Star Date:  October 2016
Montenegro & Albania

     

Hello Dear Family & Friends!

 


"Tungjatjeta!   «'kemi?
Shnet, or Shifna"

(Hello! How are you? See you later.  Albanian)

"Zdravo!"
(Hello!  Montenegrin)

 

 

 

 

"My whole life is a bucket list!"
(Just me being thankful.)

 

 

 

Life is full of delicious discoveries.  We are seven months into our 14th year of continuous travel and we are ever amazed and thrilled at the discoveries and treasures we uncover.  We are living our bucket list!  Our adventure has taken us around the world several times, and still we love meeting the gorgeous people and taking in brilliant scenery on our path.  What a Wonderful World, as Louie Armstrong described in 1967. 

As change in this modern world confronts us and shakes our very foundations it is important, now more than ever, to keep our eyes on what is positive and what is good on this planet we share.  Yes, be aware of global problems and we each must work at solving them through our own lives, actions and examples.  But focus on the great 90% of the population and remember what a Wonderful World we share!

We have stayed in literally thousands of guesthouses and hotels and tents and cabins and yurts and villas and? during this time.  Some are memorable but the people in that village or city always hold a place in our hearts.  We are often asked, "Don't you get tired?"  Usually travelers race around the country of their destination trying to cram as much into their vacation as possible.  I know.  I used to do that.  But we, as Nomads of this planet, take our time, experience as much as we can, and when feeling tired we just stop.  Stop. Breathe. Relax.  And when stirred, away we go again.  After last year's trip around the world we decided to slow down a bit but already Kashmir is in our sites!  I often wonder if we are dromomaniacs (insatiable travelers)  xenomaniacs (inquisitive persons obsessed with foreign things and places) or ecdemomaniacs: (people with a chronic and uncontrollable urge to wander).  Whatever our condition, snicker- snicker, we are having a fun time.  Not all who wander are lost!

Montenegro, unique in many ways, is situated in the south of the Adriatic.  Off the travelers' radar, this place is a rough cut gem waiting to be polished.  Passing through from Croatia to Albania we were excited at the variety before our eyes. A real kaleidoscope of natural beauty; beaches, clear lakes, fast rivers, and gorgeous mountains all in a compact area.  The coast is a series of hairpin turns with mountains on one side and sheer drops on the other; stunning. 

Turning inland from the coast you pass the narrow strait and round the headland into the inner bay that is undoubtedly one of the most impressive bays in the world.

Suddenly youíre enfolded in a mountainous embrace, sheer mountain walls rising up from the steely blue waters of the lake.  Eventually the incredible walled town of Kotor comes into view, its fortifications arcing up the mountainside. Most travelers stop here, to bask in this incredible beauty and ancient history.  The road continues on, narrowing considerably after leaving the town. It follows the waterís edge, passing a scattering of ancient villages before rounding the corner and broadening out again at Lepetane.  From here we took the bus to Ulcinj.

Ulcinj is visited because of the sun, sea, and sandy beaches.  Many visitors have pointed out that those are "God given beaches made out of the pettiest grains of grayish and warm sand. Warm, clear and transparent sea, with a transparency of 56 meters, makes this a memorable place to enjoy."  We had booked an apartment on booking.com and were dropped off at the end of a little alley - too small for the taxi to squeeze through.  We wandered around and around looking for the apartment, of course being in a local neighborhood, the names didn't match.  No one was there to meet us but when we finally searched out a contact person and stepped into the apartment we were shocked at the luxury and view.  After all we were in Montenegro and had no idea what to expect.  In fact, until the day before we had no idea Ulcinj even existed.  We wished we had longer in both countries!  Besides lovely beaches teaming with locals there were many walks through mountain forests and an enchanting Old City on the hill.  We had hit the jackpot!

On to Albania we were suddenly thrown a bit of a retro environment; old mixed with new, east being overcome by western ways, in a pleasant relaxing combination.  We were met at a bus stop and walked for over a mile to a side, hidden neighborhood.  Talk about chillin with the locals.  We slid right in and before we knew it we were shopping in the markets, looking through large department stores, having desserts in sidewalk cafes, walking corridors and parade routes of the former Communist Party of Albania.  We loved eating 'byrek' a spinach filled, flaky pastry with the locals. That alone would be worth returning to Tirana once again.  Hey, maybe we are phagomaniacs: (excessive desire for food or eating - sometime one particular item of the region).  Whatever the pigeon holing on this behavior, those triangular byrek pastries were to die for(and only about 25 cents each).  In one such sidewalk cafe we met a wonderful young college professor named Orion.  Near 7 feet tall he had studied in Minnesota, on a basketball scholarship of course, and could never quite figure out what all the fuss was about with organized sports.  A quiet guy, he loves to read and Joseph shared thousands of books with him.  We are still in touch with Orion and hope our paths cross again someday.  Just another one of those great people, in the great 90% of humanity, that we are fortunate to know.  Is your cup 90% full or 10% empty?

 

 

 

 

And so it goes.........................................Next flying into the massive crater of Santorini, Greece. Until then keep focusing on the 90% great people in the world.  They are everywhere you look! Take care and Keep in Touch!

 

 

 

Love, Light & Laughter, 

 
xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph

 

 

Travel notes:

$1US  = 125.31  Albanian Lek

 

$1US  = .93 Euro (currency since 2002 in Montenegro)

 

 

Montenegro:


Ulcinj:
Panorama Apartments -  check out on Booking.com
Magnificent view, clean modern $28/night

 

 

Albania:

Tirana:
M & G Apartments - check on Booking.com for your dates.  Have the host meet you and walk you to the apartment - hidden away.  Great location, central, very clean, quiet, like a students room. Owners very helpful. They must meet you and take you to the apartment, just email them.
 

 

 

 

 

"What A Wonderful World"

Louie Armstrong (1967)

 

I see trees of green,
red roses too.
I see them bloom,
for me and you.
And I think to myself,
what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue,
And clouds of white.
The bright blessed day,
The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow,
So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces,
Of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands.
Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying,
"I love you".

I hear babies cry,
I watch them grow,
They'll learn much more,
Than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

Oh yeah.


 

`


Montenegro is a gem along the
Adriatic Coast.

 


Off the travelers' radar, this place is a rough cut
gem waiting to be polished. 

 


Ancient coastal cities.

 


The incredible walled town of Kotor has
fortifications arcing up the mountainside.

 


Suddenly youíre enfolded in a mountainous
 embrace, sheer mountain walls rising up
from the steely blue waters of the lake.
 

 


Ulcinj is visited because of the sun, sea,
and sandy beaches.

 


"Warm, clear and transparent sea, with a transparency of
56 meters, makes this a memorable place to enjoy."

 


The old walled city of Ulcinj.

 


Narrow alleys to explore.

 


Cobblestone streets polished smooth from
centuries of footfalls.

 


A peaceful sunset from our balcony in Ulcinj.

 


A mosque with a church behind it; in Tirana, Albania.

 


Markets full of local fruits.

 


Hay mounds in the countryside.

 


Colorful mosaic outside a museum in Tirana.

 


An intense game of chess.

 


Skanderberg Square in Tirana.

 


The colors & symbols of the former
Communist Party of Albania.

 


The buildings are alive with symbolism.

 


A creative use of a baby stroller.

 


Tree lined side streets in Tirana.

 


Greenways and parks are filled with retired men
enjoying games of chess or cards.

 


A former mansion turned into shops and
restaurants.

 


Our new friend, Orion.  Just another one of those
 great people, in the great 90% of humanity, that we
are fortunateto know.  Is your cup 90% full
or 10% empty?

 


Skanderberg is a 15th-century nobleman who is a national
hero in Albania for resisting the Ottomans.

 


Another street side market full of summer's produce.

 


We met "Mr. Bean" in Albania.  So this is where he
takes his holidays!

 

 

 

 

 


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