As I headed towards the border of Montenegro and Albania I encountered the city of Ulcinj. With few expectations I was struck with a charming city and overwhelmed by the generosity of the people there.
I had very little time in Ulcinj, only one full day, but in that time I made many friends, travellers and locals, saw a stunning sunset over the sea, wandered the ups and downs of the old town, relaxed on a tiny pebbly beach and stayed at one of the coolest hostels ever. Where do I start?
The old town I think…
The cobbled streets may look similar to the other old towns you might come across in Montenegro (or Croatia for that matter) but Ulcinj was different. I saw only a handful of people in my wanderings from street to street and I enjoyed the peace and quiet very much. It’s not very touristy and as a result, the restaurant owners I passed were not very interested in enticing me eat and instead approached me kindly asking after my day and pointed me to various vantage points from the old town on the cliff.
I walked down to one of the beaches I was recommended which was covered with locals with crystal water lapping up onto the pebbles. There is one massive beach right in the centre of the city which I was advised to avoid because of the crowds – something I now also advise. I took only one photo of my perfect little beach as I quickly got lost in my music and dreams.
As the sun was beginning to set I headed up to a spot that the hostel owner told me about. Here I found peace and quiet along with some cats and a very friendly local. I bought a drink from his small ‘shop’ and sat on a bench to watch the sun setting over the Old Town. He soon came to join me and began chatting to me. As a Brit I found this strange to begin with but I soon realised he was just a friendly person who wanted to talk to someone new. He told me about how he works in a restaurant in the centre for the summer months and is a plumber for the rest of the year. He spoke of his tirelessly long hours in the heat for months and then struggling through the winter in this economically challenged country. I learnt about his family and he questioned me about mine and my university life. We chatted for hours as the sun set and learned a lot about each other.
He then went to grill some fish he caught that day and served it with warm fresh bread which I was dumbfounded at. He bought me a new drink and we ate his delicious creation whilst chatting. He asked for no money and refused to take my token of gratitude before I left. This generosity honestly shocked me and made me realised how wonderful the Montenegrins/Albanians are. Someone who works all day every day for a tiny wage was so willing to share his food with me, a lowly tourist. It was a sincerely special night on my trip and I went to sleep smiling in my lovely little hostel.
My day in Ulcinj was perfect and made me want to return to this sweet little city and to make a trip to Albania in the future. The hostel I stayed at (Hostel Pirate – website here) was amazing. Such a cool vibe, great staff and lovely dorms and common areas. Would 100% stay again.
So there’s my quick letter about Ulcinj and the people of Montenegro. I hope you enjoyed.
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