Budva, our destination in Montenegro, has many nicknames: Balkan’s St Tropez and Montenigrin Miami to name a few of them. It was different from most of the other places we had been during the Europe Train Challenge, both in nature and in experiences. With Budva’s chill vibe and scorching heat, we soon found ourselves falling into the rhythm of the town, and it became ok that we didn’t do very much. The heat lay like a veil over the city during the day – everyone was at the beach or in the shade resting. We’re not the ”sunbathing and swimming” holiday-making types, so hanging out at the beaches and in the sun all day long is not really our (especially Nathan’s) idea of fun.
But if there is one thing these holiday makers are experts at, it’s knowing how to chill out and do nothing.
In places like this more than anywhere else – people forget about time and keeping track of must see and do attractions. You’re here to enjoy, to spoil yourself and let yourself do as much or as little of anything you like. So we walked and talked and sat and did nothing for a few days – just enjoying the ocean breeze and church bells which rang every half hour.
The Old Town of Budva was one of the cutest we’ve seen, and if we would have had more time we probably would have traveled around the the other old towns and beaches as well, but you know how it is with time at places like this – it just slips between your fingers, and before you know it – it’s gone. We weren’t the only backpackers influenced by the slow pace. Travelers here came to stay for a few days but ended up staying for weeks, only to leave when they started feeling bad for having stayed at the same spot for too long. This is where we met one of the funniest and craziest people ever: Julia.
Shortly after having met she sat down in the window and did an improv ”Tango singing performance” for us, and five minutes after that she had already scribbled down numbers of ex-boyfriends and artist friends we could get in touch with at our next destination in Belgrade. For some reason the travelers here were more social with each other than anywhere else we’d been. Maybe it was just random, or maybe it was the relaxed atmosphere, that Budva vibe which helped these travelers loosen up a bit. Whatever it was, I really enjoyed myself in Budva, and if it wasn’t for the Europe Train Challenge, it’s very likely that I would have ended up staying there much longer than we had intended.
Budva Montenegro has many nicknames: Balkan’s St Tropez and Montenigrin Miami are a few of them. Budva was different from most other places we had been during the Europe Train Challenge, both in nature and in experiences. The Old Town of Budva was one of the cutest we’ve seen, and we really wish we could have spent a few more days exploring the neighboring towns and beaches. We hope you enjoy our Budva video, Next stop Serbia and Sarajevo Bosnia!
Bosnia & Montenegro: Europe Train Challenge
This week we traveled further into the Balkans, and have noticed a difference with quite a few things compared to Western Europe. Countries This Week: Bosnia, Montenegro. We started the week by taking a night train from Zagreb to Sarajevo. The girl at the ticket office bursted into a full laugh when we asked for a bed compartment, as though that was the silliest thing she had heard … so we got a seat for 10hrs. After a long night train without much sleep we arrived in Sarajevo early the next morning. Sarajevo was from the beginning to end a place with mixed experiences.
It was a beautiful, but rough and severely damaged city. The old town was very cute and picturesque, but almost like an ”epic” bubble outside the rest of the city. When you walked through the city it was hard to believe that the war had ended 15 years ago, it seemed much more recent than that.
There were bullet holes in every building, rundown houses everywhere and even some that had collapsed by bombs but not been removed since. Everywhere you walked, the streets were full of holes and marks from mortar shell explosions (something they today call ”Sarajevo roses”). It seemed to us as though the people are trying to move on, but everywhere around them are scars and leftovers which make it difficult for them to leave the past behind and move forward. The city and its people were rough on the outside, but their toughness and straight-forward manner was quite charming when you got used to it, and the mountainous nature in the Bosnian country-side was simply breath-taking!!! why is no-one talking about it?!
Montenegro, our second country this week – was a whole different experience. We went to Budva, a town with many nicknames: The Theatre City, Balkan’s St Tropez, Montenigrin Miami etc. It’s one of the touristic pearls of Montenegro – beautiful nature, sunny, and relaxing. Many tourists stay in Budva for a bit longer to participate in a few of the different adventure tours like rafting, hiking and paragliding. The old town, where we stayed, was really cute, with so much history – and the fact that it had 17 beaches close by – wasn’t too bad either. The nightlife was lively and it lived up to most parts of a typical beach and party destination, with some cool culture and history on the side and the old town hadn’t been ruined or exploited at all, but was really well preserved. After relaxing here for an extra day we headed off on an overnight train to Belgrade in Serbia, where our 6th week of the challenge begins!