Montenegro

Unexpected pilgrim’s journey

When a cashier says to you - RUN!FASTER! or about white lights It was one of the days when I and my two friends decided to go somewhere but not to lie on the beach again. So Montenegro, Budva, days by days between mountains and the sea, awesome people, the most delicious food, the freshest air, and the sun that was everywhere. In the sky, in the sea, in the soul.

Even now when I think about these vacation I remember the sunlight on the shimmering waves. But even the rest is going to get bored. So this day we wanted to wander again and look the way to Cetinje, the Old Royal capital of Montenegro. It took about 15 seconds to buy tickets and there were only 5 to take the bus. So after the cashier had taken our money and throw tickets back, we run to our bus. Under the same ruthless sun it took only 40 minutes to go to Cetinje, that surprised us so much. For one moment we thought that we are in Switzerland.

Tiny cozy towns between hills, little buildings, open street and a big sky. We went to the main hill of the town to look at it from above. It was a long way with interesting people and unexpected meetings. But the most unexpected was a couple from Russia that told us their story about visiting of Monastery of Ostrog – a monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church situated against an almost vertical background right in the rock. The most popular pilgrimage place on the Balcans because of the relics of Saint Basil of Ostrog.

My friend told us that she had read something about it and it would be great to go there. And it was. The way to Ostrog included the bus to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. Should I say that we almost didn’t wait our bus? But the culmination was in Podgorica, we had no idea where is the Ostrog. But if you ask you get. The cashier told us how to get there and everything and when we got our tickets, there was a moment of truth-when is our bus? ⁃ Oh. Right now actually. U should RUN! FASTER!..

But we ran already and only ‘to the right’ was the last we heard and because we didn’t ask what was our bus stop so the whole bus tried to guess where we were going ⁃ and anyway we did it. We had 8 km to go on the serpentine up to the sky. Who knew that there is another point to start much closer? And who knew that last bus back goes back at 9 pm. We absolutely didn’t.

Almost the whole way was with the amazing views of the valley, the mountains, a village, right there, right down. Our road was barely for two cars, the most way only for one and a half. I remember the white line on the right side and no fences, so if you take step to the right you fall.

There is the tradition to go to Ostrog barefoot. Actually I don’t know the point of start but my friends were sure they were on the right way. I can say about 4 km they took without shoes. And at the end there were only paths and stones. And it wasn’t the hardest part. Until the storm started. Actually I’ve never heard about storm in the wood on the mountain but I truly can’t forget it.

Wind, noise, lightning everywhere, fog and it’s like you are not on the mountain and nothing else exists - only the road ahead and the rain. The visibility is not more than 5 meters and you feel this increased desire to reach the Monastery. Lightning was everywhere. We removed cameras and selfie sticks in backpacks, someone read a prayer and further we went in silence. Maybe it was necessary to feel this silence. When we reached the Monastery, we could not believe our eyes how many people had gathered there and everyone was hiding from the rain, people of different nationalities, different faiths, different histories and experiences of waiting for a miracle. And I believe a miracle happened.

As soon as we got in line and climbed even higher, a window of light appeared in the sky and spread its light over the valley. The sun looked out, illuminating the entire valley clarifying its individual parts. Such an indescribable contrast and such a revelation. This day was amazing not only by the coincidence of circumstances, of the drive from the new emotions but also of the meaning that we felt.

On the top

We did not want to leave and if we desired, we could stay overnight right under the stars at the Monastery with the others, but knowing how hard it would be the way home the next day, we decided to return that day. All these 8 km back. The way that was up was of course less time than down. But at 8 it sharply darkened. And again the white color was near- white stripe on the left hand, my white shirt that was a flag in the night, just for cars to see us, white hat of my friend, so we could be seen from behind. We have introduced a new rule: whoever hears the car must scream “A CAR”, and the rest to repeat and stop. We followed each other and didn't go far. We didn't get into other people's cars. Half way it was easy but then the darkness began to press.

And then the light turned on at the top of the mountain. I don't know from where, but honestly, I still believe that the lantern accompanied us in our journey a little. By the end, fatigue was unbearable and the strain kicked in and I began to sing, by the way, I don't know how to sing right, but my friends supported my idea and honestly I have never been so cool in singing, actually screaming in the dark of the mountains. Was this the end of the adventure? No. The buses no longer ran, there were two taxi drivers on the road. And we were stubbornly waiting for a bus on the highway. There was field for the highway, mountains behind and nothing else.

Behind

After a while we agreed to get a ride to the capital. Once again many thanks to those taxi drivers. For riding us home for our last pennies. Because we were almost out of money. I remember how we struggled with sleeping in a taxi and how bright was the bus station. The bus departed as you understand “right now”. And now means now. The road to home was short. I closed my eyes and opened it at the house. But the next day we don't remember still. I consider this hike was one of the most important in the life. And as all most fine in life its opportunity arose here one day so spontaneously unexpectedly and precisely to the best.

#crestcontest #pilgrim #Montenegro #Budva #Cetinje #Monastery #Ostrog #summer

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