Bel-Grades Don’t Matter!

Trip Region: Eastern Europe
Country(ies): Serbia, Montenegro
Partners Trek? No
Cost: $2050
Airfare Estimate: $1400
Structure:   •   Lodging:   •   Nightlife: 7   •   Activity: 6

This trek will cover the full spectrum of history, culture, and fun as we eat and drink (let’s be real, mostly drink) our way around all of the mountains and bays Serbia and Montenegro have to offer.

We’ll start out in Belgrade and cruise along the riverside restaurants and casinos as Beerfest comes to a close. To walk off all that delicious food, we’ll head to Djerdap National Park for some hiking and taking in the views. Then, we’ll kick off our time in Montenegro via wineries situated in 300-year old taverns before gearing up for our beach party on Budva’s coastline. We’ll see UNESCO heritage sites, soak up the sun and party on a catamaran.

Day 1 — Saturday, Aug 15

Travel Day

Day 2 — Sunday, Aug 16

Arrival & Beer Fest: Congrats on surviving orientation! By now you’ve seen the best (Rick’s & Skeeps) and worst (the mornings after Rick’s & Skeeps) of Ann Arbor. Get your relaxation on at The Hotel Capital, then join up for the welcome dinner to meet the rest of the crew. After dinner, prepare yourself for Oktoberfest’s greatest challenger: Belgrade Beer Fest. It’s the second largest beer festival in the world, with beers both foreign & domestic, live music, and no bear cage incidents since 2007. We’ll be there for the closing ceremonies – let the Serbian celebration commence!

Day 3 — Monday, Aug 17

Belgrade City Tour: Load up on breakfast, then it’s time to get our culture on! Charge your phones – today’s the day to send wholesome travel pics back home. We’ll walk around Belgrade, seeing Terazije Square, Republic Square, Knez Mihailova Street, the Kalemegdan Fortress, St. Michael Cathedral, and more! Afterwards we'll see the country the proper way: through a food tour & rakia tasting! Shelby will flex her Serbian to order us a feast, and anyone unfamiliar with rakia is in for a fun surprise. The night is ours for the taking, and we’ll have small group dinners before another night out on the town.

Day 4 — Tuesday, Aug 18

Djerdap National Park: If you thought Day 2 was ‘gram worthy, we’re about to move from story to post territory as we head out to Djerdap National Park. Katie “Bear Grylls” Cameron will lead the pack as we traverse the park. Highlights include the Djerdap Gorge & Iron Gate. It’s Serbia’s first UNESCO heritage site – we told you this trip would be cultured! We’ll picnic at the top of the mountain at the Kapetan Misin breg (google this!!). It’s a 7km hike, so pack your boots made for walkin’!

Day 5 — Wednesday, Aug 19

Travel Day + Wineries: We leave the mountain views of Serbia in our wake as we fly to Montenegro: The Land of the Black Mountain. Pass out on the plane and when you wake up you’ll be in wine country. First stop: Sipcanik Winery. Formally a military building, these vintages are well protected. We’ll have a three course lunch with 5 wine pairings, because that’s the kinda ratio we love to have. We’ll have a professional sommelier with us, so take note of the pairings to impress recruiters during your upcoming Circles of Death. Next stop: more wine! We’re off to Kopitović Winery. Located in Donji Brceli, a 15th century village, this winery is the perfect mixture of salt, sea, & air that dreams are made of. Enjoy the sights, taste the wine, and practice your Živjeli! (cheers)

Day 6 — Thursday, Aug 20

Beach Party: Hope your beach bod is ready — we’ll be doing sit ups all summer — because we have an all day party at Ploče Beach! With a tab that lasts as long as a Skeeps tab in December, we have a full day to load up our instagram stories and make all friends at home say “should I apply to business school?”

Day 7 — Friday, Aug 21

Montenegro Adventures: Sleep off the beach hangover, then it’s for a double dose of culture beginning with some Montenegrin sites before another national park. We’ll start by traversing King Nikola’s road through the country. Nikola was the original party boy of Montenegro and known as “the father in law of Europe.” Sounds like a chill dude. We’ll follow his road to the former capital city of Cetinje. Old embassies and churches await and while we can’t promise the Ark of the Covenant, there are two key pieces of history here: 1) The right hand of St. John the Baptist 2) A piece of the True Cross There’s also a collection of tapestries, paintings, and war trophies (King Nicky was quite the soldier); Shelby is sure to have a random fact about each. And did we mention this is another UNESCO site? That makes two now, but who’s counting? Inspired by our bro Nick and ready to conquer the world, or at least the Southern Balkans, we head to Lovcen National Park next. There you’ll have a chance to bring out your inner Katniss Everdeen. We’ll take Archery 101 from local masters and culminate lessons with an MTrek competition. Much like the Hunger Games, there can only be one winner, but instead of death all losers will be Iced.

Day 8 — Saturday, Aug 22

Boat Day! The morning is yours to explore Kotor’s Old Town then put on your sunscreen for an epic meetup joining the other Montenegro MTrek for a yacht day in the Adriatic. Yacht Week got nothing on Ross.

Day 9 — Sunday, Aug 23

Boat Day, Part Deux! All aboard for a coastal tour of Boka Bay - mountains, castles, and grottos, oh my! We’re back to the boat as we sail to Perast for a scenic lunch and take in some history via the Yugoslavian submarine tunnels. The Tauber crew will enlighten us with the mechanics of boating as Jordan “The Body” Owens slips away to take over the captain’s wheel. Then we’ll take a dip in the bioluminescent waters and enjoy the BYOB feature our boat offers. #GlowUpPart2 We’ll pretend like it’s not our last night in paradise as we enjoy dinner as a group at the delicious Astoria restaurant. As a final test to make sure you’re ready for Core, the gloves will come off and we’ll take Kotor by storm. Our last night together, time to leave it all on the field!

Day 10 — Monday, Aug 24

Farewell: Adios Trekkers! We’ll drive to Dubrovnik (the closest airport to Kotor) and head back to A2 filled with meat, rice, and irreplaceable memories. Block off your calendars now for our first pre-Skeeps reunion, and don’t stress too much during the core. Remember: Bel-Grades Don’t Matter!