Montenegro, Will You Marry Me?

One day in the far, far off future I’ll be sat in a rocking chair on the porch of the really cute Residential Home 90-year old me will be a resident of, having a deep and meaningful natter with one of my old lady friends, Nancy.

We’ll be eating French Fancies and sipping blackberry tea out of vintage teacups that look remarkably like Chip from Beauty & the Beast. Oh, we’ll also be somewhere not in the UK because LOL what even is a porch!

Nancy and I will be reminiscing about the good old days when cars didn’t fly and supermarkets were run by people instead of robots; when Morgan Freeman was unanimously voted President of the United States following Trump’s untimely death by choking on a tangerine; when the UK was actually friends with the rest of Europe and not just some lonely little friendless weirdo floating in the middle of the ocean with nothing but shortbread biscuits and teabags to call their own.

Somewhere in between the hoots of laughter and impressions of Darth Vader (because what else would two old ladies swinging on a front porch do together), Nancy will stop in her tracks, look me dead in the eye and say:

“Ethel*, what’s been the happiest accident of your life?”

*For the sake of dramatic effect, my name has been temporarily changed to Ethel, which is way more of an old lady name than Rhiannon.

My answer will come as a surprise to Nancy, who met me for the first time while celebrating our 82nd and 83rd birthdays with a skydive in Dubai, and so didn’t know much about my life pre-false teeth.

She’s expecting to hear me say one of my three children, Xerox, Xanax and Xylophone, all of whom could be considered ‘happy accidents’ depending on how you look at it.

If not my children she’d maybe expect to hear (for the fifteen hundredth time) that story of how I accidentally dropped a dish of prawn cocktail on Barack Obama while moonlighting as a waitress in Hawaii.

But no.

Do you know what my answer to Ethel will be?

“Montenegro.”

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At my current 24 years of age (with what’s hopefully a long, long way to go before Ethel and Nancy become my reality), Montenegro has been the happiest accident of my life so far.

Or maybe we should push that to joint happiest, alongside that time I happened to be walking past the world premier of Flight in London and got to meet Denzel Washington. The Denzel Washington. It’s okay, you can be jealous.

I’d like to think that happier accidents will occur further down the line of my life (falling into a manhole filled with £50 notes would be a nice one), but for now my accidental captivation with Montenegro will do.


Visiting Montenegro was never my intention.


It was my stubbornness and unwillingness to pay more than £50 for a flight anywhere in Europe that landed me smack bang in the middle of what turned out to be one of my favourite countries ever. And yeah, I say that about more or less everywhere I visit, but nowhere on this earth has made me catch my breath quite as quickly, or sharply, as Montenegro did.

You know that bit in Part of Your World (the Disney version, not Peter Andre) where Ariel goes “But who cares? No big deal. I want more!” and delivers that last line with an astonishing amount of gusto for such a tiny little mermaid?

That was me after just 3 days and 2 towns in Montenegro.

I want more. I want so much more.

From the very second my plane touched down at Podgorica Airport (which, FYI is absolute teeny tiny) and I had a momentary “Shit, I’m not in the EU anymore – do I need a visa?” panic (no visa needed for UK fellas, you’re good), my stay was full of pinch-me moments.

From getting into a taxi which turned out to be a not-taxi, as I discovered when my driver pulled over by the side of the road to throw the “Taxi” sign from the roof of his car into the boot and then proceeded to first give his mate a lift home before taking me to the bus station, to finding myself in the middle of Sims Medieval and Hobbiton in the same day, Montenegro was everything I never imagined it to be.

And I say never imagined it to be because, other than the occasional throwaway “where’s that?” comment whenever Montenegro is mentioned on the Eurovision Song Contest, I’ve never really given the country much thought.

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It wasn’t until planning a trip to Croatia and finding it to be more than £100 cheaper to fly first to Berlin, then on to Montenegro, then bus it into Croatia, that it became a blip on my “I really want to go there” radar. Even then, it was more of an “I kind of want to go there” radar.

Then I came across this post on Caroline’s blog and around the same time my brother’s brother-in-law mentioned in passing how there was some sort of mountain or canyon in Montenegro he wanted to go to, and all of a sudden for every time Montenegro hadn’t crossed my mind in the past, it was crossing my mind twofold.

So instead of flying into Podgorica and getting a bus straight to Croatia that very same day, I decided to give myself a few days in Montenegro, “see what all the fuss was about” so to speak.

The verdict?

Let’s just say, if funds had allowed it I’d still be there right now.

The sky was grey for almost my whole stay, and the Heavens well and truly opened themselves up to me half way through day two. Nevertheless, my normally quintessentially British (in that I will let bad weather ruin anything) self didn’t mind for once! I was so happy being there, living my own little medieval fantasy that I didn’t even care that my socks got wet or that I ended up resembling a drowned rat.


Montenegro well and truly enchanted me.


I haven’t felt this much desire to return to a place since I was living in Spain and found a local supermarket that sold Cathedral City cheddar cheese at a decent(ish) price.

It’s totally bizarre because like I already said, I only spent 3 days there and visited 2 towns. But still, I’m already looking into cheap flights for later on in the year, hopefully to spend more than just a few days in the one concentrated location.

So yes, Nancy of the future, Montenegro was my happiest accident.

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67 Comments

  1. 8th March 2017 / 11:22 am

    Haha, love the hypothetical introduction- it was adorable and poignant! Never would have thought of Montenegro to be a place to visit, but looks like you were blown away and can’t wait to go back. I hope you do! I’d love to see what more you have to say about the place, as well as Croatia and anywhere else you go to in the Slavic countries!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 1:54 pm

      Honestly, I had the same thinking as you! But it’s SO beautiful and relatively unspoilt by the tourism industry right now compared to the rest of Europe. Ooh thank you – I just got back home 2 days ago so expect lots of posts in the next week or two!

  2. 8th March 2017 / 7:13 pm

    I think following BA’s cheap tricks, more and more of us will be turning to low-cost airlines. I am a great fan of those cheap tickets too. The porch reminiscing is too cute and funny btw. I am trying to visualise Morgan Freeman. Oh wait, I actually can.

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 1:58 pm

      I’ve actually never used BA or any other big airline to fly within Europe; I don’t see there being much point when budget does the job for a third of the price! Oh, Morgan Freeman would do a bloody fantastic job!

  3. 9th March 2017 / 12:51 am

    I just loved reading this. You are a very talented and creative writer. But the reason I enjoyed reading it the most is because I found a cheap airfare to Split, Croatia and will be there for a couple of days before heading to Dubrovnik. So, based on your post, I am going to head to Montenegro. I can’t wait to discover it. Thanks for the fun and inspiring read.

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 1:59 pm

      You’re more than welcome! Hope you have a wonderful time in Croatia and hopefully Montenegro if you make it over!

  4. 9th March 2017 / 6:25 am

    What a wonderful place to stumble upon. I definitely need to add Montenegro to my travel list. Some of the best vacations I have had were places I didn’t plan on going. It’s like it was meant to be. Love the post!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:00 pm

      It’s so beautiful, you should definitely try and head there if you ever get the chance.

  5. 9th March 2017 / 6:26 am

    Ok so first, I am so so glad that my blog post pushed you towards Montenegro!! I LOVED that country and would give anything to be able to afford a villa on the hills overlooking the water one day. Secondly I have been loving reading about your recent trip! It’s been four years since I went backpacking around that part of Europe and it’s been so lovely to refresh myself on that part of the world!
    If you do go back to Montenegro this year, I would 100% recommend you take a bus over to Bosnia for a few days. We only visited Mostar but omg it was the most stunning thing!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:04 pm

      If you ever get yourself that villa well then you should probably be prepared to have a pretty regular visitor come summertime!
      I was actually looking into taking a day trip to Mostar while I was out there but eventually decided not to get greedy and to stick with Croatia haha. With that being said, the other day I found an absolute bargain of a deal – £25 return to Tuzla in June – so Bosnia may actually be on the cards.

  6. 9th March 2017 / 8:30 am

    You made me laugh reading this. I like the way you wrote this and still managed to introduce Montenegro. The skydiving though, still makes me laugh! Thank you for making my day.

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:07 pm

      No, thank you for reading! 😀 I’m glad to have been able to entertain you .

  7. 9th March 2017 / 8:47 am

    I would love to hear more specifics about Montenegro! We will be spending a month there in June and I am trying to figure out where to go. We spent a month in Croatia (Hvar Island and a road trip through Krka and Plitvice National Parks) in December and loved it!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:06 pm

      Oh wow I’m so jealous of you! I only visited Kotor and Perast but they were both absolutely stunning. A lot like many of the places I visited in Croatia, but shrunken down, if that makes sense?

  8. 9th March 2017 / 10:46 am

    I’d like to read an entire web series about the adventures of Nancy & Ethel! Please make this happen haha.

    In my old job we had a client there but in the fancy pants marina bit and I would look longingly at the colour of the water. It sounds like an amazing place and you’ve definitely peaked my interest in going!

    http://amyevans.blog – Amy

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:08 pm

      Haha I might just have to! They’re an unprecedented hit!
      Britain doesn’t give Eastern Europe enough credit! Forget Spain – the waters of Montenegro are a much nicer colour.

  9. 9th March 2017 / 3:32 pm

    When I read French Fancies, I suddenly had an urge to go to Morrisons! I am actually traveling only by land through Montenegro this Autumn so I am very excited about it after your review. The good news is that we don’t need a visa, I could have had the same thoughts as you before arriving at the border. Did you really meet Denzel Washington?

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:11 pm

      Go! French Fancies are the best.
      Oh wow, I’m excited for you (and super jealous!). The visa situation was strange – no visa needed which is fine, then they stamped my passport on entry but not on exit. Not sure if that’s supposed to happen!
      Yeah I did! Very random and unplanned – just happened to be walking past the theatre where the premiere was being held and got way too nosy for my own good. Ended up right by the barriers of the red carpet and he came over to hold a baby (not mine) and have a chat.

  10. 9th March 2017 / 5:55 pm

    I love this story!! I especially love that you didn’t end up there intentionally, but because you didn’t want to spend a ton of money for a flight elsewhere. I too often choose where to go based on flight price/convenience, which sometimes is great and other times is not. I was near Montenegro last summer but didn’t hop over — next time I certainly will! Thanks for sharing

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:13 pm

      So far I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to flying somewhere because it’s cheaper, but I’m just waiting for the day when it all goes belly up!
      You definitely should if you find yourself near again – it’s absolutely stunning.

  11. 9th March 2017 / 6:24 pm

    those pictures – gorgeous! So helpful knowing to that there’s bang for your buck out there, and Croatia is hopefully getting booked this summer so fingers crossed I can take a leaf out of your book!!!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:13 pm

      Oh wow, hope you have an amazing time if you end up going! I imagine in the summer everything would just look even more stunning.

  12. Riely
    9th March 2017 / 9:30 pm

    I loved the opening with your imaginative friendship with Nancy! I have never given Montenegro a thought myself. It always seems, in my case, that the best trips happen by accident or when your expectations are set a little lower. I’ll have to look into Montenegro more.

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:14 pm

      Thank you! I know right? I often mind myself looking forward to a particular pre-planned section of a trip but end up enjoying the unexpected part more.

  13. 9th March 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Love the photograph of the door. Montenegro reminds of James Bond movies. Loved the way you have started the post. Had fun reading it and imagining a 82 year old sky diving. 😀 😀

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:16 pm

      I’ve never watched any James Bond movies but am I right in thinking one of them is supposedly set in Montenegro? Or have I got my wires crossed completely?! Thank you for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed.

  14. 9th March 2017 / 9:44 pm

    This is what I will say “creative writing.” Very imaginative and something akin to “Back to the Future.” Sometimes, unplanned destination offers unexpected surprises and pleasant experiences which we will relish for the rest of our lives. Just curious, did Montenegro reply “Yes!?”

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:17 pm

      It actually told me not to rush into things and that we need to spend a little more time together first! So I guess I’ll just have to go back and try again next time!

  15. 10th March 2017 / 1:07 am

    Beautiful piece, as always. Your imagination knows no bounds. Genuinely just waiting for you to announce a book launch – I’d be all over that!! Haha. You’re very lucky that your job allows you all this time – and, of course, the option to stay away at will!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:21 pm

      Wow! Well if a book ever comes to light you can definitely be one of my beta testers haha. Oh I’m definitely lucky, and absolutely relishing the fact that for now I don’t have responsibilities.

  16. 10th March 2017 / 2:43 am

    I’ve actually been fortunate enough to visit Montenegro last year when I was checking out Dubrovnik in Croatia and I can totally emphasise with what you said. Certainly, like you, my visit there was really more of an aside to the “real” trip although it proved to be an undeniable highlight, the whole country although particularly the cobbled streets exuding a wonderful charm. I loved your introduction to this post, really entertaining and a thoroughly great read

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:22 pm

      Happy to see that it’s not just me under Montenegro’s spell! I imagine if you went as a side trip from Dubrovnik you visited the same area as me in and around Kotor? The cobbled streets and the crazy crooked mountains were my favourite parts! Thank you for reading 🙂

  17. 10th March 2017 / 3:32 am

    What a cute intro. Perhaps the succession of the American Presidency might not be entirely accurate but who cares. It was a great intro. I am big time jealous of you guys being able to pick a flight for 50 quid over a long weekend that I would have to plan as a highlight for our summer vacation. Montenegro has flirted with my imagination ever since I dated a crazy Albanian girl. (long story). It always seemed like a rugged vestigial of ancient Europe. We will have to go sometime and check it out for ourselves. Of course, it will cost us a lot more than fifty bucks to get there.

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:27 pm

      Olympus Has Fallen was playing in the background as I was writing this, so Morgan Freeman was fresh in my mind!
      It’s only recently that I’ve truly started to appreciate just how good we’ve got it here. Not only freedom of movement throughout almost the whole of the continent, but the fact that flights are SO cheap! I flew to Germany for £7.99 once which was an absolute steal.
      Hopefully you’ll get to visit some day, and now I’m super intrigued about the Albanian girl..

  18. 10th March 2017 / 3:36 am

    Aw, the poor UK. It will have friends again one day:) And maybe even houses with porches. Montenegro sounds amazing, though I’m not sure it beats the Obama story;) That’s seriously funny!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:27 pm

      Hopefully sooner rather than later!
      Thank you for reading, I’m glad you found it funny 🙂

  19. 10th March 2017 / 4:55 am

    A beautifully told tale. It looks stunning, like the stuff of dreams. I will definitely look into a stopover when I visit Croatia which has been on my list forever.

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:28 pm

      Oh you really should! It only costs about €10 on the bus and is a mere 2 hours from Dubrovnik.

  20. 10th March 2017 / 8:46 am

    It looks like you have made the right choice to go to Croatia via Montenegro. Sometimes, things happened unexpectedly and glad this stopover was a great one for you! 😉

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:29 pm

      Absolutely! Everything happens for a reason, right? Whether unexpectedly or not!

  21. 10th March 2017 / 9:38 am

    This place just look amazing, certainly one of the best places to spend your vacation with friends and family as well. I am definitely going to add Montenegro to my travel list and hope to travel there by next year.
    Cheers

  22. 10th March 2017 / 10:16 am

    Yaaaas!! I’m so desperate to go to Montenegro and this has just confirmed it for me 😆
    I somehow ended up in Serbia just before Christmas and really wasn’t sure what to expect- but LOVED it…and everyone I met told me that Montenegro is like Serbia’s more beautiful cousin,especially in Summertime.
    So glad to have read this 😆

    Alex 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:31 pm

      It’s funny, after visiting Montenegro I now NEED to visit Serbia too. And Bosnia & Herzegovina. And Albania. I think that whole area is so beautiful in its landscape and its cities and towns, and right now is relatively untouched by the tourism industry which makes it even more wow.
      Hope you manage to get to Montenegro!!

  23. 10th March 2017 / 10:21 am

    Oh yeah, I’ve definitely been there with Iceland. I’m definitely in proposal/trying to marry the country mode after a 2.5 day layover there, and now I’m trying to annual visits if possible. Just can’t get enough of it there. However, I do want to visit Croatia and Montenegro too. I’m sure you will be an expert of the city soon enough that I’ll be back here for recommendations!

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:34 pm

      Aaahh I’d love to visit Iceland!! I’m on a mission to go to all Game of Thrones-related countries so it’s definitely “on the list”. I can totally see how it’s one of those “can’t get enough” countries.

  24. 11th March 2017 / 10:04 am

    I love when you find a perfect destination that you just fall in love with!! Hope you have a happy marriage with the country 😉 We have never been but it definitely on my list 🙂

    • rhiydwi
      11th March 2017 / 2:34 pm

      It’s the best feeling, right?! Haha, thank you! I’m sure we’ll make each other very happy.

  25. 11th March 2017 / 8:05 pm

    I loooooved Montenegro! It was such a gorgeous country – I’d love to go back as well, definitely more time needs to be spent exploring!

    • rhiydwi
      13th March 2017 / 2:34 pm

      It’s absolutely incredible, right? I only really saw Kotor & Perast but am itching to head back already!

  26. 11th March 2017 / 11:41 pm

    This is really a great text. I love the way you see yourself with 90 🙂 And i totally agree with you, when you write about places we don´t expect so much. This already happened to me, as the opposite. I visited Buenos Aires 3 weeks ago and i have a amazing idea of the town (based on what people said) and i find out that it´s not so true…

    • rhiydwi
      13th March 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Thank you Catarina! I think I have the same thoughts and feelings about Buenos Aires as you. It really did not live up to expectations for me.

  27. 13th March 2017 / 6:14 am

    This is a great read – I had never really thought of Montenegro before as a ‘must see’ destination but now you may have changed my mind a little.

    To be perfectly honest, I did a cheeky ‘google image’ search of Montenegro just to see what the hype was about. Honey, if you don’t marry Montenegro, I will!! Every image looks incredibly amazing!

    So glad I can now add this to my Euro List! Happy Travels Ethel 😉

    • rhiydwi
      13th March 2017 / 2:56 pm

      Neither had I! It was only because I’m such a cheapskate that I ended up going there, or else I doubt I ever would have. It’s so cheap to reach from the UK too, I’m surprised more people don’t go.
      Not wanting to sound intimidating here but back off my man country…

  28. 13th March 2017 / 5:08 pm

    I really love the way you write, your mind is so brilliant. Pass some of that exuberance unto me.

  29. 14th March 2017 / 6:54 pm

    Montenegro seems lovely, curious about Ethel’s other adventures 😛

    • rhiydwi
      15th March 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Hahaha I’m sure she’ll be getting up to a lot more in the future.

  30. 19th March 2017 / 5:58 am

    Is it wrong that my favorite part of this post is the bit about tangerine choking? (ah, wishful thinking.) Ethel sounds like a badass and Montenegro sounds lovely!

    • rhiydwi
      19th March 2017 / 12:57 pm

      Hahahaha not at all! And that’s actually the censored version of what I had in mind for him…

  31. 19th March 2017 / 9:49 am

    I am going to Montenegro in June and can’t wait. I have seen pictures on Kotor and it looks beautiful. Not quite sure how I am getting there as I fly into Athens but I am sure it will be involving a few buses. I can’t wait to explore now 🙂

  32. 1st April 2017 / 7:13 pm

    lol I love this post! Montenegro is #1 on my must-visit list this year, I’m so desperate to go now I’m back in Europe!

    • rhiydwi
      3rd April 2017 / 2:55 pm

      Ahh it’s such a beautiful country!! Hope you get there 😀

  33. 3rd April 2017 / 11:31 pm

    I haven’t heard about Montenegro before reading this post actually. After reading this, I just want to pack my stuff and go there. Montenegro is on my list now haha! I love how you intergrate your Instagram post within the article as well.

    • rhiydwi
      4th April 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Oh Montenegro is just beautiful!! I really hope you visit some day, I’m sure you’ll love it!

      And thank you! It took me way too long to work out how to do that haha.

  34. 5th April 2017 / 3:52 am

    Your introduction, though. Haha loved it! I know and I can feel how much fun you had through your writing but I don’t know how much it was for you to experience it, like for the real deal. Travel is just addicting, isn’t it? And with you have the adventurous soul and all the bravery got you to this beautiful incident which your future Ethel self will remember it! Look forward to your next beautiful incident! Anyway, have you ever been to Bali? Well if you haven’t then you should! Be it incident or planned trip to Bali, I bet you’ll love it! Come and let us provide you the best accommodation in our villa. Please do visit us to learn more, thank you!

    • rhiydwi
      6th April 2017 / 6:14 pm

      Oh yes, it’s SO addicting!

      Thank you so much for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      I haven’t been to Bali yet but it’s super high up on my list of places I’d like to visit. Hopefully within the next year or two! When I do I’ll definitely bear you guys in mind 😀

  35. 28th April 2017 / 7:38 pm

    wow, so funny, I love the way you write. I heard so much about Montenegro. It´s on my list but not the first priority. You made me thinking about putting it at a top place on my wish list.

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