25-26 April 2017
I headed by bus to Cetinje the next morning. A normally-40min trip turned out far longer thanks to some heavy tunnel works. It’s a shock they didn’t close it as it was beyond hazardous to go through it. It’s any Health & Safety man’s ultimate nightmare. The roads were horrendous, possibly as bad as the ones I saw in Cambodia…
Got to Cetinje, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Montenegro when it was eaten up by Serbia/Yugoslavia following World War I. Tiny town, but charming. You see all the history here, and the potential of being a tourist trap with the souvenir shops and people trying to be your tour guide. But I enjoyed a loop around the old town.
Eventually I headed to lunch at the one place I found online, Kole. Quiet still, and they didn’t have a few dishes I wanted to try, so I took a starter plate of house-made sausages while I looked over the extensive menu more with wine in hand…
Already big and it worried me, but this was very nice in a gluttony fashion. Rich and uncompromising, which is why I like this place. Then against my better judgement I ordered one of their specials, the Njeguški ražanj.
After a bit it came and again the portion was huge. I managed only 2 of them but it was excellent. The pork was done very well, nice and tender, and the stuffing of pršut, bacon and cheese was dreamy. Excellent, but probably enough calories to kill a rugby side… I thanked the friendly server and headed out, with the other 2 pieces of meat to take back to Podgorica.
Was rather chaotic at the bus station as a supposed 10min wait turned into 45min. A big bus, how is this gonna get through that construction? Turns out VERY CAREFULLY. We came so damn close to knocking down a few of the tunnel supporting beams that I thought we were gonna die by tunnel collapse… And it came so near a few other times as we flirted with the edge of a 100m cliff…and the fact this Yugo-bus (yes, it was that old, Tito-era stuff) was hot as hell people were passed out in the bus…
We survived as I got back to Podgorica, where I went to hydrate with juice at the nearest shop. After a wee rest at the hotel, headed out for a late dinner. Despite the bad dinner at Ahh Riba the previous day I went seafood again at a more modest place called Stari Ribar (“The Old Fisherman”). Very limited menu, only what the fisherman (my server!) caught during the day. Now this is more like it!
Took about an hour but my dish arrived after I already consumed my šopska salad…wow…
This was a marvel, baked eel just a few hours out of the river. Amazing. The taste of fresh (and not farmed) eel is amazing when you get the chance, the oil is just so much better. This was fabulous, this dish would cost 100 euros in Japan no doubt. Simple spices used is all that’s necessary. The baked polenta was thick but useful for the richness of the eels. Wow…
Had a good time chatting with the young partner of the business (server & fisherman). If there is one place I would most recommend during my stay here is this place. I can imagine hoardes of Japanese tourists here!
I headed back and chilled at my hotel’s rooftop bar for a bit before retiring. The next morning I finished packing and had a final lunch before I left town. Lunch was at the boutique Hemera Hotel‘s restaurant of the same name.
Pricey and slick, the menu looked far more refined than most places I went to. But I went with the grilled lamb — which they told me was a starter, so I asked for a plate of grilled veggies. And this came…
This is a starter? Wow… But this was excellent, true lamb — not the horribly bland stuff you get these days. Lovely lamb flavours cooked perfectly. The veggies helped with the rich meat.
Good stuff! I headed back to my hotel and then to the airport. I have to say I have mixed feelings about this place, mostly due to the smoke issues, but there’s so much potential here — almost a clean slate to create a huge tourism potential outside the already busy coastal area. Cetinje will get the tourists it needs from the coast too as a day getaway, but Podgorica has a lot of potential. It just needs more people to visit and for them to understand how international tourism works. But this place can succeed. I wish them luck.
Oh, and that eel…
12 Bulevar Crnogorskih Junaka
Cetinje, Crna Gora
Podgorica, Crna Gora