About me

Driving to Kotor

I moved to Montenegro in the summer of 2009 from Vancouver, Canada to work on a major marina development in the Bay of Kotor. This is a chronicle of my “new life in the country”.

This collection of thoughts on “paper” is intended to record my experiences as a foreigner living and working here in Montenegro, one of the newest countries in the world. Emerging or developing is something I have never experienced; camping on a Gulf Island did not count I guess!

After being cut from the world by the conflict in the Balkans for so many years and being under the rule of Tito’s Communism before that, this tiny newly independent nation (as of 2006) is full of fascinating contradictions!

On the one hand you have, as my dear friend Jeff coined it, the “slow food” of bureaucracy which can drive you mental, and on the other you can see change barrelling towards you. One example is the arrival of new found wealth. In a country where the average national income is less than 800 Canadian dollars a month, shiny new luxury cars are beginning to pop up; overshadowing the pre-independence monopolies of Lada, Skoda and the populist Fiat 600.

The duality and contradictions can be found everywhere. In less than a moment you can find yourself in absolute awe as you walk through the UN protected World Heritage Sites of Kotor and Perast and then cringe as you drive past an abandoned factory right next door. You can be sitting in your 300 year old stone house cherishing its history, and then whinge when you have to take out the garbage because they have not adopted recycling yet (that will come with closer integration to the European Union). Old and new are also vividly contrasted during the outdoor markets on Saturdays where you have simple farmer women in their black dresses selling you their fruit and vegetables and home made goods and only a few minutes walk away you can go the new Panto market and find every kind of packaged food you can imagine. Nestle and Kraft have already got their grasp on this emerging marketing. Unfortunately, convenience foods have made it here, but somebody forgot to bring in the health food section. Whole Foods, Capers and the like are completely absent from the equation.

Very Old and New, Newly Rich and Happily Poor, Beauty and Ugly, Fast and Slow, Easy and Hard… this is an experience of great contrasts!

2 Comments

  1. Dear Colin,

    I just wanted to say I very much enjoyed reading your blog. I was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C., and my husband is from Toronto. We lived in New York for 5 years and recently moved to Miami. My entire extended family is originally from Bosnia Herzegovina (Trebinje) and we’re taking a trip there this summer to reunite with them, and show my husband and young kids the country.

    We are thinking of buying a place in along the water in Montenegro (somewhere along Kotor Bay) to go to for a few months each summer. I understand that you’re in luxury real estate there, I was wondering if you do smaller residential deals or know an amazing trustworthy agent that you could refer us to. Actually any contacts in Montenegro would be helpful, such as a lawyer, banker, home inspector, etc.

    Again, I greatly enjoyed your reading your posts, your blog got us very excited for our upcoming trip. Any helpful tips and information for buying a place in Montenegro would be much appreciated!

    Hope you have a great day!

    Warm regards,

    Milica Milisic

  2. Hi Colin,

    Thanks for all the interesting information you have provided in your blog about Montenegro; it’s been very insightful. My husband and I are self-employeed touring musicians currently looking into obtaining a residence permit on the grounds of registration of company there. He is Australian and I’m American and we tour with our Band in the Schengen area of Europe for three months every year. We’re considering the option of residing in Montenegro outside our touring period. I’m wondering if during your time there you have encountered any foreigners who have successfully completed the process of obtaining a residence permit through registering a legal entity such as a firm in Montenegro? Any information or contacts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again for all the information you have included in your blog.

    Cassandra

Leave a Reply to Milica Milisic Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: