Ulcinj - Montenegro

Europe » Montenegro » Ulcinj
February 24th 2016
Published: March 12th 2016
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I'm little bit behind with my entries. I'll try to catch up in next few days.

So after few amazing days in Budva, it was time to move to Ulcinj, my last stop before I move to Albania.

Ulcinj is the southernmost major town along the Montenegrin coast before reaching the border with Albania. Around 80% of the population of Ulcinj are ethnic Albanians. Due to the town's pleasant location on the coast it is a major tourist destination of much of the Albanian population of Kosovo.

My primary goal was to catch a lift from Budva to Ulcinj (65km). It took me a while till I found good enough spot to drop my backpack down at stick my thumb out. The traffic was very light and after a while I started to think that my best option would be to take a bus, but I didn't give up. And my patience paid off. A car stopped and I got my lift to Bar, a town 39km away from Budva. I was dropped at the entrance to the town and for me to continue hitchhiking further towards Ulcinj I had to walk over an hour to the other side of the town. There was more and more clouds appearing and I hoped that I'll get a lift before it starts to rain. After few minutes a car pulled over and the driver asked me where I'm heading. I told him I go to Ulcinj but he said he's only going few kilometers from Bar. I didn't want to risk good spot so I refused. Time was passing by very quickly so I decided I'll get into first car that will stop, no matter where it will take me as long as it’s towards Ulcinj. And I did that, I jumped into a car which looked just ready to go straight to scrape yard and got a lift 2km from the spot I got into it. Such an achievement. It was also good spot, at least. And as I expected it started to drizzle but it wasn't very bad. I was standing next to a local market so worst case scenario I could hide inside, I guess. After a while I spotted white BMW coming my way, but from my own experience I didn't even think it will stop. But I flashed my thumb out anyway, and to my surprise the car pulled over. Brand new 5 series in beige leather and a blonde, victim of botox, behind the wheel. I was so glad she stopped. Our conversation was amazing. She thought I'm Montenegrin so she started to talk to me in her native language. But I had to stop her as she was talking too quickly for me to understand what she's on about. I suggested we speak English but she didn't speak English. So instead of slowing down her speech she got louder, thinking I'll understand then. So I ended up nodding most of the time she looked at me. When we were entering Ulcinj I asked her if she could drop me at bus station. She agreed what saved me walking as hostel I picked was only few meters from there.

I got to the hostel and was welcomed by barking Labrador. As soon as the owner (Florijan) opened the gate, the black barking beast turned into my best friend. What else can you expect from lab named Bella, right? I checked in, dropped my bags and went to shop for some food. I was only guest in the hostel so after dinner I went to bed.

During breakfast Florijan offered he'd take me to some places I shall see when in Ulcinj. I got ready very quickly in case he'd change his mind. We jumped in the car and headed to 12km long beach, south of Ulcinj, called Velika Plaźa (Long Beach). Apart of few fishermen, the beach was deserted. It's the longest beach on Montenegrin coast but still waiting for development to serve as a major tourist destination in the country.

From there we drove up north up on a hill with amazing views over village Bratica and mountains on one side and Valdanos beach and Adriatic sea on the other. It was stunning. I took few pictures and we returned to Ulcinj where I was dropped in Old Town to explore castle and surroundings. These Montenegrin old towns consist of network of narrow alleys and streets creating maze where you can't really be sure if you are getting out from this maze or you just heading into someone’s house. Very confusing.

The town was full of outdoor vendors selling typical Balkan fast food and obviously pizza too. My mouth was watering when I smelled all those delicious things in the air but I manage to resist as I had my food at the hostel. There were another two guests in the hostel when I returned. Canadian couple and a Moroccan guy. They all arrived from Durres in Albania. We had dinner, some rakija and a good chat about our adventures.

There was difficult task waiting for me next morning. I planned to hitchhike from Ulcinj to Albania. Most of articles I read about hitchhiking that direction recommended to get from Ulcinj to Podgorica and from there to Albania as this road is very good with traffic. For me, it would mean I have to make a loop so I decided to take shorter way with not so frequent traffic. Florijan told me about a good spot for hitchhiking so after breakfast I took my backpack an hit the road again. My first lift took me few kilometres behind the town. It was a road in the middle of nowhere. Few houses, far away apart, and only fields around. At that time I realized what light traffic means. I walked for almost a hour and only 6 cars passed by me. The sixth one was my lucky one though. Old guy, who to my surprise spoke perfect English, picked me up and took me to a village Vladimir, roughly halfway between Ulcinj and Albanian city of Shkodra. He told me about life in that part of country and how people there are very friendly and if I'd ever had a problem I just need to knock on any door and people would help me out with everything. He also made a little detour just to drop me at some good spot where cars could easily pull over and pick me up. There was an old guy waiting on that spot so I asked if there are any buses going through there. Only answer I got was in Albanian so I repeated my question using some kind of weird sign language where I used my hands and legs do describe what I actually wanted. And I think he got it as he answered NO. Most cars and there wasn't lots of them had local number plates and most of the drivers signalized they just go local so my only chance to get to Albania was to get a car with Albanian plates. We tried to have chat with guy standing with me while waiting for some car to pass by. It was funny cause I didn't understand a word he said and I believe he was in same situation with understanding me. But we still talked. Then all of a sudden guy waved his hand towards approaching car and the car stopped, Albanian plates. It was old Mercedes with three passengers in it. Only thing I understood when the guy talked to driver was Slovakia and Albania. All three guys in the car looked at me and waved on me to get in and because any of the languages I can express myself in were of no use I just asked “Shkodra?” and when the driver nodded, I sat in the car all happy. The air in the car was very heavy and reminded me of stables. It was really bad so I asked driver if he can open my window so I could actually breath. It was quiet ride until the guy switched the radio on. From that moment we were listening to Albanian hip hop. Very interesting experience, indeed. Crossing the border was smooth and I got another stamp in my passport. My collection is getting bigger, yayyy.

I was dropped in the city centre. I made it to Albania, country I knew very little about. What made me even more excited was a fact that I didn't spend a penny for transportation in Montenegro. I travel all over the country using hitchhiking only. Awesome feeling.

My first impression of Albania? Chaos and disorder. Streets all around were full of people selling everything from food to building materials. Whole town was like one big open air market. But the most fascinating thing was a traffic. OMG. I was looking at the roundabout trying to figure out what's going on there, what are the rules to enter and exit roundabout. I didn't get it. And to confuse me even more, there were not only vehicles in that traffic, there were pedestrians and animals there, too. I gave up after while and left to find a place to stay.

I'll talk more about my Albanian experience in the next entry.

I'm really glad I decided to visit Montenegro. During those three weeks I learned a lot about this little country and I can only recommend to visit Montenegro till it still belong to relatively cheaper European countries. Whether you prefer sun, sea, sand or you're more into active vacation, Montenegro has plenty to offer for everyone. So don't wait, go and explore this Mediterranean gem.

Coming next: Shkodra, Albania.

Slovenska verzia:

Po niekolkych uzasnych dnoch stravenych v Budve, nastal cas, presunut sa do mesta Ulcinj, odkial budem neskor pokracovat smerom do Albanska.

Ulcinj je najjuznejsie vyznamne mesto na Cernohorskom pobrezi, ktore lezi nedaleko hranic s Albanskom. Priblizne 80% populacie tvoria Albanci. Vdaka svojej dobrej polohe je Ulcinj vyhladavanou dovolenkovou destinaciou vacsiny Albanskej populacie Kosova.

Mojim hlavnym cielom pre tento den bolo chytit stop z Budvy do Ulcinj (65km). Chvilu mi trvalo kym som nasiel vhodne miesto na stopovanie. Premavka bola velmi slaba a chvilu som rozmyslal aj nad moznostou cestovat autobusom, ale nevzdal som to a stopoval som dalej. A ako sa hovori, trpezlivost ruze prinasa, tak som sa aj ja dockal. Zastavil mi sofer, ktory smeroval do mesta Bar, vzdialeneho 39km od Budvy. Sofer ma vyhodil na zaciatku mesta a tak som musel vyse hodiny pochodovat ma opacnu stranu aby som mohol pokracovat v stopovani. Postupom casu sa zacali stahovat mraky a ja som len dufal, ze nezacne prsat. Po chvilke stopovania na opacnej strane mesta, zastavilo auto a sofer sa opytal kam mam namierene. Povedal som mu, ze Ulcinj. Chvilku sme diskutovali, ale nakoniec sme sa zhodli na tom, ze pockam na dalsie auto, kedze on isiel iba par kilometrov mojim smerom. Kedze hodiny pribudali a ja som bezuspesne stal na okraji cesty, rozhodol som sa, ze sadnem do prveho auta, ktore zastavi, a bolo mi jedno ako daleko ma zavezie, hlavne nech som blizsie k svojmu cielu. A tak sa aj stalo. Sadol som do prveho auta. Auta, ktore vyzeralo zrelo na srotovisko a nie cestnu telekomunikaciu. Sofer ma zviezol neuveritelne dva kilometre. V skutku skvely uspech. Nastastie som vystupil na celkom dobrom mieste, kde bolo dostatok miesta pre auta na zastavenie. V tom case uz zacalo slabo poprchat ale nebolo to velmi zle, kedze v najhorsom pripade som sa mohol schovat v miestnom obchode. Po chvili som zbadal biele BMW iduce mojim smerom. Z vlastnej skusenosti viem, ze stopnut luxusne auto nie je jednoduche ale aj tak som vystrcil palec a na moje velke prekvapenie auto zastavilo. Uplne nove BMW piatej serie v bezovej kozi a za volantom blondava obet botoxovej kury. Bolo az komicke sa na nu pozerat, ale v tom momente som bol velmi rad, ze mi zastavila. Sadol som dovnutra, navzajom sme sa predstavili a vyrazili smerom Ulcinj. Slecna zacala na mna rozpravat v jej rodnom jazyku, ale rozpravala tak rychlo, ze som nemal sancu zachytit o com vlastne hovori a tak som ju prerusil a povedal, ze nie som z Ciernej Hory. Bohuzial jej rodny jazyk bol jediny, ktory ovladala a tak skusila staru znamu taktiku. Ked mi niekto nerozumie, nebudem hovorit pomalsie ale hlasnejsie, mozno to pomoze. Nepomohlo, a tak som vacsinu cesty iba pritakaval. Po dvatsiatich minutach cesty sme boli v Ulcinj. Poprosil som ju aby ma vyhodila na autobusovej stanici, ktora bola vzdialena iba par minut od hostela, v ktorom som sa chcel ubytovat. Podakoval som sa a vybral som sa najst hostel.

A naozaj netrvalo dlho a stal som pred branou rodinneho domu, prerobeneho na hostel. Uz z dialky ma vital stekajuci cierny labrador o velkosti mensieho kona. Hned ako Florijan (manazer hostela) otvoril branu, z ciernej stekajucej bestie sa stal moj najlepsi priatel. Co ine sa dalo ocakavat od labradora menom Bella? Florijan mal nejake povinnosti a tak som zhodil batoh a zamieril do obchodu po nejaky proviant na veceru. Bol som jediny host v hosteli a tak som sa po veceri pobral do perin.

Pocas ranajok mi Florijan navrhol, ze ma vezme autom na miesta mimo Ulcinj, ktore by som urcite mal vidiet. V sekunde som bol pripraveny vyrazit. Nedal som mu cas na to, aby si to rozmyslel. Najprv sme vyrazili na juh, k plazi s nazvom Velika plaza. Je to 12km dlaha plaz, na ktorej mimo sezony stretnete iba par rybarov. Je to najdlhsia plaz na Cernohorskom pobrezi, ktora stale caka na investorov, ktori by z nej spravili jednu z najvyznamnejsich turistickych destinacii v krajine. Z plaze sme neskor vyrazili na opacnu stranu mesta. Zastali sme na kopci, z ktoreho bol nadherny vyhlad na hory a na dedinu Bratice na jednej strane a plaz Valdenos a Jadranske more na druhej. Po prichode do Ulcinj som vyrazil, v tej chvili uz sam, do stareho mesta. Kazde stare mesto v Ciernej hore, ktore som navstivil, bolo spletou uzkych uliciek, ktore vytvarali labyrint, z ktoreho nebolo jednoduche dostat sa von. V jednom momente neviete, ci smerujete von z tohto labyrintu alebo prave smerujete k niekomu do zahrady. Velmi metuce.

Ulice boli plne roznych stankov, ponukajucich tradicne rychle obcerstvenie a samozrejme pizzu. Zo vsetkych tych voni sa mi zbiehali slinky ale odolal som, kedze som mal svoje vlastne jedlo v hosteli. Ked som sa dostal spat, boli tam uz ubytovani dalsi traja hostia. Par z Kanady a chalan z Maroka. Tak sme sa vsetci spolocne navecerali a po veceri sme pri pohariku rakije debatovali o zazitkoch z ciest.

Na dalsi den ma cakala nelahka uloha. Dostat sa stopom z Ulcinj do Albanska. Mnoho ludi na nete odporucaju stopovat smerom do Podgorice a z Podgorice do Albanska, kedze tadial vedie hlavny cestny tah. Ak by som zvolil tuto cestu, vracal by som sa spat tou istou cestou akou som sa dostal do Ulcinj. Ja som zvolil kratsiu ale menej vyuzivanu cestu. Florijan mi dokonca poradil dobre miesto, kde by som mohol zacat stopovat a tak som po ranajkach vyrazil na cestu.

Prve auto, ktore mi zastavilo ma vzalo par kilometrov za mesto. Vystupil som uprostred nicoho. Par domov a same polia. Premavka bola takmer nulova a tak som vzal batoh na plecia a pomalicky kracal smerom k hranici. Cestou ma minulo par aut ale nikto nemal zaujem ma zviest. Po chvili mi zastavil dedusko, ktory na moje prekvapenie, velmi dobre rozpraval po anglicky. Vzal ma az do dediny Vladimir, priblizne na pol ceste medzi Ulcinj a Shkodra (mestom v Albansku, kam som mal namierene). Cestou sme prebrali najpalcivejsie temy dnesnych dni. Dedusko ma uistil, ze ludia z Ciernej Hory su velmi priatelsky a pohostinny, a ze ak by som mal nejaky problem, kludne mozem zaklopat na dvere ktorehokolvek domu a ludia by mi pomohli. Tento pan bol velmi mily a dokonca ma zaviezol az na koniec dediny aby som nemusel ist peso. Na mieste, ktore vyzeralo idealne pre stopovanie stal nejaky pan, ktoreho som sa opytal, ci na tomto mieste zastavuju autobusy smerujuce do Albanska. Jedina odpoved, ktoru som dostal, bola v Albanstine a tak som sa pokusil opytat opat, tentokrat s vyuzitim znakovej reci, kde som k rukam pridal aj nohy. Myslim, ze to zabralo a pan odpovedal NIE. A tak som bol odsudeny na stopovanie. Vecsina aut, ktore ma minali mali miestne poznavacie znacky a vsetci vodici signalizovali, ze niekde odbocuju alebo, ze ostavaju v dedine. A tak som sa musel spoliehat na to, ze okolo pojde nejake auto s Albanskymi znackami. Pocas cakania som sa snazil viest nejaky rozhovor so spolucakajucim panom, ale nerozumel som mu ani slovo a verim, ze on sa citil rovnako. Z nicoho nic pan vedla mna zamaval na priblizujuce sa auto a auto zastalo. Albanske znacky. Bol to starucky Mercedes s troma pasaziermi. Jedine slova, ktore som pochytil z ich rozhovoru, boli Slovakia a Albania. Nikto z pasazierov nehovoril anglicky a tak som sa iba opytal, Shkodra? a ked sofer kyvnutim hlavou potvrdil tak som cely stastny nastupil. Zapach v aute mi silno pripominal mastal a tak som poprosli sofera ci by mi nemohol spustit okno. Bola to ticha jazda az do momentu, kedy sofer zapol radio. Od toho momentu sme pocuvali albansky hip hop. Vskutku velmi zaujimava skusenost 😊. Hranicna kontrola prebehla bez problemov a ja som dostal dalsiu peciatku do pasu. Moja zbierka sa pomaly ale isto rozrasta.

Vystupil som v centre mesta. Stastlivo som sa dostal do Albanska, do krajiny, o ktorej som vedel len velmi malo. A co ma tesilo este viac bolo, ze som pri cestovani po Ciernej Hore neminul ani korunu na hromadnu dopravu. Vsade som sa dostal stopom.

Moj prvy dojem z Albanska? Chaos a neporiadok. Ulice vsade navokol boli preplnene ludmi, ktori predavali vsetko od zeleniny po stavebny material. Cele mesto vyzeralo abo jedno velke trhovisko. Ale jednoznacne najfascinovanejsia vec bola doprava. Sledoval som kruhovy objazd a nevedel som prist na to, o co tam ide. Vjazd a vyjazd z objazdu absolutne nedaval zmysel. A co ma miatlo este viac bolo, ze ucastnikmi dopravy neboli len motorove vozidla, ale ludia a volne pohybujuce sa zvierata tiez. Po chvili som to vzdal a vybral sa najst miesto pre noclah.

Viac o Albansku vam porozpravam v mojom dalsom vstupe.

Som rad, ze som sa rozhodol navstivit Ciernu Horu. Pocas troch tyzdnov som sa naucil vela o tejto malej krajine a ostatnym mozem navstevu iba odporucit. Navstivte Ciernu Horu, kym patri k relativne lacnejsim krajinam Europy. Ci uz mate radi more a plaze alebo ste skor pre aktivnejsiu dovolenku, Cierna Hora ponuka nieco pre kazdeho. Takze necakajte, chodte a preskumajte tento klenot Stredozemneho mora.

Nabuduce: Shkodra, Albansko.


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