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  • Day7

    Montenegro to Serbia Train Trip

    August 8 in Serbia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    THE BAR - BELGRADE TRAIN TRIP

    After a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast at the Hotel Agape, Bar (not a burek or cevapi in sight!) Danilo called me a taxi, carried my luggage, and bid me a very pleasant trip. He obviously did not train at the Yugoslavian School of Hospitality.

    The Bar - Belgrade train journey is described as one of the most scenic in Europe, and was one of the highlights of the trip which I had been looking forward to. It’s a marvel of engineering with 254 tunnels and 435 bridges. Construction started in the 1950s but was only completed in 1976, and was opened by President Tito himself.

    My single ticket to cover the length of this marathon 11.5 hour journey cost only 21 Euros - a real bargain. Bar station has one café which only sold drinks. When I expressed surprise that there was no buffet car on board, the proprietrix responded ‘well, you should be prepared!’ Thank goodness for the doggy bag of Wiener (pork) schnitzel and the free water I brought from the hotel.

    As is sadly common in many East European trains, the train itself was covered in graffiti - no Orient Express this! As I said there were no catering facilities on board, and the toilets left a lot to be desired. Safe to say, I was glad I had brought my own supply of wet wipes and hand sanitizer! For some reason since COVID, this international train has been reduced to 3 carriages, which made little sense as it was packed. To complicate matters, the website recommended ignoring seat reservations and sitting anywhere. This caused quite a few heated arguments between local folk and backpackers, with much in the way of high raised voices and even higher raised arms.

    However, we were here for the journey - and what a spectacular one it was! Although an older train, the seating was plush and comfortable, and I wisely followed the advice and sat on the left hand side to enjoy the best views. After following the Adriatic coast on leaving Bar, the train soon moved inland, skirting Lake Skadar. Then a gradual climb into the mountains, higher and higher and crossing over what was, until recently, the highest railway bridge in Europe. Plunging into numerous tunnels of varying lengths at such great heights, you couldn’t help but wonder how the railway came to be built. After a while, the rugged bare mountains gave way to rolling tree-covered hills, and then green valleys dotted with small homesteads. There is an excellent 10 minute video on YouTube with the highlights of this wonderful train trip for anyone who is interested (warning, there is a bit when the train hits and kills a horse! 😞 ).

    Amazingly the train arrived at Belgrade’s Centar Station only 10 minutes late after a fantastic 11.5 hour long trip. I took a taxi to my favourite hotel in Belgrade - The Mockba (Moscow). I was in time to enjoy the last hour in the beautiful Wellness Spa, and had the place all to myself - a wonderful way to soak and relax after one of the most memorable train journeys I have been on.
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    Aileen Johnston

    Sounds like a very scenic last few days. Love the pictures

    8/8/22Reply
    Traveler

    Oh love the sound of that journey xx

    8/8/22Reply