Day 24 - Monday 6th March
The weather would be an important factor in deciding whether to hitch-hike from Dubrovnik and unfortunately it was raining. We decided to head for the road and see what happens. Whilst walking through the centre, we met a couple of English lads heading south and a large group of English heading home after finishing a boat tour. Michael tried hitching but with absolutely no luck, which we attributed to the fairly constant and occasionally heavy rain. So it was quickly to Plan B. The bus to Kotor left at 12 noon and the Japanese lad from yesterday was there at the bus station - his name was Tamio. The road edged around the fiord and provided extremely beautiful views. We decided not to stay in Kotor but to head further inland. The road left Kotor and headed straight up the mountain. The scenery was amazing with tremendous views over the fiord and the coastline. The road was extremely winding and the corners were such tight hairpins that it appeared that the back end of the bus was hanging over the edge of the precipice. Then higher still and soon we were travelling alongside snow-capped mountains - the road was frightening at times but well worth the experience. We changed buses at Cetinje and then the bus headed to Titograd (now the capital of Montenegro and renamed Podgorica). Three Canadians were travelling on the latest bus - a couple and their young daughter. They were very friendly and we had a very nice chat. The scenery for this part of the journey was rugged mountains covered with brown leaved trees making it look like autumn - it was slightly bleak with lots of isolated houses.
We had virtually no background information on this part of Europe and unlike Dubrovnik, there were no guest house owners waiting at the bus station vying for our trade. The bus station closed at 10pm and so there was no chance of sleeping on benches there. We were given an address of a potential Youth Hostel but alas it was closed for the winter. Next stop a local hotel but the room rate was more than our daily budget even after some price negotiating. We walked back to what appeared to be the main thoroughfare and considered our options whilst watching the youngsters of Titograd walk up and down as they do in Mediterranean countries. Good fortune - the walkers included the Canadians (Denis, Marylou and Sarah)who had booked into a hotel. Denis attracted the attention of the receptionist whilst we nipped through the lobby and into their room. Clearly this was a very generous gesture because in communist Yugoslavia we all could have been in big trouble if caught ! The room was obviously pretty cramped with 6 adults and one child in a smallish area. However the room was snug and warm and most certainly a much better bet than the bench at the bus station ! We shared our rations of food which normally consisted of bread, chesse, apples and cake - this time including a few really tasty pastries bought in Cetinje. Another night sleeping on the floor and so thank goodness for a decent quality sleeping bag.
We did not see much of Titograd and so it was difficult to make any judgement. Whilst we were sitting in the main throughfare, some people were friendly whilst others seemed a little hostile making gestures and staring coldly - still we were physically cold and maybe not giving off the best vibes ourselves.
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