I am back in DC now after little over a week in Montenegro. Admittedly, Montenegro is one of my favorite countries (one of 10 of the about 45 countries that I’ve been to, but nevertheless a favorite!) The landscape is so beautiful, ranging from the rocky cliffs and turquoise water at the Adriatic coast in the south, to the steep, seemingly black mountains and pasture slopes in the north, and with interesting cultural sites like hidden monasteries, the old capital Cetinje, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Venetian town of Kotor (there are photos from all these places in my blog archives). I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to work there. I also work with a very good team, so I always look forward to going back. And not to forget: the food is fantastic! Locally produced fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood, and delicious cheeses. The dishes are something of a blend between typical Balkan food and Italian dishes, with lamb, dolma/sarmale, prosciutto, cheeses, pasta, and polenta. As I wrote earlier, my favorite dish is seafood risotto and I have to admit that I tried it at several different places this time, from black to saffron risottos. And as all countries in the region, Montenegro has a proud history of wine production, with Vranac and Krstač being domestic grapes. I would recommend Montenegro to anyone who wishes to visit Southern Europe for vacation!
My favorite: Saffron risotto at Hotel Podgorica. The black risotto is colored by octopus ink.
After an evening stroll (everyone in Podgorica seems to be out tonight!) and a gelato, here is a picture of Podgorica’s Millennium Bridge at night. What the picture doesn’t show is all the frogs that were sounds in the Moraca River under the bridge. I was really tired before the dinner, but the ice cream seems to have done the trick! Sugar kicks… The nutritionist in me knows that they should be avoided this late in the evening, of course, but the food lover in me finds it difficult to say no to quality gelato. The eternal struggle of man, I guess! Anyway, it is very nice to be here these first days of summer.
After another very interesting day listening to farmers and extension workers, I am now back in Podgorica. The weather is perfect! I have a busy week in front of me but I work with very good and committed people so I really look forward to it. And I look forward to the food, of course! Montenegro has the best seafood risotto and I always have it at least twice when here. And then there is the vegetables and cheese, which are wonderful. Dinner soon… In the meantime, here is the view from my hotel:
I have been planning my summer today. Or the summer is of course here already, but I will not be off until July. I was on skype with Miss T we finally decided to spend almost a week in the South of Europe. I also plan to have a week or so in Stockholm, to just be in my little apartment, enjoy Summer Stockholm, and spend time with my close ones. And then, this evening, I registered for a three-day conference on Food in history in London. The program includes topics from food culture to food trade, from stories in the Bible to the evolvement of fast food. I am so excited! Miss T sighed and said that she wished that she was equally excited about her job, but I barely see it as a job. I am simply working with my main interest. I realize that I am very fortunate!
After my stay in Europe, Jonas and I will go on a long-planned road trip through the South. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid and read about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, and later about the American Civil War, and after last year’s road trip through the National Parks in the West (see August 2012 in the blog archive), Jonas and I decided that this summer, we would explore the South. But first, I am off to Montenegro for work next week. And June in Podgorica is lovely, with all the restaurant terraces filled with people enjoying the warm evenings in each other’s company. and with wonderful seafood freshly fished from the rivers and the Adriatic Sea. So though I have a very busy 1.5 weeks, with a conference over the weekend, I really look forward to the trip.
Late summer evening in Stockholm last year
My schedule is quite hectic and there is unfortunately not much time for tourism this time in Montenegro. A few of my colleagues got to go to the coast today to visit a couple of sites but I spent the day in front of the computer. The sun came out today, though, so I took a few rain-free pics on my way to the office.
Top: The Moraca River the Millenium Bridge, and then a statue in front of a local art gallery. I have to add that the coffee is great here (as all across the Western Balkans). Café style even in our office!