the balkans in 7 days: montenegro

out of my 7 days exploring the balkans region, my time in montenegro may have been my very favorite.

first of all, let me start with how BEAUTIFUL this country is. everything about it was so incredibly stunning in the most simple way. montenegro was a little different from every other day of our trip, in that we had the whole day there free to do whatever we wanted. this freedom quickly became a trip to the beach. the water so so incredibly clear and blue, and the beach we found came with floating seats about 30 yards out. we spent the next 5 hours lounging in these seats, bobbing with the waves, appreciating the mountain view, and developing incredible new friendships.

i’ve said it before but i’ll say it again, i really cannot stress how much i appreciate the people here. in the few hours out in the water, i had one of the most open talks with a relative stranger, who has since become a close friend. we traded life stories and asked questions to the point we lost track of time, and it was easily one of the best moments i can pinpoint from this trip so far.

later, we took a trip up to old town. it seems like every area we visited during this week had an area of the city known as “old town” that resembled a much more retro feel and not the feeling of a booming city that the other areas conveyed. we spent the next few hours walking around old town, eventually settling down on the stone wall and continuing our “get-to-know-you” conversations. i found myself talking to another member of our group and having conversation very similar to the one early. we spoke of books, movies, family, relationships, and virtually everything else under the sun. we traded our outrageous life stories and i would honestly say this too was a highlight to the week. these conversations have proven to be so insightful and getting to know people in a different context is an experience that i really cannot describe. i found myself going hours without looking at my phone, or even thinking of it, and becoming totally invested in the conversations happening.

that has actually been one of the things about this trip that has been truly unexpected. no lie, i use my phone a lot at home. this habit has changed since coming to europe for a couple of reasons. firstly, it’s difficult to use your phone considering data charges and the such. instagram is cool y’all, but not when it comes at such a price to idly browse  internationally. secondly, the interesting conversations are SO abundant here. so many times i have caught myself holding lengthy conversations with people that a month ago, i had no idea existed, and it is incredible. one night on the bus i sat next to another peer who looked at me and said “so tell me about your life”, and we spent the next two hours engrossed in deep and meaningful conversation. it is incredibly rare to see these raw sides of people, but i have experienced that more in the last few weeks than ever before. i’ve learned an incredible amount not only about myself through these conversations, but about the world through the eyes of others. the people i’ve interacted with on this trip range in origin from florida, to the dominican republic, to prague, and various other areas. yet these have been uniting factors in conversation.

of course i’ve included pictures from this beautiful place, although i don’t have many. this place was so incredible and the conversations were so engrossing that i honestly forgot to look at my phone for hours on hand.

the greatest thing about Montenegro that i can pinpoint is how much of a beautiful surprise it was. i’ve had a list of places that i wanted to visit forever, and it’s largely made up of the regulars (Paris, Venice, Spain, etc), but Montenegro was never on my list. Yet, it ended up being the most amazing place I have visited in my life thus far. It had the most unexpected, simple beauty and brought me some of the mot simple, raw conversations and friendships that I have ever had. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the 24 hours in Montenegro actually changed me in the most positive way.

the below pictures show the beautiful island town we got to see, as well as the area of Budva in the distance, where we spent our day in Montenegro. the other pictures show the amazing roommates i’ve gotten to spend this trip with, and another group picture! i really cannot stress enough how much the people have enhanced this experience for me. thankful doesn’t even cut it.

 

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