I think that if someone held a gun to my head and told me that I had to say something nice about Bar, this port town on the coast of Montenegro, I’d probably be dead.
When heading there from Budva, it was originally our intention to head on to Ulcinj and then to Albania. When we arrived we were greeted by sleazy taxi drivers who were trying to tell us that there were no buses to Tirana (the capital of Albania) or even just across the border. Not wanting to believe these annoying guys, we asked the woman at the ticket counter if there were any buses to Albania. She said that there weren’t. We then asked if there were buses from Ulcinj in to Albania. She glanced over at the taxi driver and said that there weren’t. This glance was all we really needed to realize that they had a lovely little scam going to hook tourists. While we can speak the language, it’s clear that we’re not locals and so they were trying to take advantage of us.
With the realizing that we looked like cows ripe for milking, we made the quick decision to take the train straight up to Belgrade to stay with a cousin of mine and avoid this whole mess. You see, beyond the sleaziness of this town and the fact that the ticket woman was a remnant of the Communist attitudes that will hopefully die off in a couple more decades, there is nothing in Bar. Yeah, there’s a little beach, but I wouldn’t swim in it because their massive port is right there as well and the water is bound to be filthy. Maybe it’s a bit cheaper to stay there for a holiday, but you’d have to be pretty down on your luck to do that, since Montenegro in general isn’t that expensive just yet.
Oh, once we decided to move on, the taxi drivers kept following us and even a polite, “Stop it, we’re taking the train.” Was answered with, “The train?!! That takes two days to get to Belgrade.” A slight overstatement as it’s really a scheduled 8.5 hours and just another reason to mention that if you find yourself in Bar, Montenegro at any point, get the hell out as fast as you can. Now if you happen to be a Brit, Aussie, or Yank on a drinking holiday and then, “Bar? Bar?!! You mean it’s spelled B-A-R?!! Oh yeah, get the lads, we’re there!” by all means go to Bar immediately and begin the binge of a lifetime.