewhere a bit warmer though!

      Thanks so much for taking part, I think this is my favourite story in the Postcard feature so far!

      Best of luck on your adventures 🙂

  4. Pingback: Postcard From… Almost Everywhere! | emilyluxton

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