We hit the Adrovic Hotel’s back patio overlooking Sveti Stefan’s impeccably gorgeous slice of the Adriatic Sea. What is going on with that little island/peninsula thing? All the sweet seats around the railing are taken already so we post up at a table with the next most unobstructed view.
From that drive in with Zen from the border to here, Montenegro may already be shaping up to be the scenic sleeper hit of the trip.
We spot a white-shirted server strutting over with a couple of menus. A sparkle forms in MacKay’s eyes. He’s mentally rubbing his hands together, “Brain suds?” “Derp. Charcuterie plate?” “Oooh.. Ya they probably have that, eh?” “For sure.” “In.”
The tall, handsome server dude leans over with the menus and says something in Montenegrin. He quickly (and politely) switches to English when this clearly does not register on our ignorant faces, “Gentlemen?” “Hey there. Swell spot you’ve got here.” “Haha yes, can’t argue the view. Drinks?” “Any local draft will do nicely.” “Two?” “Yes, please.” A quick scan of the food items. Ohhh yes. Perfect. Our meat and cheese dreams, soon to be realized. Tilt towards MacKay and point. Excited head nod. Back to the server, “And the charcuterie plate, please?” “Ah. Good.”
He brings back two glorious steins. “This place is kinda swanky.” “Ya we don’t fit in at all. Crush a few beers and check out that island thing?” “For sure. Wonder if you can rent jetskis down there?” “Daaaamn. That would be fun. Pffffft… can you picture the two of us jumping the fucking bridge on jetskis?!” “Haha toss Euros down on everyone.” “Keep tha change ya jabronis!” “Hahaha…” One beer, this is our conversation. And still reminiscing about our Shkodra dog posse whilst gawking the view.
“I’m gonna get Narco in on this.” “No doubt.” I take my tiny stuffed companion to the railing for a super manly photo op.
While I’m doing this I overhear the older couple at the table beside talking about the island. Their heavy Irish accents give them away. “… and, to be sure, all of the windows are shuttered up!” Oh yeah, look at that. Hmmm, maybe we won’t be investigating that island after all.
I lean in and politely insert myself into their conversation, “I’m sorry. Did you say it’s closed off down there.” “Yes, yes. Gates are closed.” He’s got a little Montenegro tourism book, index finger’s scanning a passage. “It’s a private resort. Used to be it’s own country and it got bought up.” “Oh wow. Wait.. that little island was it’s own country?” “Ya, interesting, ay? And it’s all boarded up and closed down right now. Off season.” The wife is disappointed, “That’s such a shame.” “Ya seriously. I’d love to walk around in there.” “We were hoping so too.”
This, of course, leads into the ‘so where ya from? where ya to?’ topics. They’re thrilled to hear my last name is Murphy, “Oh you’ll have to come over and explore the heritage.” “For sure, for sure. Been meaning to for years. I’ll crash at your place haha!” “Yes, yes! By all means, boy!”
They have a son in Vancouver and love visiting him there. My brother also lives in Vancouver, so we spin a few yarns about the place. They’re excited for the son to come home for Xmas this year.
These guys are great. Gotta love the Irish, I think we could just shoot the shit for hours. But I can see that they’re all finished up, “I’ll let you folks go. Thanks for the info. Probably saved us a solid hour going down there.” “Nice meeting you, Murphy. Come to the island some time.” “I will for sure. You take it easy now.”
I get back to the table as the food and more beer arrives. “Well they’re not skimping on the provisions.” “Haha there’s, like, 5 sandwiches worth of shit here!”
It’s all to-die-for ingredients too. The olives alone are heavenly.
“Well I’m glad I talked to those Irish folks. Guess we won’t be going to the island. It’s an off-season resort” “Hmmm. We could jump jetskis into the main square…” “We could. We could. How badass would it be to have a paintball fight on that island?” “Running around the buildings. That would be sick.” “So what now?” “I dunno. Well, what’s that city across the bay there? Could check that out.” “Hmmm ya. Could do.”
The Adrovic Hotel guest network is a little spotty but over the course of a beer we figure out that the town in the distance is named Budva. It actually looks killer. Similar Adriatic view, obviously, but with a walled fortress right on the coastline. Looks like there are hostel rooms in the old town we could nab on the cheap too. Not sure why we wouldn’t do this.
“So just get to Budva and nuke it? Make our way to Kotor tomorrow?” “Good a plan as any.” “I like it. Another beer?” “Good a plan as any.”
With that settled we take our time nibbling away at the massive app plate and swilling our huge Nikšićko pivos. Deadly spot to kick back with a beer. Still can’t get over the view. I book us a room in Budva at some spot called Freedom Hostel 2.
We watch a lone paraglider slowly come down to the bay from the Eastern mountain tops. So cool. That would be fun. They land down on the beach by the island.
While this is going on, two fashionable girls pull a car over off the side of the road and just Instagram the fuck out of it for around twenty minutes. Pose. Review. Tilt head pose. Review. Arch knee pose. Review. Denim jacket off one shoulder. Review. That’s the one. Yep that’s the one. Well… maybe a hundred more. Review. Nope. More. Review. Ok they’re good. Sveti Stefan = Conquered. Off to the next gramable place.
Hmmm ok? I follow suit with this pic I’ve taken 30 times almost the exact same way since getting here.
“I’m gonna toss this one on the graaaaaaaaaam!” “Haha look out! Mega influencer over here. Do it for the graaaaaaaaaam!” “This pic of a beautiful place no one will ever get to should generate a solid 15 likes.” “Well it’s not like it’s a post-workout bathroom selfie or some faux life coach bullshit.” “Ooof ruthless. Insta-burn. Excuse me? I’m working on my brand bro. You don’t even have an account, do you?” “Nah. Actually, I started one to follow you and Queebs in Japan but never posted anything.” “Oh right. You’re like my mom stalking me on facebook with no profile picture.” “Yep. I’m exactly like your mom…”
After an avalanche of increasingly absurd mom jokes (sorry moms) and our third liter of beer we start wrapping things up. We grab our packs and thank the server on the way out.
We stand by the road hoping for the next Zen to come by with a chariot. Ten minutes. No dice. We take turns unloading 3 liters of beer in the hotel restroom. Back to the road. Still no taxi. “Alright, I’ll go ask the bartender.”
Inside there is a cute bartender girl behind the bar blowing on some cream on her thumb. “Oh no. Did you burn yourself?” “Yeah, hot water.” “Ahhh, that sucks.” “It hurts.”
I explain our interest in getting to Budva and she’s quick to hop on the phone. “Ten minutes, they’re coming from Budva.” “Great, thanks so much. Hope you feel better.” “Ugh. Thank-you.”
Grab one last shot of this crazy place.
A little yellow hatchback taxi pulls up. MacKay’s BSB barely fits in the trunk and I carry mine on my lap. “Yes?” “Freedom Hostel 2, please.” “I do not know.” “Ok. Anywhere in old town should be good.” “Ah ok. Old Town. Thank-you.”
It only takes 6 minutes to get around the bend to Budva. The taxi pulls through a roundabout and drops us at the end of a roadway. Looks like it’s pedestrian walkways from here to the water. Cool looking place. We thank Hatchback Dude and grab our stuff.
I saved the location of the hostel in a cached map on my phone. Hmmmm let’s see. Sweet, straight towards the water.
“Oh shit, there’s a castle.” “Ahhh I think we’re staying in that castle, actually.” “Really?” “Well the little blue dot is passed those walls and then its the water soooo. Ya, I think so.” “That’s baller.”
We get through the Old Town walls and it opens up into narrow stone pathways throughout the walled interior.
“Dude. This is nuts.” “Yeah, what the hell? Good find.”
We follow the blinking blue blip slightly to the right and there it is hidden in a nook, Freedom Hostel 2.
Budva. We’re on the case…