After being trapped under two meters of snow in northern Montenegro for several days during the coldest winter this part of Eastern Europe has seen in decades, we returned home to Podgorica only to find the capital city enveloped as well. Podgorica lies in the flatter central region of Montenegro, typically receiving only inches of snow per year (if any). Next day we escaped the house for a chilly walk through streets that looked suddenly unfamiliar. Kids who've never seen their city under such a snowy seige molded snowmen and lobbed snowballs. In the city center people shoveled sidewalks and smirked at the unusual circumstances. One guy took the opportunity for some urban recreation, snowboarding off the roof of a downtown cafe.
In the week since our return to Podgorica the Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency. Roads to the mountainous north are closed and impassable, school is canceled until further notice, street lights turned off to conserve electricity, and we (along with the rest of the city) walk to work every morning. Our car sits idle on the street, covered in snow. It may remain in this hibernation for a while considering today's headlines - dramatically ominous, though a little outdated if you ask me: “Stiže siberska hladnoća” – The Siberian freeze is coming.