Balkan - My first three days in Podgorica

Europe » Montenegro » Podgorica
February 7th 2016
Published: February 7th 2016
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After 6 months of working and saving I can once again leave for another trip to beloved Balkan. My first stop is Podgorica.

There's no direct connection between Edinburgh and Podgorica so I had to book two separate flights. First, Edinburgh - London and then London - Podgorica. Direct flight from London to Podgorica was leaving London at 8.25am but there was no flight from Edinburgh to London landing in London before 8.25am so I had to fly to London evening before and spend 14 hours at the airport. But I didn't mind as I'm on budget. One hour flight from Edinburgh to London was pretty straightforward. I found a decent spot at the airport in London where I could comfortably sleep. I started to read a book when a guy approached me with question if he can sit at the end of the bench. I did quick math calculations and said yes. I still had enough space to stretch myself. But I was way wrong thinking that guy will leave at some point or will sit on the same spot all night long. Shortly after he sat he started to pull things out of his suitcase and lay them all around him. At that point I knew I made a huge mistake when letting him to sit down. I completely forgot I read a book and found myself starring at that guy and the amount of stuff he had in his suitcase (like watching magician pulling things out of the hat). At one point he got to stuff, he initially wanted to get to - FOOD. Guy set up a picnic, took a picture of his dining experience and started to munch. At that point I got back to reading but was eagerly waiting for him to finish so I can see how he'll get all the stuff back into suitcase. Didn't happen. He pulled a sheet from the suitcase and spread it over part of "my" bench. I skipped a heartbeat. Long story short, I slept for half hour seating while the guy enjoyed a wonderful, 6 hours lasting, slumber. I kept in mind there's 3 hours flight to Podgorica so I can rest on board. And I did, for another half hour. But this time, it was amazing as I spent whole time chatting with Albanian guy who was traveling home to visit his family. He gave me few tips for when I visit Albania so I was very happy I didn't sleep. With 40 minutes delay we landed in Podgorica.

Before I left for my trip I spent some time researching transfer opportunities from Podgorica airport to city centre. And for a long time it looked like a taxi is the only option. Until I read a comment of a guy who recommended to walk out from the airport and walk along the main road (the only road near airport) and after 2km there's a train stop, from where you can get to city centre for €1.40. Taxi rate supposed to be between €8 and €12. He also mentioned that ladies at airport's information centre will deny existence of such a train stop (for obvious reasons). I didn't need more information (€1.40 was ideal for my budget). And me being me, I couldn't wait challenge the lady at information centre with question about that mystical train stop. Once at the desk I asked about all transfer options from airport. The only option is taxi I was told by the lovely lady. That was the time when I asked about a train stop. The nearest train stop is in city centre, lady answered with poker face (she played it well). I asked third time but this time I also mentioned a name of that stop (credit to google maps). I could see I got her in the corner, so she went, oh yes but it's opposite direction than the city and I would need to take taxi to get there anyway. She also did math for me, €2 for taxi to train stop plus €2 for train when I can get straight to city centre for €5. I thanked her very much and set for a train stop.

It took me 16 minutes to get to a "non-existing" train stop (I stopped at few places to take some pictures, too). There's only 10 trains daily stopping at that stop and with our 40 minutes delay I knew I missed the one I supposed to take and didn't have a clue when the next one is due to arrive. It was drizzling since morning according to weather forecast website but that stop provided a shelter so I was nice and dry. And how can person better kill the time than with a book (I know slumber is better option but with the frequency of trains I couldn't afford to do so). So I started to read and all of a sudden (after 89 minutes to be precise) I heard a train. At that point, the most beautiful noise. For a moment it looked like it's not going to stop but it did and I jumped in with the biggest smile on my face. I got some change ready for a conductor to buy a ticket and continued with my book. In about 14 minutes we stopped at Podgorica central station but Mr conductor didn't appear what filled me with great amount of joy. Transfer from airport to train stop €0, train from there to city centre €0. Can't complain.

After 21 minutes of walking I was at the hostel. Checked-in I dropped my bags in the room and went out to get some food. Guy at reception recommended a restaurant not far from the hostel so I headed straight there. I had a good dinner and was about to finish my beer and walk back to hostel when an elder gentleman asked me if he can sit next to me (restaurant was full and I was sitting alone at one table). And that's the whole point of travelling, to meet locals so I didn't hesitate and told him he can. This initial conversation (consisting of two words, when the gentleman asked "Slobodno?" and I answered "Da") was in Montenegrin language (very similar than Serbian, or maybe even the same with difference in accent). Once he sat down he started to talk to me, not knowing that I got only third or fourth word he was saying so I had to stop him and tell him I'm not Montenegrin. We started all over again, properly this time. We introduced ourselves to each other and started to have conversation in two different languages (Montenegrin and Slovak). It was great talk during which he (Slobodan) three times unsuccessfully tried to call his grandson who lives in Slovakia because he wanted me to talk to him and tell him that his grandpa is having drink with Slovak guy in Podgorica. After couple of drinks we said goodbye to each other and left. I returned to hostel, had much needed hot shower and went down to common room. There were only two other guests in whole hostel which wasn't bad at all as I had a chance spend time with local working at the reception (his name was Majo, I love that name). After a while, a guest, guy from Peru, joined us (his name was Fritz, very Peruvian name). We spent the rest of the night chatting. Around midnight I went to bed absolutely exhausted but excited about next day.

I didn't sleep much as it was a little cold in the room and I couldn't figure out how to get that air-con working.

I was in the common room just in time for breakfast. Sweet rolls and burek with yogurt. Breakfast of champions. Around noon I got myself ready and left to explore the city.

Podgorica is pretty compact and it doesn't take more than 3 to 4 hours to see all the highlights Podgorica can offer. I was about to take my first picture when I realized my camera's battery is completely flat (so not me). Luckily I had my phone with me so I didn't need to return back to hostel to charge my camera. After 2 hours of exploring I realized I forgot my locker key in the lock in the dorm room (damn me). I made my way back to hostel with rather swift walk but luckily there was no surprise waiting for me. Hostel was quiet. Majo at the reception and Fritz operating in the kitchen. While he was cooking, another girl (named Maria), who came to swap Majo at reception, joined us . All three of them knew each other for a while as Fritz was guest in their hostel for a month already. They were all crazy (in the best possible way) so it didn't take me long to feel as part of a pack. Fritz cooked a traditional Peruvian dinner for all us (4 people). Kind of pancake made of cauliflower, sausage and eggs with rice. Simple but delicious. After dinner, new French guy (Louis) joined us in common room and we spend another night chatting about everything and anything. In between the chats we agreed that next day we go to hike a small hill (Gorica) for views of the city. We all said good night to each other around midnight a left for our beds. At that point air-con in the room was already working but room still wasn't warm enough (I know, I sound like little girl, complaining). I tucked myself in and was gone in no time.

Next morning I was first at breakfast and was waiting for Fritz to have his breakfast, too so we could go for a walk/hike. That guy likes to sleep. He appeared around 11am. At that point we had Louis coming with us (the more the better). It was really very easy walk through the park with nice views over the city. We had a short break at the monument to fallen soldiers and returned to a centre looking for a place where Louis could watch six nations championship game of his team against Italy. No luck. Fritz with Louis returned to hostel and I went to shop for ingredients for dinner as I decided, it was my turn to cook tonight. I cooked brown lentil soup served with fresh bread straight from the oven from local bakery next door. It was shame Louis couldn't stay for dinner as he decided to go and hitchhike to Kotor. We stuffed ourselves and sunk into sofas watching Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. It was indeed beautiful evening.

Can't wait for more 😊

Slovenska verzia:

Po siestich mesiacoch prace a sporenia, mozem zas raz odist na vylet na moj oblubeny Balkan. Moja prva zastavka je Podgorica.

Kedze medzi Edinburgom a Podgoricou nie je ziadne priame spojenie, musel som zakupit dve samostatne letenky. Prvu, z Edinburgu do Londyna a druhu, z Londyna do Podgorice. Let z Londyna do Podgorice odlieta pravidelne o 8.25 rano ale prvy let z Edinburgu pristava v Londyne o tom istom case, takze jedine riesenie bolo letiet do Londyna den vopred a stravit na letisku 14 hodin. To mi ale vobec nevadilo, kedze moj rozpocet je limitovany. Hodinovy let z Edinburgu bol uplne v pohode.

Po prilete do Londyna som si hned nasiel miesto, kde by som mohol celkom pohodlne spat. Zacal som citat knihu, ked vtom ma oslovil pan s otazkou, ci si moze prisadnut. Rychlo som si to vsetko v hlave prepocital a suhlasil som. Stale som mal dostatok miesta, aby som sa mohol vystriet. Ale velmi som sa mylil, ked som si myslel, ze ten pan sa v blizkej buducnosti postavi a pojde prec alebo, ze ostane sediet na mieste, kde sa povodne posadil. Kratko na to ako sa usadil, zacal vybalovat veci zo svojho kufra a ukladat ich okolo seba. V tom okamihu som vedel, ze som spravil obrovsku chybu, ked som suhlasil s tym, ze si moze prisadnut. Uplne som zabudol na to, ze citam knihu a sledoval som jeho a to mnozstvo veci, ktore z toho kufra vytahoval (bolo to ako keby som sledoval kuzelnika vytahovat veci z carovneho klobuka). Po istom case sa dostal k tomu, co vlastne hladal - JEDLO. Normalne si tam urobil riadny piknik, urobil si fotku jedla, ktore sa chystal zjest a pustil sa do toho. Vtedy som sa vratil k svojej knihe, ale napate som cakal, kedy doje aby som videl ako sa mu podari napratat vsetky tie veci spat do kufra. To sa ale nestalo. Namiesto toho chalan vytiahol z kufra plachtu a rozprestrel ju na lavicku tak, ze zabral aj cast, ktora mala povodne patrit mne. Myslim, ze v tom momente mi na sekundu prestalo byt srdce. V kratkosti. Ja som spal pol hodinu v polohe sedmo, kym on si uzil nadherny, sest hodinovy, spanok. V hlave som si ale premietal, ze ma caka troj hodinovy let do Podgorice, takze si budem moct chvilku poriadne oddychnut na palube lietadla. A tak aj bolo, pospal som si dalsiu pol hodinu. Ale tentokrat som tomu bol rad, kedze som celu cestu prekecal s chlapikom z Albanska, ktory cestoval domov navstivit rodinu. Dal mi velmi cenne rady, ktore budem moct vyuzit pri mojej ceste do Albanska. So 40 minutovym meskanim sme pristali v Podgorici.

Predtym, nez som odisiel na vylet, som zistoval ako sa z letiska v Podgorici dostanem do centra mesta. Po dlhu dobu som si myslel, ze taxi je jedina alternativa az kym som nenasiel clanok, v ktorom jeden chalan odporucal ist peso z letiska popri hlavnej ceste (bola to jedina cesta, ktora viedla z letiska) az k vlakovej zastavke, ktora je vzdialena asi dva kilometre od letiska. Odtial mozte ist vlakom do centra za €1.40. Cena za taxi sa mala pohybovat niekde medzi €8 az €12. V clanku bolo taktiez spomenute, ze tetusky na informaciach na letisku popru akukolvek existenciu takejto vlakovej zastavky (z jasnych pricin). Nepotreboval som viac informacii (€1.40 je idealna cena vzhladom na moj rozpocet). Kedze ja som ja, nevedel som sa dockat, kedy zistim, ci mal chalan pravdu o tetuskach z informacii. Tak ked som uz bol na informaciach, najprv som sa opytal na vsetky moznosti dopravy do centra mesta. Bolo mi povedane, ze jedine riesenie je taxi. Vtedy som sa opytal, ci nieje niekde poblizku nejaka vlakova zastavka. Tetuska s kamennym vyrazom v tvari odpovedala, ze najblizsia vlakova zastavka je v centre mesta (hrala to celkom dobre). Ked som sa opytal dotretice, spomenul som uz aj meno zastavky (vdaka mapam z google). Vtedy som videl, ze som ju zatlacil do kuta. Ale opat sa vykrutila a povedal, ze ta zastavka je opacnym smerom ako mesto, a ze aj tak by som si musel vziat taxi aby som sa tam dostal. A dokonca to pre mna aj vypocitala, €2 za taxi na zastavku plus €2 za vlak, ze je to zbytocne ked mozem ist priamo z letiska za €5. Pekne som sa podakoval a vyrazil som peso na vlakovu zastavku.

Trvalo mi to asi 16 minut, dostat sa na neexistujucu zastavku (a to som sa este parkrat zastavil aby som urobil nejake fotky). Vopred som vedel, ze tadial premava iba desat vlakov denne a taktiez som vedel, ze kvoli 40 minutovemu zdrzaniu nestihnem vlak, ktory som planoval a prichod dalsieho som vobec netusil. Cely den poprchavalo ale vlakova zastavka mi poskytla pristresok, takze som bol pekne v suchu. A ako si moze clovek lepsie skratit chvilu ako citanim knihy (viem, ze spanok je lepsia moznost, ale ja som si nemohol dovolit prespat prichod vlaku). A tak som zacal citat, ked tu zrazu (aby som bol presny, preslo 89 minut) som zacul prichadzat vlak. V tom momente to bol ten najkrajsi hluk. Na chvilu sa mi zdalo, ze vlak vobec nespomaluje, ale nakoniec predsalen zastavil a ja som s najvecsim usmevom na tvari naskocil dovnutra. Pripravil som si drobne pre pana revizora a opat som sa ponoril do citania knihy. Po 14 minutach jazdy sme zastali na hlavnej stanici v Podgorici. Pan revizor sa ani neobtazoval ist predat mi listok, co ma naplnovalo paradnym pocitom. Tak som si to prepocital. Cesta z letiska na zastavku €0, vlak zo zastavky do centra €0. Myslim, ze si nemozem stazovat.

Po 21 minutach kracania som dorazil do hostela. Ubytoval som sa, zhodil batoh v izbe a vyrazil von volaco zjest. Chlapec z recepcie mi odporucil restauraciu nedaleko hostela a tak som vyrazil rovno tam. Mal som vybornu veceru a pomaly som dopijal pivko, pripraveny vyrazit spat do hostela, ked sa ma starsi pan opytal, ci si moze prisadnut (restauracia bola plna a ja som sedel pri stole sam). A kedze cielom mojho cestovania je stretavat domacich, tak som suhlasil. Nasa pociatocna konverzacia (pozostavajuca z dvoch slov, ked sa ma pan opytal "Slobodno?" a ja som odpovedal "Da") bola v Ciernohorcine (jazyk velmi podobny Srbstine, ak nie aj taky isty len s inym prizvukom). Ked sa usadil, zacal na mna hovorit v rodnom jazyku, a kedze netusil, ze mu rozumiem iba kazde tretie alebo stvrte slovo, tak som ho zastavil a povedal mu ze nie som odtialto. A tak sme zacali odznova a tentokrat tak ako sa patri. Navzajom sme sa predstavili a zacali sme debatovat v dvoch roznych jazykoch (Ciernohorcine a Slovencine). Bola to velmi zaujimava konverzacia pocas ktorej sa pan (jeho meno je Slobodan) snazil trikrat neuspesne dovolat svojmu vnukovy zijucemu na Slovensku, aby sa pochvalil ze pije pivo so Slovakom v Podgorici. Po par pivach sme sa so Slobodanom rozlucili a pobrali sme sa kazdy svojou cestou. Ja som sa vratim na hostel, dal som si, dlho ocakavanu, horucu sprchu a zisiel som do spolocenskej miestnosti. v hosteli boli ubytovani iba dalsi dvaja hostia, co vobec nebolo na skodu, kedze som mal moznost stravit cas rozpravanim sa s miestnym chlapcom z recepcie (volal sa Majo, mam rad toto meno). Po chvili sa k nam pridal host z Peru (menom Fritz, velmi Peruanske meno). Stravili sme vecer rozpravanim a okolo polnoci som sa pobral, vycerpany ale nadseny, do postele.

Nespal som dlho, kedze v izbe bolo pomerne zima a ja som nedokazal nakopnut ohrievac.

Nasledujuce rano som bol v spolocenskej miestnosti akurat vcas na ranajky. Sladke plnene rozky a burek s jogurtom. Ranajky sampionov. Kolo obeda som sa pripravil a vyrazil som prebadat mesto.

Podgorica je velmi kompaktne mesto a netrva dlhsie ako 3 alebo 4 hodiny aby sa dalo pozriet vsetko co ponuka. Ked som isiel spravit prvu fotografiu, zistil som, ze baterka vo fotoaparate je uplne vybita (cely ja). Nastastie som mal pri sebe telefon a tak som sa nemusel vratit na hostel nabit fotoaparat. Po dvoch hodinach chodenia som zistil, ze som nechal kluc od skrinky v izbe v zamku a tak som sa rezkym krokom vybral spat. Nastastie ma necakalo ziadne neprijemne prekvapenie. V hosteli bol klud. Majo sedel na recepcii a Fritz operoval v kuchyni. Kym Fritz varil, Maja prisla vystriedat jeho kolegyna Maria. Vsetci traja sa poznali celkom dobre, kedze Fritz bol ubytovany v hosteli uz mesiac. Vsetci su streleni (ale v tom najlepsom slova zmysle), a tak netrvalo dlho a stali sme sa dobrymi kamaratmi. Fritz pripravil tradicne Peruanske jedlo pre vsetkych (styroch ludi). Bolo to cosi ako placka z karfiolu zmiesaneho s klobasou a vajickom a priloha bola ryza. Jednoduche ale vyborne. Po veceri sa k nam pridal chlapec z Francuzska (Louis) a opat sme vecer predebatovali. Rozpravali sme o vsetkom a o nicom zaroven. Medzi riadkamy sme sa dohodli, ze dalsi den sa vyberieme na kratky vystup na kopec (Gorica) s vyhladom na mesto. Na zaver dna sme sa vsetci rozlucili a pobrali sa do perin. Ohrievac v mojej izbe uz fungoval, ale este nestihol vyhriat celu izbu a tak som sa zabalil to paplona a za okamih som spal.

Nasledujuce rano som bol na ranajkach ako prvy, takze som musel cakat na Fritza kym dojde aj on aby sme mohli vyrazit na kopec. Ten chlapec ma spanok velmi rad. Objavil sa az kolo jedenastej. V tom case bol Louis tiez za to, ze pojde s nami (cim viac, tym lepsie). Bola to naozaj velmi nenarocna prechadzka cez park s peknym vyhladom na mesto. Pri pamatniku padlim vojakom sme si dali kratku prestavku a tak sme sa vratili do centra, kde sme sa snazili najst nejaky podnik kde by Louis mohol sledovat priamy prenos z ragby zapasu Francuzska proti Taliansku. Boli sme ale neuspesni. Louis a Fritz sa vratili na hostel a ja som sa pobral na nakup, kedze ja som bol na rade s pripravou vecere. Uvaril som hustu sosovicovu polievku s chlebom rovno z pece, z pekarne hned vedla hostela. Jedina skoda bola, ze Louis nemohol vecerat s nami, kedze sa pobral stopovat do Kotoru. Poriadne sme sa natlacili, vyvratili na gauc a sledovali modnu prehliadku znacky Victoria's Secret. Bol to vskutku nadherny vecer.

Uz sa neviem dockat, co bude dalej 😊


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