It’s time for another Balkan trip.
This is the first time that I am posting my tentative itinerary before I travel, in the hope to solicit advice from locals or fellow travelers, learn about interesting stories/places/people to write about, find somebody for a hike in the mountains or even to find places to stay. Here is my Couchsurfing profile with plenty of reviews, so that you can be sure that I am an easy and friendly guest and that I can reward you with travel stories that will change your life for the better (or at least entertain you for a few hours).
23 October 2014 – Timișoara, Romania
This will be my first time in Timișoara, which several Romanians have advertised to me as their country’s most beautiful city. I’ll only have one day though, because the next morning I continue to Serbia by train.
24 October 2014 – Belgrade, Serbia
I was in Belgrade in February 2009 when the city was covered in snow and ice. It was so cold that I couldn’t spend much time outside. This time, I will have only one day because I will fly to Montenegro early next morning. (In 2009 I stayed at Hotel Moskva, the grand building on the postcard, but it seems to have become unaffordably expensive since then. Or maybe I was still rich back then.)
25-27 October 2014 – Podgorica, Montenegro
On Sunday, 26 October 2014, I will take part in the half marathon from Danilovgrad to Podgorica. The day before and the day after, I will be in Podgorica as well, although I might have to spend the day after running 21 km in bed or a bathtub instead of seeing much of the city. After such a physical endeavor, I am usually limping for two days.
from 28 October – Montenegro
And then I will explore Montenegro. This is the part which I haven’t planned in detail yet. I won’t have a car, so I will have to rely on trains and buses or the kindness of others.
I definitely want to visit Cetinje. I like these smaller towns, especially if they once were the historical capital. They usually have a lot of the old grandeur left, but are less crowded or busy than the current capital (although I am aware that the President resides in Cetinje again).
My biggest dream is to go to Mrtvica Canyon for a whole day of hiking.
But I know it’s hard to get there, so I am looking for someone who wants to go there as well or who would borrow/rent me a car for a day. I was thinking of staying at Kolašin to have a base in the mountains.
The Biogradska Gora National Park is enticing as well, but it too would require a car.
I would also like walk from Kotor to Tivat, across Vrmac, which looks like a doable hike (15 km).
From Tivat I will fly back to Belgrade. (I haven’t decided on the date yet, and at this time of year I hope that I can simply pop up at the airport and find a seat.) Originally I had planned to return to Serbia with the famous and fantastic Bar-Belgrade Railway to enjoy the spectacular views and to get off at some smaller cities in Serbia. But it seems that due to the floods in summer 2014, it is currently rerouted in Serbia and the service only runs at night. – I am still in Eastern Europe until May 2015 and I hope I will have another chance for this scenic journey after the track will be repaired.
2 or 3 days – Shkodër and Lake Komani, Albania
This summer I spent a wonderful week in Albania, but I didn’t have time to go to the north of the country. Thus, I plan to visit Shkodër on this trip and spend a relaxing day on the ferry on Lake Komani.
I know it’s a long trip – and I still have to make it back from Belgrade to Târgu Mureș, but it may be the last chance for a long trip before winter.