There are places in this world almost too good to write about. Like precious jewels, unpolished and raw they sit proudly in the quiet knowledge of their own self-worth without needing to blow their own trumpet.
With a surface of only 13 800 Km2 and a population of 600 000, Crna Gora, as the locals call her (meaning Black Mountain) is the size of a postage stamp. And yet, this UNESCO protected nature lover’s paradise packs plenty of punch. Diverse landscapes, rugged terrain, dramatic gorges, spectacular rivers, striking fjords and a picture postcard coastline. There are 250km of beach (pebbles and sand), National parks and ski resorts, all complimented by the turquoise hue of the Adriatic Sea. The average temperature is 25°C in summer, with 230 days of sunshine per year.
Yet herein lies the challenge. I’m speaking about my original homeland and so I have a lot of people to answer to, however, I also want to be honest, as presenting you with a sugar-coated version of the place serves nobody.
I’m not here to tell you about the coast. You’ve already heard about those parts and seen the polished images they show you in magazines and travel brochures. Sure, she deserves her newfound title of beauty queen. The coastline truly is spectacular. But here’s the cold, hard truth. Once you look behind the curtain, the picture looks a little different. The beauty queen is only just managing to hang onto her crown in the midst of being spoilt by international new money investors. By people whose only interest is to destroy her natural beauty for personal gain. To chip away at her bones in order to superimpose horrendous, ostentatious hotels and amusement parks in the hope of gaining the tourist dollar.
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