21 May Belgrade to Bar, and Back Again

Source: Charlene Winfred

May 2016, Serbia to Montenegro

“Are you looking for something specific?” the big, craggy man sitting next to me wanted to know, having listened to my camera schnicking away since he got in from one of the small towns near the border.

“No,” I responded. “Just the scenery. It’s beautiful outside.”

“It’s beautiful to you because you’ve never seen it before,” he said, waving a hand at the vista rushing by. “But I see it all the time!”

Lake Skadar, Montenegro

Two weekends ago, Flemming and I took a very long train ride from Belgrade (Serbia) to the port town of Bar in Montenegro, and back again.

The Belgrade to Bar railway makes it to The Guardian’s list of 10 spectacular rail journeys … that you’ve probably never heard of, Business Insider’s 10 spectacular rail journeys to take in your lifetime, among many others.

There was a bounty of green most of the way through. Serbian and Montenegrin mountains in spring are astonishingly verdant, and the Montenegrin portion of the ride upped the ante on dramatic mountain-scapes. It was an epic 12 hours there, and another 12 back to Belgrade two days later. An article I read about this journey warns that the train slows enough in places, that it is likely to be overtaken by ambling sheep. This happened; the slowing, not the sheep, sadly. You can’t be in a hurry. But with 200-and-something bridges (including the fabulous Mala Rijeka viaduct) and over 400 tunnels threading through 476km of flatlands, mountains and sea, why would you be?

A state of perpetual green

I found the train itself very comfortable throughout the…

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