4 countries in a weekend

22nd September 2016

Four countries in a weekend (counting Friday as the start of the weekend) was mad tiring but absolutely worth it. It started out in Kosovo then Albania, Montenegro and then finally Bosnia & Herzegovina.  Friday afternoon I left Kosovo for Tirana, Albania. A few hours in a cramped mini bus was worth it for the views as we drove through some massive mountains.

The only picture I took in Albania (iphone picture)
The only picture I took in Albania (iphone picture)

Tirana, Albania

I got into Tirana just as the sun was setting and made my way to the hostel. Most of the time I try and avoid the typical ‘party’ hostels but it’s the weekend so it’s ok. Trip’n’Hostel was a cool hostel with a a bar selling decent beer.

Tirana is a cool place but I wasn’t feeling it. I got into the city and a few taxi drivers gave me grief and then there was so many things that annoyed me. The highlight of the night was sitting on the street eating ‘meatballs’ that looked more like sausages. I chose not to go out on the hostel’s pub crawl and walked about the city for a few hours. Sunday morning I got on the 6 hour bus to Kotor, Montenegro.

Volleyball pool beside Kotor bay - Montenegro
Volleyball pool beside Kotor bay – Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Montenegro is a small country so I didn’t want to spend a long time there. It seems like there’s two main places people go to; the capital city and the seaside town of Kotor. For me, travelling isn’t about going to holiday destinations. Travelling is about seeing the country so I don’t travel to seaside towns much. It’s worth a quick stop but they are a bit false, full of tourists and dull.

Checking into another party hostel was interesting. It’s a little building right next to the water and it looks beautiful. You go into the hostel and a giant bloke was lining up shots of Rakia for everybody checking in. For some reason I ended up with 3.

A church in Kotor, Montenegro
A church in Kotor, Montenegro

Walking around Kotor old town is nice, but it’s so small. Outside of the old there is a walk up the mountain for a view over the bay. I got there late and only had enough time to check out the old town. Kotor is a nice town to see for a day or two but I found it a bit dull. Other than the restaurants selling overpriced food and shops selling tat there’s not much else there.

Regardless of what I thought of Kotor, I would recommend going, it’s just not the kind of place i’m into. I love normal cities, little towns and just somewhere with a bit more life and atmosphere. Somewhere without selfie sticks and hordes of tour groups. Somewhere with dirt cheap pivo, good food and cool people. Kotor was full of people traveling and getting drunk every night and tourists on cruises.

Weddings in Kotor, Montenegro
Weddings in Kotor, Montenegro

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

So it was Sunday morning and I got out of that grimy hostel before everybody was awake ready for the bus to Bosnia. It was a 7 hour drive the long way through the Montenegro and Bosnian countryside. The 7 hour drive ended up more like 9 and a half but it was worth it just to see the country side.

With everyone packed into the tiny minivan we headed the long way to the Bosnian border. After a few hours of driving way too fast along the mountain roads we got to the border. These mountain roads were sketchy, some didn’t have barriers and 200m drops down the side.

Selling clothes on the streets of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Selling clothes on the streets of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

As soon as we crossed into Bosnia the landscapes changed and the mountains got even larger. Eventually we were in the rural Bosnian countryside. As we drove through each village the bus would have to stop and beep at all sorts of farm animals standing in the road. This is more interesting than drinking wine in a tourist town any day. We got into Mostar late and by this time the minivan was over full. I had a bloke wearing triple denim leaning on me for an hour which was annoying. Mostar was super wet and rainy so I got some food and called it a night.

Tirana and Kotor were cool to see but not what i’m into. So far it seems like I am going to love Bosnia. Mostar is another tourist town but I wanted to see the old town before heading to the capital.

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar old town is famous for its giant bridge so I headed out there super early, before the herds of tourists. The old town is cool but it’s full of shops selling the typical tat. What I loved was the bridge and all the old buildings on the hill. I had an awesome time in Mostar. If you go then you have to stay in Hostel Majdas. The were super friendly they cooked everyone a giant breakfast in the morning.

This weekend has been so long. I’m so tired just writing this. Currently i’m sat in Mostar’s bus station waiting for the bus to take me out to Sarajevo. My plan for this week is to check out more of Bosnia before heading to Serbia and then Romania.