Sunday 16th September 2012
Early rise today to be ready for the trip back to Belgrade Airport at 7am. We did have some supplies, smuggled out from dinner the previous evening, for the trip but it was rather good to find the resort had provided us with a packed lunch. The trip back was uneventful and even so it took till almost 12.30 to get there. Bruce was doing his best to keep calm when we said goodbye and left him to check in at the Fly Dubai counter as we headed to the JAT check-in. Kristian had quite a considerable wait for his flight to Istanbul. We wandered around a bit and then thought we would go through security and passport control and spend time there instead. It was here we met up with Bruce and members of the English team and John from Norway. The queue was unbelievably long and snaked around several times. It was close to about 1.15 pm when we got through the formalities and caught a glimpse of Bruce waiting at this gate (stress eating- well that’s what it looked like.)Our flight to Dubrovnik left on time and we arrived here at 3.30pm. Our prearranged transfer was waiting for us and by 4.00pm we were sitting on the vine covered deck outside drinking real tea. House Boninovo is situated half way between the old town and the Port Gruz and although can be a little bit noisy with traffic during the evening; it was a real find and rather homely and ample room for cat swinging. The shutters on the window work well in hiding the washing from street view.
Walking tour at 6pm was followed by dinner in what Ewen has dubbed spaghetti alley, an outdoor restaurant in a narrow alley at most 2.4 metres wide, room for tables on one side and space for people to walk up and down on the other, covered with a canvas awning.
Purchased some fruit and a couple of croissants for breakfast on the way home.
Monday 17th September 2012
We made it to the bus stop by 7.40am in time to catch our tour to Montenegro. The view leaving Dubrovnik was spectacular. There is an extremely narrow coastal strip with very steep escarpment immediately behind it and right on the edge you can see the old town and its fortifications. They obviously have to use every available fertile land for production and the terraced gardens stretched some way up the escarpment. It was a fairly rough road due to road works, and few more delays at the border crossings, but the view of Kotor Bay was spectacular. We stopped at Perast and wandered along the foreshore. There were a couple of groups of swimmers who were swimming behind speed boats across to the island in the middle of the bay. Ewen didn’t opt to join them. Thought the water was a bit too chilly.
Next stop was the walled town of Kotor. Any thought of walking around the wall went out the window when I realised it was over 1300 steps to the viewing area. We had a walking tour of the town, more facts and figure that I had no chance of remembering. Apparently they had very original names for the city squares, the square of flowers, the square of milk, the square of meat, and I expect the squares of fruit and vegetables. We did get a chance to visit one church, rather elegant with the white walls and pink brick work. The museum attached had some relics hundreds of years old, but what caught my eye was the lace that was still intact even though it was very old. There was not a lot of free time here as we had to move onto Budva.
Budva, like Kotor had buildings that were built by the Venetians back in 16th century and the only damage to them has been due to earthquakes and not the 1990s conflict. We(along with Alice a very sociable immigration officer from Hong Kong) opted for some seafood (mussels) for lunch and it was rather pleasant sitting under the big umbrellas overlooking the sea. Lunch was a bit too long and it left us with less than 45 minutes to check out the old town here. The three of us set off for a route march around the old town. Again more narrow streets, 3 more churches and a citadel. The view from the citadel was worth the 2 Euro entry and just had enough time to check out the library attached and make it back to the bus via the ice-cream shop by 3pm. Dare I say it was Jenelle who found the way back!!
Many locals are not happy with the extent of Russian development in the area; it is becoming rather glitzy and losing its quaint old town charm. There is the casino where James Bond – Casino Royal was filmed and an overdeveloped island called Sveti Stefan now rented by wealthy Chinese, maybe, there seems to be some about the actual arrangements.
The only entertainment of note on the way back to Dubrovnik was at the border crossing. It would seem the border police take great delight in stopping suave young males in expensive vehicles and spend considerable time examining every inch of their vehicle.
Tried a different place for dinner, magnificent trout with almonds. Sorry no picture, but I can assure you it was good, along with fish pate. We are also becoming addicted to Limonada, old-fashioned homemade lemon drink made from fresh lemon juice, just like Pullos’s café in Goondiwindi used to make.