When a friend of mine invited me to his wedding in Montenegro, I knew I had to go there. I had been invited to other weddings abroad before, but had never gone because it was too expensive or because I had no time. This time, I did not want to decline yet another invitation. So I decided to buy some tickets to see what a Montenegrin wedding was about and to visit a country (and region!) I had never been to before in my life.
So I took the train to Frankfurt airport on Friday morning. On the airport, I met up with another wedding guest from Germany and together we boarded the plane to Podgorica, Montenegro. During the flight, I already realized that people from the Balkans are more, let’s say, open than the average German would be. The woman sitting next to me kept talking to me for the entire two hours the flight took – which was impressive, considering her only very limited German and non-existent English skills. When we finally arrived in Podgorica, I was a little shocked about how small the airport was. But what do you expect, for a country with little more than 600,000 inhabitants…? I still had the feeling though, that even the airport in Keflavik, Iceland (300,000 inhabitants in total) was larger. But then, they probably have a lot more tourists coming in than Montenegro does.
We were invited to spend the evening at my friend’s house and had some great dinner with local ham, cheese and bread. Later that night, we set out to party in downtown Podgorica. We had a great time and got to our hotel some time in the morning. After a few hours of sleep, it was time to get ready for the wedding, so I went to the hairdresser with some of the other girls. In the early afternoon, the wedding started – lots of eating, drinking and dancing until the evening. Afterwards, we moved on to another bar a little further up the mountains, where a Balkan live band was playing. Again, I got home some time in the morning.
On Sunday, me and some of the other wedding guests took a car up into the mountains and down again on a long and winding road to a valley with a nice river (unfortunately I don’t rembember how the place was called). We spent hours on the nice promenade by the river and had lunch (including a great fish soup) at a restaurant there. On our way back, we drove along yet another narrow mountain road with lots of curves and a massive wall of rock to the left as well as a drop of a few hundred meters to the right. We stopped at a viewpoint to enjoy an amazing view of Lake Skadar (the largest lake on the Balkan peninsula). I did somehow feel reminded of scenes I saw in the Lords of the Rings movies. This sight was definitely what impressed me most on the whole trip. In the evening, back in Podgorica, we spent some time at the local mall and went for dinner in the city center.
The last day we started early, as my flight back to Germany would leave just before noon. So we started out in the morning and this time made a trip down to Lake Skadar, to see it up close. With the great weather (sunshine and 28°C), the huge blue lake at our feet and the mountains in the background, it did feel like a summer holiday. In the distance, we could already see some mountains belonging to Albania. Around eleven, we were back at the airport. Luckily, check-in and security check don’t take too long on such a small airport, so it was okay to arrive pretty last minute. Right after I was through the security, I boarded the plane back to Frankfurt.
As a conclusion, the weekend was really exhausting with all the drinking and dancing, but I had an amazing time. This was my first experience of Balkan-style partying and I have yet to get used to the music, but people in Montenegro sure know how to spend a great night out. What I saw of the countryside was also amazing. I feel like this is a great place for hiking, so I definitely want to return with my backpack and hiking boots soon. But even leaving the hiking part apart, I left the country with the promise of returning soon. Now that I know some people there, I can’t wait to come back with some more time on my hands.