Pirates in Ulcinj
I was in the mood to go to the sea side next. I took a quick look at a map hanging at the reception of the hostel and decided to go to Ulcinj near the border of Albania. I asked the hostel host what to expect there. He said: It's a fun place. There're lots of bars and clubs. The historic old town is also beautiful. It's definitely worth to visit. That sounded promising to me. I grabbed a few flyers of Ulcinj hostels and left.
I found a nice looking hostel near Ulcinj city center and asked the guy doing some maintenance work if he was working there and if there was a free room or free bed in a dorm. It turned out that he was only the brother of the owner but he wasn't there at the moment. He called his brother and handed over his phone. The owner told me that he had a free bed in a dorm and asked me to wait for half hour until he would come along so that I could check in. I agreed, left my backpack at the hostel and walked to a nearby pizza place to grab some food. I went back to the hostel after not even half hour and waited for the hostel owner on the patio. A hostel guest came up to me after a while and handed me his phone. I grabbed it a bit irritated and just said: Hello? It was the hostel owner again to ask me if I could wait even longer without saying how much longer. I told him that I didn't want to spend my whole day with waiting and rather try to find accommodation somewhere else. So I gave back the phone, grabbed my stuff and left.
I was recommended to avoid the city beach because it's too crowded which I can confirm. There was literally no free space to sit and despite that it was pretty dirty. There was trash all over the beach. Not a pretty picture at all! Luckily there are smaller beaches just a little bit outside the city center which are less crowded and clean. I spent quite some time at one of them which even had a small bar ran by an elderly couple, probably in their 70s. Only the lady spoke some English so our conversation was always the same when I wanted to order. Me: Hello! Lady: Yes, boy! Me: Can I have a beer please? Lady: Why not! Me after getting another bottle: Thank you! Lady smiling: You welcome!
Like every night, I also spent my last night on the hostels patio, hanging with the other guests and drinking free beer. To my surprise, there were quite many people from Australia. I had a hard time to understand one guys strong Australian accent but after a while I adjusted to that. Him, two Welsh brothers, a few other people and I decided to go out that night. I actually planned to leave Ulcinj with the first bus the next morning but at that point I knew I wouldn't make it. And I didn't!
I was recommended to go to Virpazar next. So I decided to go there for a day trip. There's even a train going from Podgorica to Virpazar and then going further to Bar on the sea side. Just make sure that you don't get off the train too early, said the hostel host when I was about to leave. I asked: What do you mean? He answered: Well, there are not really signs at the train stations, so if you've never been there before you'll probably not know where to get off. Quite many people get off as soon as they see the lake but that's the wrong stop. You need to go one stop further. It's the one after crossing the bridge over the lake. I replied: Ok, cool! Thanks for the hint!
I didn't see a ticket vending machine at the train station so I was looking for a counter to get a ticket. There were two guys walking about 10 meters ahead of me opening a door and walking inside. I thought that must be it. I heard voices through the open window so I also opened the door and walked in. As soon as I stepped inside this office, the voices fell silent and the five guys inside were just looking at me. They all had that distinct face expression like: What the heck are you doing in here? I'd like to buy a train ticket to Virpazar, I addressed to the guy sitting behind a desk and looking most official. He replied: Sorry, you wrong here. I could definitely tell that I was wrong in this office. If you go outside again, turn right and walk further. There's a ticket counter. This is just an office. I answered: Alright! Thanks! Have a good day! and left this awkward situation.
I got my train ticket for only 1 Euro. I honestly expected to pay more hence it's an approximately 40-minute ride. There was already a train waiting. I thought: Please...not this one! The best days of that train were definitely already numbered. I think I have never seen such a rusty, dodgy looking train before. Luckily it turned out it wasn't my train. Just a few minutes later another nice and modern looking one appeared. I was very surprised. After seeing the other train I didn't expect that at all.
Virpazar is a small village nearby Skadar Lake which is the largest lake in Southern Europe. It's train station is outside of Virpazar and just a small building with a few mostly broken benches in front. I took picture of the unique looking hand written schedule, wondered if it's even an official document and started walking towards the village. A few minutes later a car stopped next to me and the driver asked me if I needed a lift. The lady already picked up two girls which I saw at the train station. So I gladly took that offer and hopped on as well. After introducing myself I asked the lady for recommendations in Virpazar. Everything that she recommend was related to the same restaurant and activities agency which was inside that restaurant. It was also located right at the beginning when you enter Virpazar and she even mentioned that she was working there. What a coincidence!
Although we booked a group boat tour we got lucky and got a private one because no one else signed up. The tour took about 2-2.5 hours. Our guide showed us around and even took us to a spot where we had the chance to swim and challenge yourself by using the five meter high diving platform. Standing up there felt way more than that so it took me some time to have the courage to jump. I guess at some point you've to jump if people are standing down at the beach and cheering for you.
We went back to Podgorica after having dinner. Arriving there it started pouring which was the sign to stay in for the rest of the night and hang with the guys at the hostel.
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