Art students of Sofia, Bulgaria have transformed the ugly green boxes (found in most cities) housing electrical transformers and telecommunications wiring. I love the word play on transformed transformers between Sofia and Podgorica transformers.
Between Belgrade, Serbia and Podgorica, Montenegro, we spent a week in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina. This seems to mark a point in our journey where current online information is not available or not reliable. We could not find any bus schedules leaving in the morning from Belgrade for Sarajevo. Furthermore, there did not appear to be any good connections from Sarajevo continuing down to Albania. With a little scouting around, we found all the information we needed.
First, GEA Tours provides minibus door-to-door service. We contacted them by email and made arrangements before arriving in Belgrade. As we had time, we visited them at their offices, a very active and dynamic organization. They called our host before setting out and picked us up ten minutes later. It was great that we were the second pick-up so we had a chance to see other Belgrade neighborhoods. When we visited the offices a few days before, I only saw three names on the booking sheet. I was surprised that we went all over the city and filled up the minibus with all eight seats.
We left the Balkan plains and headed into the mountains surrounding Sarajevo. The mist and rain turned into snow, quite early for Sarajevo. The driver had no problem. I was hoping we would be the last off the minibus in Sarajevo so we could get a free tour. After winding around some hills, he pulled up to our place in the old city first. The locals were surprised that these two foreigners were jumping out right in a residential neighborhood.
We enjoyed wandering around Sarajevo. From research on Trip Advisor, we discovered there are two bus stations, one near the Train Station and one on the Serb section, called the East Bus Station. That is where to catch a bus for the South. The trolley bus 103 leaves from the Latinski Most (Latin Bridge where the Archduke of Austro-Hungary was assasinated in 1914) and stops about 100 meters north of the Autobuska Stanica Lukavica.
With some basic English and written notes, we purchased tickets to Podgorica, Montenegro for the following Wednesday. The agents were amused as everybody buys their tickets just 30 minutes before the bus leaves.
The day before leaving Sarajevo treated us to a brilliant sunset.
It was a clear day as we headed out of Sarajevo for Montenegro with just four other passengers. Along the way, we picked up and dropped off at various villages. The route took us back through mountain gorges painted with autumn colors. Photos cannot do justice.
The border crossing took about thirty minutes. A number of cats kept tabs on the vehicles. Our van successfully negotiated all the tight turns and narrow roads over the Balkan divides.
After other Balkan countries, many travelers have felt a let down on visiting the capital of Montenegro. For me it has been just the opposite. The historical tension of Sarajevo evaporated into relaxed fun of a city that does not take itself too seriously. Perhaps, Podgorica (pronounced Pode, rhymes with rode – Go – Rizza, rhymes with Pizza) has some similarities to Trieste. More importantly, the citizens and visitors are protected by life size transformers. Here are the seven guardians:
Protector of our apartment.
Parks and Pedestrian areas under control
Sometimes tourists need to be shaken up a little bit.
Small or Gigantic, each has a purpose.