Ode to Montenegro

Our relaxing visit to Lake Skadar was the perfect way to say goodbye to Montenegro. Perfect because if there is anything Montenegro does best—besides epic mountains, crazy long tunnels, and jaw dropping scenery, it would be that they are the most chill country and people we’ve ever encountered.


In a tiny little bay where we were stern-tied one day, a local family gently motored in and dropped their anchor just a few feet from our aft deck. The father looked at us and gave us an affectionate smile and said, “It’s summer! Welcome to Montenegro!” And he genuinely meant it. We were the visitors despite being anchored there first and he was happy to share this beautiful spot with us. Here in Montenegro, we’ve adopted their synergistic heartbeat of sharing. A stark contrast from our American heritage of proclaiming things as ours, staking claim, building fences. 


Over the last several months we’ve been exiled out of the EU waiting for our Schengen clock to reset so we can sail south to return to Greece. But as far as exiles go, being forced to mull around the countries outside the Schengen zone, it’s a serendipitous way to spend your days. The strict limitations on how long we could be in the EU ironically liberated us to go soak up a fair amount of the Balkans outside of Greece. 


A big chunk of those Balkans was cut from the fabric of the former Yugoslavia and re-stitched into a complicated patchwork of independent countries. Each piece remarkably different and yet saturated with similarity; each having its own twist on the slavic language, yet bursting with a similar  array of religions, and inlaid with a kaleidoscope of familiar landscapes. And all of this hemmed in at its edges by a vast cobalt sea, sewn by a common thread of shared histories in struggle.


We loved it all—at least the all of the Balkans countries that we got to see.  But we must admit that it was Montenegro that became our favorite place to be. Chiefly because of the people. 


After spending a couple weeks exploring the width and breadth of Montenegro, having seen people on the roads and in their fields, hiring them to help us do some work on the boat, and give us rides and renting us cars—we have never met a people so remarkably chill and easy to be with.


And so on our last day, tucked under her majestic mountains, we felt much like saying goodbye an old friend you will likely never see again. We sat on our deck and took the time to breath in the smell of sage blowing down from the surrounding hills and felt gratitude for our time here.

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