Towards the end of our honeymoon, Burke and I went on a trip to Montenegro.  It began as our driver raced his way down the coast until we took a much needed break from the winding roads. We stopped with a perfect view of the Bay of Kotor, the southern most Fjord in Europe (although it is technically not a fjord, they tell tourists it is anyway).  In the bay was a small island which was built on sunken pirate ships!  From there we continued on to the walled city of Kotor.  The city was like a smaller version of Dubrovnik’s old town, but with more cats:).  The walls are the third UNESCO site we visited (Stari Most being the second) on our honeymoon… so full of culture.  After another typical Italian style lunch, we met with our group and rode to Budva.  On the drive our tour guide informed us that there are a lot of Russians in Montenegro, but oddly enough, Budva is a sister city to Banská Bystrica.  We walked around Budva, had an ice cream cone, and tried to find a beach.

Montenegro is a beautiful country, but their beaches are not.  The first beach was decent, but was packed beyond belief so we moved on to another beach that was almost the same, but with painfully sharp rocks.  Finally, we found an empty beach and decided to spend our last hours there, despite the rocks.  We settled in, but because of the extreme heat of the Mediterranean climate, we were almost instantly ready to get into the water.  We saw one family of locals wearing water shoes and wished we had the same, but since we did not we braved the sharp pebble beach and made way to the ocean.   To our dismay, we realized that once we were in the water, not only was there not sand underneath our feet, but giant sharp rocks!  It was like a sidewalk had been torn up and thrown into the ocean.  The logical solution?- just swim out.  We tried that.  The practically nonexistent decline maxxed out at about four feet in the swimming area.  I got out of the scummy water about as soon as I could and Burke followed, but the worst part of it all was that the hot weather meant we had to do it again about five minutes later when we were dry and hot.

Overall Montenegro was hot and not too inspiring, but the most thought-provoking part of the trip actually came occurred on the way back to Dubrovnik.  Since most of my prior international experience was in France, my feelings on language had been that I should really try to speak their language before asking them to speak mine.  However, it was in hearing a Croatian and a Russian in our minibus communicate entirely in English that I realized that English isn’t just my language, it’s a universal language.  That understanding has really changed my perspective and has been reinforced since being in Slovakia.  We’ve found several times that when we ask someone if they speak our language they take it as “do you speak this universal language” and if not then they usually respond by offering an alternative language.