Travel Day Series: Episode 9
Travel day Risan, Montenegro to Žabljak 7.5.2019
The bus is air conditioned but is no match for the sun so everybody has the curtains drawn against the heat and against the view which is worth the burn if you ask me.
Nobody sits next to their partner finding out now that it’s best to keep your own heat to oneself especially knowing that the driver turns off the air when going up an incline or when passing a slower vehicle, and I’m reminded that the “monte” in Montenegro means mountain as we inch upwards above the small coastal towns and the glittering water.
The driver puts us into second gear to get to a speed faster than a walk and it’s not hard to imagine standing in the shade of this heap as we wait for a replacement bus. We would share snacks and run out of water but I know there is juicy ripe fennel all over which would cool us and numbed our mouths until another shitty bus arrived. Or worse yet, a man on a moped with a wrench and almost enough parts.
We enter a short tunnel and the temperature drops imperceptibly and without registering sustained relief we are out again. The road is dug into the mountain so we can’t see down.
This is the mystery section we wondered about while sitting on our balcony looking up - we would watch the cars and trucks disappear only to reappear at an incongruously higher elevation a minute later like that magic trick with severed thumb.
The driver lights a cigarette for us all to enjoy and you have to appreciate the economy and generosity of the Balkans or be unhappy here.
We enter another tunnel much longer than the first and we are plunged into complete darkness and I realize we don’t have any lights on. The windscreen is slightly illuminated but in the way that is like a sun drenched television screen and I watch it with amazement. It feels like we are at a late night drive-in but on wheels where I fell asleep and lost the plot but it was okay because the cinematography is so spectacular.
I find myself wishing we were at a cafe after the movie discussing it over a drink while outside it’s the fallen leaves that are moving and passing us while we are still and unmoving.