The Best of the Balkans: Week #6

Somehow another week has passed, even though it’s really only felt like a few seconds blurring by. I’m pretty much at the halfway point of my internship and that is especially a hard pill for me to swallow. Before I know it, I’ll be on a plane back to the good ol’ USA…. but until then, I’ve still got a lot of stuff to get done here!

This has been another fun week of ups and downs in which I can really feel myself growing. For the entire week, my work had no WiFi, which made it almost impossible to get any work done. I unpacked boxes from our move, did some slight organizing, and then….. lots of nothing. Part of our office has been working at home during this time, so that at least some work can get done, while the rest of us have been dealing with the no internet situation. While it was a bummer not to get to do work I kinda needed to do while at work (subsequently, I had to do it at home), I did get some free time at work to pursue some creative outlets.

I’ve been working to do more writing while I am here, partially so I have a record of what I’ve done, and partially to break out of the inevitable Netflix cycle that can happen when there is nothing else to do. My goal is to fill my journal up by the time I get home, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Now, to the best part of the week: the weekend travelling. The plan was to basically make a circle by going from Skopje to Tirana (in Albania), then Tirana to Podgorica (in Montenegro), and Podgorica back to Skopje all in roughly 55 hours. Instead, we missed the our bus to Tirana, leaving us with the option to wait until the next day to go, and thus loosing all of our exploration time, or taking the midnight bus to Budva, the most visited place in Montenegro. As soon as the ticket agent told us she only had two more tickets to Budva, we snatched them up and got prepared to go to the beach.

Needless to say, it was incredible.

Budva is incredibly touristy, but who wouldn’t take the chance to lay out in the sun for a few hours right up against the Adriatic sea? The ticket agent told us the bus ride would be 7 hours, ended up being closer to 11, but it was still so worth it. It’s one of those spontaneous moments I think I’ll remember forever.

That night, we caught a bus to Podgorica, because we had already paid for a hostel there for the night. Luckily, that went off without a hitch, and we got treated to a true European hostel (i.e. cramped, hot, a bit strange). However, it did its job; we slept well, got up early the next morning, and set off to explore Podgorica.

We ended up buying some granola bars and fresh fruit from a local supermarket (great cheap breakfast!) and headed to a park to watch the city wake up. Podgorica is a very quiet city, so it was actually a peaceful breakfast filled with the best surprise: a local dog who made it his goal to be our buddy! He followed us around the city for over an hour.

Overall, even though Podgorica didn’t really have all that much to see (we ended up accidentally stumbling upon most of our itinerary as we were searching for breakfast), it was still a great break from the work week and the city. For anyone who is thinking of the perfect place to spend a day and wants some sun and great food, don’t sleep on Montenegro! I might just have to loop back here in a couple years (or sooner).

One thought on “The Best of the Balkans: Week #6

  • July 12, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    I continue to very much enjoy hearing about not only your internship but also your weekend travels, Alex! How very frustrating that the internet isn’t yet set up at work. In spite of that problem and the inability to get work done that it caused, it sounds like you were able to take advantage of the week for some non-work pursuits, which is great! Hopefully the internet will be back up and running soon.

    Your weekend trips continue to look amazing. Good on you for grabbing those last two tickets! Even though the bus ride sounds rather long, it sounds like it was well worth the 11 hours spent. Though I doubt you need any encouraging, I’d suggest you keep on exploring the area for as long as you are there. It’s so worth it, and you won’t regret having done so later on.


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