I immediately fell in love with Kotor, Montenegro - the stunning beauty of limestone mountains surrounding the blue sea bay.
Its old medieval city exudes charm and mystery.
I arrived on their last night of Karnival celebration, so the old city was bursting with the energy of love for life.
Montenegrin people are very friendly and blessed with extraordinary physical beauty. Many have mesmerizing aqua blue, or bluish/green eyes.
I continued on towards my next main destination in Bosnia, with a planned 2 night Midway break at Tara Canyon, Zabljak, Montenegro (Europes deepest canyon) which ended up being 4 nights.
I stayed at the most charming farm, called Rafting Apartments Goran Lekovic. It is used as a river rafting base, that also sets you up with horse and ATV rides.
Not only do they take you on river rafting journeys anywhere from a couple hours to multiple days - but they also provide rooms to stay and the most unbelievable fresh delicious food after each adventure. That same farm fresh food is offered for guests at a reasonable cost for breakfast and dinner.
Most rooms have a picturesque view of the canyon and famous Tara bridge.
With all of that, what I enjoyed most was being around their family, animals and authentic farm life.
The hostess Vida, is always on the move making sure everything is taken care for the guest, and the host Goran welcomes you first thing in the morning with a warm smile and glass of Rakija.
I plan on returning here, and to explore more of my new love Montenegro for sure... I am offering a open invitation for any of you to join me next time :)
"Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it.” - Sai Baba
THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU
Berat Albania was on my list of Power spots of the world, and one of the main reasons I went to the Balkans - I was very excited to explore this area.
It turned out to be the most challenging experience I have had on my travels so far.
Even as I'm writing this the challenge continues... I am on a bus to get out of here, going to Montenegro, and the guy in the seat in front of me smells so bad I feel like vomiting. So I move seats and start to write.
A hour later for some reason he and his girlfriend move seats right in front of me again.
Let's go to the beginning... I get on a bus at 4 a.m. to leave Macedonia, crossing the border to Berat Albania.
I informed the bus driver when I got on the bus I was going to Berat. Midway when we were having lunch I again said I was going to Berat. It turned out there was a stop in between where I had to switch buses and he did not tell me, so I ended up going to the coast. It was over an hour trying to find me a ride back the other direction. Straight out of a comedy film, we had to chase a bus going on to the freeway as we were being chased by police.
5 hours later I get to Berat and check into my room in a home I was suppose to stay in for 4 days.
The moment I arrive after all that adventure the Host of the Home asked me to pay immediately in his currency for the room. I told him I did not have his currency yet and need to go to a bank machine. He said guest before we're not able to get money from the machine and he was obviously very worried, and demanded I go immediately.
In the morning I asked for milk for my coffee, he said I will get a glass of milk with my breakfast if I wanted more milk I would have to pay more.
His english was very poor and everything I said he misunderstood and got angry.
After breakfast he informed me I had to leave and said I had 10 minutes to pack up and leave. Before I left, I made sure I gave him and his wife the Thank You for Being You cards - and I swear, in that moment his mind softened a bit and revealed his kind heart - unfortunately we all knew we were too far into the exit game.
My phone was not charged so I could not call a cab and I had to carry my heavy bags for 40 minutes down the mountain on a road that was not dirt, it was huge bumpy rocks to the bus station. (I wish I took a picture).
I unfortunately did not Explore Berat, I ended up wanting to get out of there as soon as possible.
As a Mind/Body/Spirit Educator & Therapist, I choose to use all experiences as a way to reflect, learn and transform myself. I believe everything perceived is an aspect of self.
The bus driver was a beautiful soul who took full responsibility and would not give up until I got on a bus back... even risking his life chasing one onto the freeway.
The house host obviously had anxiety around money, and over- reactive issues.
I have to admit I and most people of the world have some degree of money issues and also have over - reacted when the fear buttons have been pushed.
I have been using my long bus rides to reflect on these issues with intention that I can do my share of clearing this type of energy within myself and the collective consciousness of humanity.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King,Jr.
THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU
I found many of the people in Bulgaria, especially in the work of Service, to be rude and harsh. I told my Bulgarian friend about this, and he said it was remnant behavior from the communist days - in those days, the people who worked in service had the extreme negative attitude towards serving others.
I was so hurt and saddened by the meanness of the girls working at the bus station, that I almost cried. Each window I would go to they would yell at me, saying they don’t understand english. A woman took my food off the table as I was eating and screaming at me because I bought the food from the kiosk next to her.
What made me so sad, was the realization of how pain and suffering has caused all of us in the world to become mean towards each other to some degree.
This deep wound within humanity is EXACTLY what I am attempting to heal with the message of the “Thank You for Being You” cards/project.
I left Bulgaria and entered the city Skopje Macedonia. I enjoyed walking around the city, and exploring the Old Bizaar eating the most delicious local food.
I was going to head straight to Berat, Albania, but again people said I must go see Lake Ohrid, which boarders Macedonia and Albania.
As usual for some reason I end up in places when they are having their big day of celebration, so I got to experience cove after cove of music, and parties along the shore of lake Ohrid. After a full day of swimming and cove hopping, I had a relaxing dinner with a lively people watching view in Orchid harbor area.
“Seeing human suffering changes you. It either makes you compassionate or it makes you hard.” ― Jane Wilson-Howarth
THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU
Bulgaria was the beginning of my Baltic journey.
The Rila mountain range was on my list of world power spots and the only planned area in Bulgaria - life often shows me it has an even better plan than I can possibly imagine.
There are hundreds of lakes in the Rila mountain range, but it is most known for the Seven Rila Lake area. The hike to see all seven takes about 6 hrs round trip. I happened to be there during a unusual stormy time. It was very cold during my hike, and as I got deeper in th mountains, the clouds got so thick I could only see a couple of feet in front of me. I took off my undershirt and tied it around my head to keep my ears warm. I wish I got a picture of that :)
While in Rila I met multiple people telling me that I have to see Belintash, in the Phodopi mountain range across Bulgaria - when I get the same message three or more times, I learned take heed.
I went to Belintash, and it was definitely worth the journey.
I stayed at Complex Old Times 2 in Vrata, Belintash - which was a welcomed treat. I had a very comfortable room with the abundant fruit tree garden and swimming pool views. Meals were delivered to eat outside on my veranda :)
I enjoyed the scenic walk to Belintash plateau daily, and also explored other places of interest in the area. While I was there, people kept telling me I can't leave Bulgaria without going to Rupite, where the famous blind mystic Vanga lived. When I was told about the healing Volcanic Thermal Springs, I HAD to go. This journey took me back towards Rila.
I was able to stay in a beautifully furnished apt, with a very much needed clothes washer and dryer, serene backyard, lovely hostess and family - and as soon as I arrived, Brian the Hostess son, rode bikes with me to show me where the Thermal springs were. I highly recommend if you visit Rupite, you stay at the home Vilor.
Serendipitously a Bulgarian woman I was connected with through Abadania Brazil, was coming to the area to camp, and offered to share her tent.
I told her about the two other mountain ranges I went to already, and she said she heard that Rila represents truth, Phodopi (Belintash) represents love, and the mountain range where we went hiking/camping, Pirin (rojin) represents wisdom.
I was very excited that I got to experience all three of the important and powerful mountain ranges in Bulgaria!
“It's all a series of serendipities
with no beginnings and no ends.
Such infinitesimal possibilities
Through which love transcends.”
― Ana Claudia Antunes, The Tao of Physical and Spiritual
THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU
Cher was born into a family of metaphysicians, which allowed her innate nature for questioning reality the freedom to explore. She started traveling the world at age 17 to engage with different perspectives of spirituality and Mind/Body Medicine. When she was 30, she settled down in Hawaii to raise her kids and started her private practice as a Mind/Body/Spirit Educator, Therapist. She also owned a Yoga School, founded a Divorce Center for Women, and was the founder of a Re-programming Center for Women and Children. Now her youngest child is going off to University, she is devoting the next phase of her life to travel the world and connect with as many people as possible - sharing her love and gratitude for life, our planet, all beings, and all that exists.