Podgorica, Virpazar (Lake Skadar), Budva, Kotor, Montenegro 3 to 5 July 2013

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July 5th 2013
Published: July 11th 2013
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Podgorica, Virpazar (Lake Skadar), Budva, Kotor, Montenegro 3 to 5 July 2013

We got up early from our Bushat, Camping Albania and was on the road by 8.30am after our fresh bread was delivered. We were off to Montenegro. As we were crossing the river that flowed out of Lake Skadar (Albania side) we saw a secondhand bike place. Tom found a suitable bike. It had riden around Italy so the tires needed changing. They didn’t have the right size so the guys serviced it and we tied it onto the back of the camper.

Crossing the border was no problem. About 30 kms after the border crossing we arrived at the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica (population 145,000). The roads had been good (later they were not so good!). We drove around the city and saw the very famous Podgorica Cathedral. The city sits in the confluence of 2 rivers which adds to the interest of the town. We stopped at a shopping centre and bought a few things, and we were off again.

We had a bit of trouble finding the right road out of Podgorica so after several attempts, we asked at the shopping centre’s pharmacy who gave excellent directions.

We drove down the E80/E65 to Virpazar which was near an area called the Bar on the coast of Lake Skadar. There was a very persistent and persuasive salesman (I get entirely put off and say ‘no’ and Tom gets sucked in!!). We had a coffee to think about it and wise Tom said it was time to have a relaxing 2 hours floating around the Lake. I must admit, it was beautiful. We saw the ‘alcatraz’ of the Bar where the Italians put their prisoners during WW1 and several churches on islands in the middle of the lake. Two mothers with a son each was also on the boat. We stopped so they could have a swim. The water was pretty cold.

The Lake is in a National Park so there was a lot of information on their flora and fauna. The special feature here was the miniature pelicans of which there are only 14 remaining – we didn’t see any.

After 2 hours, we were back on shore. We looked around the little touristy village and were on our way again.

Next stop Budva. Wow, what a seaside holiday place. It was packed, so much so we grabbed the first available space in this below-standard camping park. With 2 toilets and 2 cold showers for a lot of people it was a site that we would only stay 1 night. However they did supply us with 5L of bottled water. We were told that there were a lot of Russians and Germans holidaying in town

We went for a walk down the beach – rows and rows of umbrellas. It was sooo touristy. There were lots of hotels and restaurants. We chose a really nice hotel for dinner. It was a smorgasbord with excellent service thrown in. It was also a nice atmosphere and the food was lovely, particularly the seafood.

In the morning we caught a bus outside our camp site to their Stari Grad (Old Town). We saw a tour leader in traditional dress. We also listened to an English Speaking guide talk about the area. The Budva Stari Grad wasn’t very big so we were back at our camp site by 11.30am.

We checked out and headed for Kotor. Our GPS was telling us to go a particular way but I felt it was the wrong way. Sure enough! So we retraced our steps back to Budva and started again, using our instincts and headed in the right direction.

On arriving at Kotor and booked in at Camp Stoliv, about 8 kms out of the town, further along the fiord. Our neighbours who had the same camper as us except smaller, was a Polish family with 17 yo daughter and 12 yo son. The daughter spoke very good English and Dad was pretty good also. We had several long conversations with them.

Our other neighbours were a young couple for Germany who were on a motorbike and camping their way around.

There was an excellent bus service back into town. We caught the bus into Stari Grad and noted that it was in better condition and bigger than the one at Budva. It also had a church and a castle wall that you could walk along. Tom didn’t want to walk it so off I went. It was an hour round trip. There was a lot a stone stairs to climb. I really worked up a big sweat. But what a spectacular view of the Old and New Town, and the harbor with 2 cruise ships. The town nestles in the narrow strip between the mountain range and the beach. It was beautiful.

I had a raging thirst when I had completed the climb and Tom was waiting for me at the restaurant at the bottom of the stairs. One beer did the trick and a bit of time to stop perspiring.

While Tom was wandering around the town while I was on my climb, he noticed there was an Arts Festival in July so we booked 2 events.

After a shower back at the Park, we attended the 10 minute performance put on for children by 3 people who were dressed up as a rooster and 2 chickens. They were also playing wind instruments which they used as their method of communication. The expressions on their faces were fascinating and the kids just loved the show.

After dinner we then went to a show that was in Polish. It was based on football. It must have been funny as everyone was laughing at what they were saying. There were some things that were acted out that didn’t need verbal communication and was very funny.

After this show we went to the main square of Stari Grad and caught the last bit of another show which were children dancing. There were hordes of people there. It’s such a popular spot, particularly because of the beach and a couple of amusement parks. We then caught the bus back to camp and were like sardines in the bus – and it was 11.00pm.

The next morning Tom went for a swim down the beach and I went for a run. It was so good.

We then packed up after a leisurely breakfast and off we went again. We went back into Stari Grad because we had spotted a shoe repair place so while my sandal was being repaired we sat down at a restaurant for 2 hours drinking coffee, eating Greek salad (even though we were no longer in Greece), having cold juice and generally people watching. This is so easy to do in these situations. The restaurant also had cold mist sprayed over the tables as well as WiFi so we made full use of the service and coolness etc.

We were now on our way to Croatia after enjoying Montenegro.

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