Seeing Red

Every day we admire the Mediterranean color palette of our surroundings – the white stone, terracotta rooftops, turquoise and emerald ocean, plus the steep dark mountains that give Montenegro its name.
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And yet despite this, our life here keeps popping up red.

1. My new glasses

The day we arrived in Montenegro, our landlord handed me a small parcel he had received in the mail, one which I was anxiously awaiting – my new red reading glasses. A couple of months ago my travel partner, who will remain nameless, stepped on my old glasses (travel casualty #1), breaking off one of the arms. For the next month I held them in place like a monocle which gave me a sense of elegance and superiority for a while, but I can’t help but think the hands-free method of seeing is the way to go.

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2. Our rental car

With our landlord playing the role of translator we got a long-term car rental in the form of a shiny, red Toyota Yaris. Learning we were American, the guy at the rental place apologized he didn’t have anything big and automatic. On the short drive home – Adam boldly getting the hang of weaving around cars, but not so far as to end up in the ocean – we tried to remember whether red was a sign of good luck or just increased insurance premiums.

Last week we found our little car in the public lot with a giant rock through its window. Moments before, my SLR camera, telephoto lens, purse, wallet and iPhone had become travel casualties #2-6. According to townspeople we spoke with, car break-ins are almost unheard of in these parts and the man who rented us the car (and subsequently replaced the window) said that he’d never seen a rock-through-the-window robbery in his nine years in the car rental biz.

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3. Our new dinghy

If next time someone decides to steal our entire car – besides having to forfeit our $100 deposit – we’re ready with a backup means of transportation, however limited in range. Since we arrived in Montenegro two weeks ago, Adam’s been on the lookout for a boat or dinghy we can rent to get us out on the water. Looking around the bay, it seemed our options were grim, but then we found Adventure Montenegro, a local travel agency up the road, who provided us with a newly painted, bright red rowing dinghy.

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4. Trail Markers

Montenegro is a country that takes its hiking trails very seriously and there are thousands of different trails to choose from. Several trailheads are within half a mile of our front door and hundreds more are just a short drive (or a long row) away. The trails, which can get pretty rugged and remote, are always marked if you look hard enough. The red dot had become a regular symbol during our stay here, always leading us somewhere new and surprising.

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5. Our culinary staple

We are in the land of red bell peppers which means our meals are as colorful as they are tasty. Ajvar, sometimes known as vegetarian caviar, is a Serbian condiment made from roasted red pepper, roasted eggplant and garlic. It’s widely available and has replaced salsa as a staple in our kitchen.

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6. The Montenegrin Flag

Each time we climb the steps of the Sveti Ivan Fortress, we take our time to catch our breath by overlooking the bay and staring up at the flag bouncing in the wind.

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