Where do i even start????
As any good story, starting with “No shit there i was” seems appropriate. So no shit there i was, after trekking in northern Albania, i returned to Bulldog Hostel in Shkoder, Albania without any plans for the rest of my trip. I decided last minute that i wanted to check out Kotor, Montenegro and would eventually work my way toward Croatia so i can fly out of Dubrovnik (end of the trip).
I took a bus at 11am from Shkoder to Kotor for about 15 Euros and surprisingly the bus ride wasn’t bad and it only took about 3 and half hour or so (including border crossing). During the bus ride, i went on Hostelworld to search for a place to sleep at least for one night and came across Old Town Hostel, which i immediately booked. I took some time to stare out of the windows and the first things i’ve noticed were the beautiful coastlines and landscape of southern Montenegro. I knew i made the right decision, and actually wanted to stay in one place for a longer period of time.
I arrived in Kotor in the mid-afternoon and walked 5 minutes from the bus station toward the Old Town area. I immediately fell in love with the cliffs that overlooked the Bay of Kotor. This place was FRICKEN AMAZING! You had to enter the old city walls and through the old town in order to get the hostel. As you are walking within the fortress walls, you can’t help but notice all the small shops and the vibrant atmosphere the town had to offer. I think this was the moment i decided i want to hang out in a place for a longer period than just 2-3 days. I checked into Old Town Hostel and was greeted with a shot a Rakija and a live musician (a hostel guest), who was nursing his hangover with acoustic solos in the common room. IF the city didn’t get me stay, i knew this hostel did! lol.
Later that afternoon, i ate at Tanjga Family Restaurant, which is a place i would highly recommend if you have an appetite for in-expensive “non-veterinarian” dishes haha. Back at the Old Town Hostel, I met a Kiwi (New Zealanders) babe by the name of Harry (for Harriet). She was one of the hostel volunteers who worked at various places all throughout Europe! If there was a sentence to describe Harry, it would be that she had such a chill vibe and was very personable to everyone! We both started drinking into the evening and she mentioned the hostel needed more volunteers. Since my plans for the remaining 1.5 weeks of my trip was open, Harry recommended that i should volunteer at the hostel. The benefit of this option was the room and board accommodations, including breakfast and dinner. The game changer was that Old Town Hostel would also accommodate the booze and daily events! What do i have to loose??? Except maybe a liver and sanity right? That whole week volunteering at the hostel was blurry at some points but ill try my best to highlight some of the memorable events!
Booze Cruise 1 and 2 – Old Town Hostel hosts a booze cruise event every other day in which they take up to 35 guests of the hostel into the bay of Kotor. Guests only have to pay 4 euros for 3-4 hours partying on a boat in Kotor. The party favors would usually consist of a live DJ, a construction helmet, and a 5 liter bottle of pure Montenegrin Rakija. MY ONLY JOB on this trip was to have fun and pour Rakija shots every now and then. Oh, i almost forgot, assist with the “DUM DUM SHOTS” for every passenger on the boat. So the shot consist of the receiving end wearing a construction helmet and then host would slam a cup full of rakija and lemon Shwapps on the helmet. The receiving end would skull (chug) the shot. Basically it was a concoction with a concussion! haha. After the rounds of “Dum Dum Shots”, the DJ continued to blast techno pop and the people began to mingle. One of the best part was diving into the Bay of Kotor from the top deck of the boat! The view and atmosphere couldn’t have been more perfect!
Sunset BBQ- If you check into Old Town Hostel, you have to sign up for the sunset BBQ! First it’s only 4 euros! What it includes is a trip up to one of the highest point in Kotor to watch the sunset while you hangout with 30+ people from the hostel. This highest point also happens to be on an 18th century fortress! You then would indulge yourself in grilled Balkan food before heading back to the hostel! And last….its the best 4 euros you will spend haha!
Common Room parties and Pub Crawls- This was probably the haziest moment of my story. After a long night out, i would usually wake up around 9 or 10am (yes i know im a psycho), and go for a 10km run up pass the secret entrance to the fortress. I return around noon, have lunch, and then RE-COMMENCE the drinking outside of the reception office. My job around this time was to greet guests, take Rakija shots with them, and then show them their rooms, only to invite them back down for drinks later on. Also throughout this time, i would have a very mixed playlist on Spotify which consisted of Nicky Jam to Pink Floyd blaring on the speakers in the common room. Throughout the day, this was also an opportunity i took to meet the guests and introduce them to the area (with my very limited knowledge =D). Did i already mention that introduction also meant more shots of Rakija?? I remembered one of days, two girls, from Australia, by the names of Saige and Chelsea wanted to give their newly arrived friend a proper introduction. After she checked in during the afternoon, they brought her to me and my 5 liter vessel of Rakija in the common room. Two more people from Baden-Wurtemburg area of Germany were checking in as well. I gather the group for Rakija shots which then was followed by more shots and beers. This was ultimately the foreshadowing of a good day/night.
Another guest we had, named Jess, had me take my Rakija up to their room to wake up her friend, Hannah, who was napping! Point is, this was a proper party hostel…especially mid-day, pre, during, and post check in. Couple of the day i volunteered, i think i took a shot with EVERY guest that checked into the hostel that day..and we are talking about 10-20 people within few hours. Like i said..there were hazy moments. Two of those days, the Booze Cruises (mentioned above) would follow the noon drinking sessions. As the sun sets, Harry (hostel volunteer) and i would round people up throughout the hostel for the evening events which would either consist of a game night or just another socializing session…with Rakija.
During this time, i would meet more amazing travelers and share stories between one another! I have to admit, I’ve been more inspired by other travelers on this trip than i ever have in the past few years…especially when i meet other solos. What inspired and motivated me was that everyone had their own stories and why they traveled. Ok, i guess that’s pretty normal, but a lot of Americans i know don’t just get up and go like the way the rest of the world does. However one afternoon, I checked in an American who was traveling by herself, and to be honest..every time i meet another person from the states i get excited because i don’t come across them often. She told me she was laid off from her job back in the states and decided to make the best of her time by traveling! She had such a great attitude and made me reflect back on the different moments i had in life(You know who you are and thank you!).
So now im going to jump stories from people based on what i can remember. I met an American couple, Sabrina and Reece, who kept extending ONE MORE NIGHT at the hostel. All i gotta say is that they were there and witnessed the carnage almost every day. Also during one of the pub crawl nights, i made a promise to Evelina and a “Scottish/Finish girl that ill get any tattoo they draw for me. Let’s say i owe them a tattoo of a Penguin holding a beer bottle somewhere on my body. So earlier in the story i mentioned Jess and Hannah. Well lets say Hannah couldn’t find Jess during a pub crawl night and we spent couple hours searching all of Old Town for her…turned out she was passed out in her bed the whole time…womp! lol. However Hannah felt relieved and we just layed in middle of Old Town for an hour or so.
The G Adventure girls: There were about 10 ladies who were on a tour group, G Adventures, that took them across the Balkans. I remember helping them properly check in and learning that they all just met each-other for the first time on the trip! They all were awesome and ran into each-other throughout the nights in Kotor. Tons of fun and absolutely loved their vibe.
Saige, Chelsea, and the other friend (sorry). I’m glad that i gave yall that bottle of Rakija. I knew that you ladies would properly take care of it =D.
Max the sick cunt, thanks stepping up and taking my spot as a volunteer! And of course Thanks to my staff of Old Town Hostel in Kotor!! #OneMoreNight with Harriet and Marko!
Oh…i almost forgot the point of this story. I have a shout-out on Hostelworld!!!