Buna/ Ada Bojana the island in the Mist


Out of all the places to cover in Montenegro this would seem the least popular when put against Budva, Tivar or Podgorica. This is a small yet characteristic place compared to the rest of Montenegro’s tourist attractions.

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Ulqin is the closest city to Ada Bojana and has a history of its own, which I won’t get into now, and probably won’t ever, however there is an interesting Afro-Albanian history involved as well as pirates and castles if you ever want to read up on it.

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Ada Bojana is a special bit of land, legend describes the formation of the island, saying that a sunken ship gathered sediment and formed the island, and if you dig deep you can find the ship.

There is a particular atmosphere here that is very typical of the Balkans in the way that there is a mixture of Balkan languages being spoken, a mentality and therefore behaviour that suits the region, yet there is also an air of relaxation. The wildlife in this area is unique to Europe and includes, Blu Jays, Sea gulls, Herrings, hundreds of species of fish, a local legend the Shagall, said to be a mix between a dog, a fox and a wolf… or something like that and of course the infamous Herman tortoise which originates from these parts.

The main attractions are the restaurants, one in particular which is a Montenegrin legend, Mishko. All restaurants here are fish restaurants of a high class with great reputations and with reason. Bojana is all about the fishing, the fishing season is in September when tourists return to their homes and the scorching heat from August mellows out. Every passionate fisherman in the region knows of this place and the fish it harbours.

Personally, I’m not too great at fishing but very passionate for sea food, so the menu’s here are (although pricey) just right for me.

For me the best days in Bojana are the quiet ones, watching the sun set, hearing hundreds of birds flutter around, and laying on our wood terrace above the water, listening to the waves from boats passing bay flush beneath me, picturesque.

There are flaws to every place, I feel, the flaws that I should highlight are the abundance of insects that inhabit this area, more particularly mosquitos. You will see creatures that not many people in Europe have the chance to, meet them face to face. However if you’re equipped with the right armour (spray, nets and of course guts) you’ll be fine.

If ever you’re passing through Montenegro, out of all the places, I highly recommend a short visit at first, see how you feel about the place, have one of Mishko’s famous fish stews ‘Ribla Corba’. I still haven’t met anyone that has done this without falling so deeply for the place that they’ve gone as far as bought houses here.

For all the info you need on Ada Bojana, from activities to property available visit: http://www.ada-bojana.ulcinj365.com/

What you can do:

  • Kite surfing: there are over 10 different kite surfing beaches on the right of the island. This ‘long beach’ is considered the best location in Europe for kite surfing, so expect a surf enthusiastic crowd along these beaches. These are a few from many:

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*DOlcinium

*Sandbox

*North Kiteboarding Club

  • Boating: if you don’t have your own boat, which most don’t, there are boat tours available, these go around the island and even to other islands into sea. A great experience for those that want to know more about their surroundings.
  • Nude resort: There is a famous nude beach on the island itself, in fact it’s a resort where auto-camping and horse riding are among activities available as well as more fantastic fish restaurants. The best restaurant on this side would have to be Cicko, with a magnificent view of the end of the river Buna and the beginning of a vast Adriatic sea , perfect time to visit would be at around six in the evening to catch the sun sink into the sand on the other side of the river.

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  • Fishing: as mentioned the river is great for fishing however fishing without a licence is not permittedIMG_4965

Destination Albania


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Theth 

Albania is an undiscovered gem, a vessel of potential, a shimmering diamond in the rough. This particular place that I’m about to describe is a gem that I’ve been meaning to discover for some time now.

I finally, this summer got to see what Theth was about, said to be guarding many untold secrets of Albania’s natural beauty. The type of visitors that Theth has attracted since Edith Durham wrote about the place in the early 20th century, have in most part been foreign tourists from around the world. Not many actual Albanians visit these isolated parts of the North. So upon hearing what type of people visit Theth and how they all love to hike and walk around being at ‘one with nature’, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like.

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So we were packed and ready to go to Theth, finally. I didn’t have walking shoes, only my precious Jelly Shoes (for those that don’t know what those are you will see them in my photography). Not a great idea you may say, however this could have been the best mistake I have ever made! Those shoes saved me, they were soft on the rocks, they allowed me to play in every puddle, stream or waterfall, and the grip on them was astonishing (I highly recommend Jelly shoes on hikes). It was early September and the weather was perfect for hiking.

We began our journey in Shkodra. Transport was fairly easy to arrange, we managed to find a spot where vans and four by fours waited for passengers in Shkodra to take to Theth, however this website helps with all the nitty gritty details for Theth ; http://thethi-guide.com/how-to-go-in-theth-albania/

The road was fine, not very exciting until we got 14km to Theth, that’s when the adrenalin began to surge through my veins. The notorious death roads of Albania were laid out in front of us. This however didn’t faze our multi-tasking driver that was of course on a very important phone call whilst smoking, as one does and listening to traditional ‘Qifteli’ music on a tape player. An authentic experience to say the least, very exciting. I didn’t see much of the scenery around due to my full concentration on the rocky mountainous roads we were driving on, approaching Theth from above at a fast pace.

We arrived at a villa that we had arranged to stay in, ‘Villa Gjecaj’, an adorable rock house where a group of women were laying out white sheets to dry in the garden and an old man with a radio in his hand paced around the house listening to more Qifteli music. As though I had stepped through a time capsule and returned to the communist days of Albania. I still hadn’t seen anything, nothing extraordinary anyway.

Once we were settled we decided to make the most of it and set off walking immediately to look for the hidden gems. It was still early in the day so we had time to explore.

We first found the beautiful waterfall, which was like a scene from an exotic film, you know the ones where a native girl goes to bathe and a white traveller sees her… and you know the rest. However magnificent and awe striking this waterfall was, I couldn’t help but feel small and fragile, surrounded by all the raw nature, the towering mountains and the harsh rocks beneath my feet humbled me.

Once I caught my breath and cooled down in the waterfall mist I realised that I was at a high peak in a mountain, in a village in North Albania, looking at a tall waterfall, sitting on a boulder and couldn’t help but feel proud and full of heart. Partly because we had walked three hours and partly because of the scenery my heart felt literally as big as my head. Magnificent!

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The walk back was easier as I felt light and powerful. On the way back we saw an old man harvesting beans in a field close to his house, stopped to say hello out of respect and asked how his day was going. A few moments later found ourselves sitting in his garden eating his yogurt and drinking his home brewed Raki (which we bought a litre of) talking about wolves and bears in the forest and the hardship of his life. A 76 year old ex-miner living in this tough environment, struggling to cope with harsh winters and dry summers, yet so enthusiastic to meet tourists and eager to communicate. The only thing that was stopping him from inviting everyone in, was his inability to speak English.

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After the warm welcome on our first day and the emotional euphoria I was experiencing, I was comfortable and wanted to stay in Theth, saw myself there completely.

Unfortunately we only had three days and used each day to its fullest, hiking 7 hours a day and seeing all the main attractions around the village; the blue eye (one of many in Albania), the museum, the rivers which I made sure to walk through every time possible, and on the last day the Tower of Refuge or ‘Kulla e Ngujimit’ of which is mentioned in many books one of which is Durham’s High Albania.

This last visit was particularly special, as images show, however the history told by the tour guide (which is also the youngest generation of the family that has owned the Tower since its beginning around the late 16th century) was particularly important for me and my lack of knowledge around Albanian history.

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The history of Albania and consequently Kosova, the traditions and beliefs majorly stem from the Law of Dukagjin Leka or ‘Kanun’ which to this day has influence on the Albanian people, and to feel this part of history in a Tower, to imagine hiding in a Tower where so many souls hid in fear for their lives is another incredibly humbling experience. To see more on the history of the Tower and why it is an important historical site visit: http://thethi-guide.com/sq/kulla-e-ngujimit/

Theth had a great effect on me physically and emotionally, opened up my heart to the beautiful people that inhabited those mountains, harsh faces, worn down hands but mostly hospitable and giving. It also opened up my lungs with the cool mountain air and fast paced hiking, clearing my mind.

There was still a constant sense of shielding, the land itself seemed to hold back not revealing all, almost as though it was mocking us, showing us what it thought suitable but never revealing it’s true dark self. This was the same with the people, poverty stricken for centuries, battling nature daily in tough conditions, although welcoming, I felt that they also held back, distanced themselves, not allowing the visitor take advantage as they have done for hundreds of years perhaps.

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Eat and Drink in my Prishtina


AdsızThe capital city of Kosova, a small newly independent country, is around 570 km squared, with a population of approximately 400,000. This makes for a city full of love hate relationships, where you are never invisible.

To understand business in this city, one must understand the daily routines of its trendy young population. Once you’ve understood this you will evidently know that coffee and bear are on the daily to do list. Socialising is key in this town, it can be a lonely place if you have no friends, this is virtually impossible to occur with such friendly and curious people around.

I’ve been exploring this city for most of my life and am finally seeing major changes and growth occurring in Prishtina city, mentally and physically. If you ever find yourself in this city, here are some places that will amaze you, welcome you and make you laugh. Beware this review is for those that do not live in the city the rest of you are probably aware of these easily accessible places. As a tourist you will not need help finding these places.

Here’s a pallet guide to my city, the places that promise a positive vibe and just a plethora of quality drinks as well as mouth-watering unforgettable munches! I’m going to mix it up and talk about a food venue then a drink venue so in no particular order of preference, here they are:

  • Papirun (No Fork)

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Visit this cosy little food venue for THE best sandwiches you will ever eat! And that’s a promise. You might think ‘hmmm sandwich…boring’ ummm hell no! This place keeps it simple, which if you haven’t noticed by now I really appreciate. You will have a choice between a few sandwiches even salads (let’s stick to the sandwiches). The all-time favourite and highly recommended would be the ‘Crunch’. Order a Crunch and come back a changed human. The Crunch consists of succulent juicy chicken breast fillet deep fried and covered in crispy cornflakes… yes I just said cornflakes! Coating this immaculate chicken piece is the signature sauce that is home made, mayonnaise? Nope umm mayo and ketchup… I could spend all day trying to figure it out. All this hugged by fresh homemade flatbread soaking up some of that generously applied sauce. Yep that’s a sandwich I go back for every second day, all at the price of €2.40. Once you go Crunch, no other food will you ever Munch!

  • Dit e Nat (Day and Night)

IMG_5110This is a place that changed the youth of the city. I know you’re asking ‘how can a café bar change generations?’ I’ll tell you how, by introducing literature! Until this place socialising did not involve intellectual talks (between teenagers that is) about books or theories or even discussion of school projects. Dit e Nat is a small self-service coffee house book shop where you can visit to have coffee reading a great book, eat a vegetarian meal from their new menu, or even come to at night and try their local draft beers. The staff is always welcoming, and how often do you visit a place where the regulars play their music and the owner socialises with you. Let’s not forget the main house member, Lule the cat. She’s a huge hit at the place, comforting all those in need. By the way if you’re having a glass of wine, try their amazing cheese cake with a cherry on top, try it with the tea too, also the coffee… just eat the cheese cake. With their new renovation Day and Night have clicked into the trendy open space interior that is popular in Prishtina at the moment within the crowd of artists and hipsters.

  • Tokyo

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For someone that lives in London, getting used to the fact there is no Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Jamaican food in anyone’s daily menu is crazy. I have however found a Japanese Sushi restaurant that could beat 80% of sushi restaurants in London. Tokyo is a tacky restaurant if we’re judging interior and atmosphere however sometimes over the top is needed, particularly in a city where Asian culture is being introduced. The service is interesting to say the least, the lady of the restaurant is bubbly, polite, and always ready for action. As entertaining as she is and cheesy the interior, the food is immaculate. I highly recommend the mixed sushi platter that comes with a salad and soup for two. This would be my preferred platter not because it tastes better than the rest unfortunately but because it’s more on your plate for a little less than the rest. The prices at Tokyo are considerably higher than most restaurants in Prishtina. However for those of you that live in Europe these prices are still cheaper than back home that’s for sure. So put on your Kimono and awkward shoes and have an exotic Asian meal in the middle of the Balkans.

  • Restaurant Gresa

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There’s something special about Gresa, they appreciate delicate pallets, so fear not if you’re not into experimenting with your food and you want your steak to be medium-well in the middle of your plate with just enough of everything, your pasta to be not al dente, not soggy but just right! Because that’s how you like your food and it’s not too much to ask to have ingredients together how you’re used to having them and presented in a normal way no fussing around! Then Gresa is perfect for you. They really haven’t gone wrong with anything on their menu yet. More specifically the sea food platter is great, there’s a mix of fish, squid, prawns and vegetables, good for two. The restaurant shows its true spirit in Spring when they take on an Asparagus menu supporting Kosovo’s Asparagus farmers, offering you Asparagus soup, starter, main and sides.

  • Soma

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The new comer has definitely made a statement on its arrival. This place is a bar, restaurant, café and also sells books, sound familiar? Its location is 30m from Dit e Nat. So what makes this place different to Day and Night? Soma is an industry, it’s the New York compared to Amsterdam. Both unique and appealing in their own ways however Soma is larger, flashier and louder to be in. There is not a moment where this place is empty, their cocktails are spectacular and the interior is to die for. The best part however is their garden, where you can sit with a bitter cocktail snacking on a mountain of chicken fingers under the twinkle of their lights.

  • Hemingway

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Hemingway is one of the few sea food restaurants and now has a new location in an enclosed complex Marigona, on the outskirts of Prishtina. The setting is peaceful with something for everyone. Around the restaurant you have a selection of fancy shops, hairdressers and children’s play areas, all catered to a perfect evening with the family. Hemingway is a family run business and meals here are always personal and customised to your taste. The chef is great at what he does, offering his own recipes. Hemingway pays close attention to taste and presentation, providing you with the fine dining you set out for. The prices are great for sea food in a landlocked country. The mixed sea food platter is my personal favourite; this is a meal that you will thoroughly enjoy in the moment but even more when it’s over. I have had daydreams of this meal and have always had a great time at the restaurant.

Top 5 Speeches of all time!


Funny, sad, shocking, just legendary all together. Great compilation of speeches.

Perfect Pitch

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World leaders, successful humans and shokingly confident ‘nobody’s’ have touched us and changed us in many ways for decades. Here is a list of legendary speeches, some obvious, some not so. The question for a few is, was the speech itself so powerful, or was the moment given to these legends, unfolded before them for them to create history. Confidence and determination to be heard is one aspect that flows through each speech in this list!

1. Ouchh Charlie:  Chaplin delivers this legendary speech, silencing his parody to moments of reflection and philosophy of peace, dictatorship and mankind….bravo Charlie

2.  Bad news barer: Robert F. Kennedy announces the death of Martin Luther King, in his sadness Kennedy attempts to call out against racism and control a nations emotion from escalation, “What we need in the United States is not division, what we need in the United States is not hatred…”

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Nowhere Special


Nowhere special….it’s slightly special let’s face it. This cute little basement bar in Kentish Town is a very hipster place to get a drink. The only difference between this place and all the other hipster bars, is that this place makes you feel as though you’ve uncovered a long lost gem. That you are the claimer of the hippest bar that will ever be. You are king of the hipsters! IMG_1357

The bar is right next to the Kentish Canteen and can only be noticed if you pay close attention. These hidden bars and restaurants have become largely popular in Kentish Town. You can only lie to yourself if you say you don’t enjoy walking through a secret door, climbing down a flight of dark stairs to get to a funky looking guy at a small desk, allowing you to enter the secret ‘society’ of Nowhere Special, walking to a cave-looking booth where you and your friends can have crafted cocktails in dim light, sipping sneakily!!!! You can only lie!

No seriously, the bar is lovely, the service is great however everything is slightly random. Random interior imitating 1960’s style (not quite there) like the plastic children watering pot to serve water. Random menu, cocktail names and snacks accompanying the drink; like the whisky with apricot, dipped in caramel and dark chocolate and a cup of pop corn. As well as the occasional woofts of damp in the air. However apart from those details which can arguably be enjoyable to some, Nowhere Special is definitely somewhat special, the place offers something very few bars have been able to so far.

I do advise however that a few minor tweaks here and there will benefit the place hugely, it is after all pretty new and still testing out what’s right and what doesn’t work.

This place will definitely turn into the place you safe guard from everyone; “so where are you going on the weekend?” asks an unimportant collegue at work, “ummm probably Nowhere Special”… and all is kept a secret.

Le Relais de Venise


On that particular day, unlike most days, we decided it was a good idea to eat out and that we didn’t mind venturing out into the city as long as it was a good place because we were very hungry.

So I picked the place and based my decision upon a close friends suggestion, and he’s the kind of guy that you trust he definitely knows what he’s doing when it comes to food. He suggested that we visit this place because the meat is exquisite and as meat eaters we would love it there. We got in the car and set of to the restaurant on Marylebone Lane. Parked the car, got out and set of to find the place. We probably walked passed it twice due to its conspicuous name and small font. We then had to carefully place ourselves in the cue that had formed outside (because the restaurant doesn’t do reservations). As we waited I peered in through the restaurant windows to see what people were eating and what we should expect, all I could see on people’s plates was fries, the waitress had a large plate full of fries too, she was handing out extras to scattered people. I saw empty plates so I guessed the food must have been great!

Hungry and curious it was finally our turn to be seated. Once we sat and got comfortable the waitress came over without a menu and looking ready to snap at whoever questioned her next. So I knew asking for a menu would be outrageous, I simply asked her what they have, to which she replied very simply ‘the steak with fries’….I understood that this place was keeping things simple, which I really appreciate in a hungry state. However for a vegetarian at the table there seamed to only be one option, the cheese plater. Once we ordered and got our drinks blah blah blah the food finally arrived. Sorry I mean the sad looking salad starter which I hated, covered in strong lip stinging mustard and sparsely sprinkled in walnuts, it was a true struggle to find them in the two leaves in that plate.

The real food finally arrived after that, not very flattering looking the plate seamed like something I would have got together at home quick. Yet refusing to judge a book on its cover I waited to try the meat. cutting through the thin slices of meat I felt with my knife exactly what it would taste like. I knew it would be soft, juicy, strong in flavour and melt in your mouth, I just knew it! It was great. Scoffed down in about five minutes that was my meal gone. I watched as my vegetarian friend sat on the side nibbling her four cheeses which she fought with the waitress for, apparently they have a very strict allowance as to how much cheese you get on your plate. I felt bad for her and her cheeses knowing that I had just eaten a lovely part of a steak…. or had I. That is exactly what I felt, as though I had imagined eating the meat. The waitress came over with the second half of our steak and more fries. Lovely! I’m allowed to eat more, thank you miss waitress, thank you Le Relais de Venise, thank you for allowing me to eat what I paid a large sum of money for.

This is how that moment felt…. I’m still very hungry

 

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