Sometimes you meet the nicest people on buses. Even Russians. Maybe we all bonded after spending nearly four hours listening to Eurovision Song Contest style music. It has a way of bringing people together and the complete silence on the bus said it all.
Having made it further south to Montenegro, I have been blown away by its natural beauty which includes fjord-like winding coastal bays, masses of limestone mountains and ancient fortresses on cliffs that seem to defy gravity. There is also a sort of endearing Balkan style of architecture here which seems to be left over from the former Yugoslav glory days.
On a trip to raft one of Montenegro’s rivers, I became known as “Australia” which must have been easier to pronounce and remember than my real name. It’s been one of the lovely things about travelling solo - there is usually someone who feels the need to look out for me. This time it was Russians and I was happy to finally meet some who would change the less-than-friendly stereotype I had built after previous experiences in their company.
Nestled in the north-western corner of the country, the Tara and Piva rivers and canyons, in the Durmitor National Park, are nothing short of spectacular. Although at this time of year the water levels and rapids are low, the snow melts in May bring a three to four metre water level rise and turn it into a Class Five, adrenalin-rush river. From its highest point at the top of the canyon down to the river , it is only about 200 metres short of Colorado’s Grand Canyon and was quite a sight from a rubber raft.
Lunch had me thankful I was not a vegetarian after tucking into the traditional dish of Ispod Saca (chunks of veal and potatoes, cooked in a claypot, over open coals). It was amazing - as was the honey we stopped to taste along the road, fresh from the beehives.
On the four hour trip back, with the same music, a belly full of meat and eyes full of magical mountains, it is quite possible that I might have even hummed along.