There aren't many things which bring residents of Albania and Croatia together to the same event, but there was one notable exception nine years ago - an event in Montenegro.
I have been driving to - and through - Montenegro for 17 years now and, not being much of a beach person due to my pink skin in summer, I hadn't paid much attention to the beaches of Montenegro, except to note that some of them were very pretty indeed. Could I name one? No.
That changed in 2008 as friends of mine in Split agreed to meet mutual friends from Tirana at a beach called Jaz in Montenegro to watch Madonna perform live. Pretty far out, and while the concert went ahead and was enjoyed by all, my friends failed to hook up with each in the huge crowds. But here is Madge, starting her set no Jaz Beach in Montenegro, all those years ago:
A pretty impressive thing for Montenegro, I thought, from my bar in Croatia, but by no means unique, either for Montenegro or for Jaz beach, for the year before Jaz had played host to the Rolling Stones:
Jaz Beach's global musical tradition has continued from those big name acts, mostly in the form of the annual Sea Dance Festival, which takes place every summer since 2014, when it was voted Best Medium-Sized Festival in Europe in its inaugural year. Linked to the legendary Exit Festival in Novi Sad, dates for 2018 have yet to be announced at time of writing, but check the official website for the latest news, and then check the video below to see what you will be missing if you do not make it to Sea Dance Festival 2018:
By now, you have probably realised that Jaz is not the quietest beach on the Adriatic in peak season, and it you are looking for a little solitude by the Adriatic in July and August, it is probably not for you. Named as Lonely Planet's Beach of the Year in 2015, Jaz is gorgeous 12 months a year, and while your swimming preferences depend on the water temperature, it is possible to experience a much quieter Jaz outside the peak season months when the water is still very inviting.
Jaz is actually two beaches in the same bay, one 450m and one 850m, with an accompanying campsite and several bars and restaurants. Made of small pebbles, it provides gentle access to the sea.
And if you are a fan of watersports... Jaz is the beach for you. Take a look at what is on offer from Jaz Beach Bar Jedro in the video below, for example.
To reach Jaz, head 2.5km west of Budva and follow the signs. Paid parking is available.