Most of my c10,000 non-UK driving miles are USA based. Wide open highways. Well enforced traffic laws and, on the whole, well behaved motorists out of the cities.
Montenegro is different. It started well. A huge queue at the Europcar desk to collect Easyjet booked car hire. Me at the Avis desk to collect Stringy booked Avios generating car hire.
It rapidly went downhill.
“Mr Dave”, said a man in the sternest Russian sounding (presumably Montenegran accent) I’ve ever encountered. “Why are you early I’ve not prepared your booking yet?”. Given that only one flight from anywhere in the world lands at Tivat airport on a Sunday morning you’d have thought that they’d gave guessed which one I was on and tracked it. Four staff. One customer. One plane.
Next came the insurance hard sell. “Brand new car. You scratch, you tell police. You pay €1,000.” – they kept on trying after I politely explained that I have my own cover and had no wish to hand over €80 to duplicate it. Three times.
Then the brand new car was checked. I always video around the car just in case there’s a discrepancy later. I make a point of doing this with the Avis chap watching to ensure the staff don’t try to take advantage. The brand new car had several nicks all of witch were recorded on the handover form. It also had over 75,000 kilometres on the clock. Let’s put it down to a language issue rather than a lie to try and flog me insurance!
And then I’m away. Out onto the highway and quickly remember to turn my lights on to comply with local traffic laws. Through the impressive Port Montenegro where the rich park their yachts and then my first WTF moment.
The nice two lane highway, one in each direction, changed. Mr Montenegran road builder had the brilliant idea of building a coast road with no pavements and no lines down the middle. No point having any lines as the road was only wide enough for one and a half cars anyway.
The magnificent scenery of forest covered mountains reflecting on this beautiful Adriatic inlet was pretty much lost on me as I focused on keeping my Citroen Crapolamobile on the tarmac, occasionally forced to swerve into the gravel that sometimes divides the road from the cliff side by an errant local driving like a complete knob in the opposite direction.
Finally I reached my destination. A small apartment 20 yards from the sea. Beautiful place.
Complimentary wine too. If they supplied a corkscrew life would be perfect!