Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring has sprung in Montenegro

The weather here has gotten so nice - flowers are blooming, the air is clear, and you can walk around outside without a jacket. Right now, it is a quiet Saturday morning here in Podgorica...the perfect time to catch up on some long overdue blogging! Let's see...where did I leave off??

Last week, Kaz flew in from Tokyo. I traveled to Vienna to meet him there, spend the night, and return to our new home base. Prior to my departure, I visited the Austrian Embassy here in Podgorica to see if I could get some travel information on their lovely city. I had been prepared to see some stray dogs here, but what I saw on my way to the Embassy topped my expectation...a stray horse. Yes, a stray horse. There are dumpsters set up along the roadways here where people leave their garbage...and rummaging through the dumpster was a very dirty, shabby white horse. He was pulling out the garbage bags and eating whatever food he could find. This was on a very busy street with cars flying by...he just stood there munching away, neighed, and then shuffled on down the street. My animal-loving heart broke a bit; I could not bring myself to take a picture but I am assuming that this may not be a usual site as some local man was taking a picture with a cell phone. What a lovely juxtaposition for this country!

Anyways, I digress. On to Vienna!! I now understand why it is said that this city is the greatest city to live in in the beautiful, quaint,, love! You see people from all corners of the world walking its cobblestone streets, mothers and children playing in the parks, fathers in suits walking hand-in-hand with their toddlers, and dogs happily romping in dog parks near the Danube.

But first, I had to get to this amazing city from Podgorica...

I flew on JAT Airways (the national airline of Serbia) from Podgorica to Belgrade and then on to Vienna. Prior to my departure, I was told by a local that JAT is in serious financial trouble and is looking for another airline to buy them out. Montenegrin Airlines is much more reliable. Note to self for future travel. This issue manifested itself on one of my flights. We all were seated on the plane, preparing for departure when the crew boarded the plane...2 pilots and 1 flight attendant. Normal procedure so far. As we were taxing, the safety instructions begin and out pops one of the pilots from the cockpit to demonstrate to us how to buckle our seat belts and where the emergency exits are located. He ducks back into the cockpit, we take off, and soon the in-flight service begins. And out pops this pilot again, kindly offering us drinks and cookies. You know your airline is in trouble when.....your pilot is pulling double-duty.

I arrived in Vienna around 10:30 a.m. and had the whole day to explore the city on my own as Kaz was to arrive around 4:00 p.m. I spent a good portion of the day exploring Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer palace.

I made my way back to the city center and then on to the airport to meet my hubby! Yay! =) We spent the late afternoon wandering the Innerstadt and had a nice dinner. We originally planned on a traditional Viennese meal but as we were walking around, we noticed quite a few Chinese restaurants. Now, mind you, there is only ONE Chinese restaurant in Podgorica, and if you read the reviews on the place, they don't inspire you to eat there! We thought it may be fun to have one last nice Asian meal before heading into the abyss of Asian cuisine that is Podgorica...and to my delight, we could order fried rice, mapo tofu, and Wiener Schnitzel!! In the words of Alton Brown, that is what I call some "good eats!"

This past week was Kaz's first week of work at the UNDP Montenegro office. We had settled in to the apartment but soon realized that the "character" that was at first adorable got a little old for long-term living. It was a great transition place but we decided that it would not hurt to look around to see what else may be available. And then we found this place...

We are on the 4th floor of a brand new building; there are 2 bedrooms, a large living space, and a huge L-shaped balcony. It is only 100 euros more than the previous place!! It is a little further from the city center but located in the "new" area of town near the university. Right across the road is the new shopping mall Delta City where there is a huge grocery store. The apartment is about a 25 minute walk to Kaz's office and maybe a 30-35 minute hike to the city center. We think it is well worth the extra effort and exercising does a body good!!

As for me...some of you may be thinking, "Wasn't Lisa going back to school to get into a nursing program? And then didn't she take the GRE and look into Master programs in Health Promotion and/or Education?" Yes, it is true...I did all those things, but I also realize that in life you only have the present moment. School will always be there but this once-in-a-lifetime travel adventure doesn't cross one's path every day. Here in Podgorica, I have a few things in the making and I will let you know when something comes to fruition!! Stay tuned............

1 comment:

  1. Lisa the new place looks great! You can definately do the 30 min hike into town. It'll be just like walking from Chez Levy to Caen city center. Love how sleek your place looks & I hope you and Kaz are settling into life there wonderfully!