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Published: December 11th 2008
Jay and I eating our epic salad. Best meal in awhile.
Country number #20 of the trip and back in the EU.... sort of! Well they use the euro. Montenegro is the world's newest country after a referendum passed in 2006 to separate them from the union of Serbia & Montenegro. We took a bus from Dubrovnik to the town of Kotor, built on the largest inland fjord in Europe. The ride was beautiful as we wound our way down the coast from Croatia. There was an interesting whirlpool-like thing in the Bay of Kotor that looked like an underwater spring.
The old town of Kotor was yet another pedestrian-only, walled Roman city (will it never end?). However, this one was quite unique as the wall was built straight up the mountain cliff immediately behing the city. On top of the cliff was an ancient Illyrian fortress and there were stairs climbing the entire route. We started to climb at about 4pm but stopped about a third of the way up as we didn't want to get stuck in the dark. To our dismay, we reached the bottom of the hill only to turn around and see that the entire path was well lit and would have made for a spectacular
A church with the mountains in the background.
We had been deprived of fresh vegetables for some time, so the day we arrived we went to the market to stock up for an epic salad. This time of year we could still buy local lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. We topped this off with some feta cheese and the whole thing cost less than 5 euros.
The following day, we got in contact with some Couch Surfers from the town of Bar so we headed off in that direction. The bus we took to Bar was something straight out of the Soviet era. Loud, smelly and ancient.
Bar reminded us a bit of Naniamo when we first got in. It was a fairly busy town of about 70 000 people, with wide streets and grey building facades. The girls we were staying with were kindergarten volunteers from Germany and Finland. They were bagged from playing with snot nosed five year olds all day, so we just took it easy the first night.
The next day we headed for the old town. The advantage of touristing with locals is knowing how to do everything the cheap way. We learned that with four people
Starting the climb up the hill.
it was easier and cheaper to take a cab the 4 km to the old town rather than take the bus. Alex and I were a bit over excited about our luxurious cab ride... we rarely get car rides!
The old town was more of a reconstruction zone than a tourist trap. There was an earthquake in 1979, and the city is rebuilding the old buildings to look exactly the same as they did in the medieval ages. The girls we were with said Montenegrins weren't known for being hard workers. The timeline of the old town project proved their point! Granted the placard outside the town said the town would be rebuilt with the strength and unity of the Yugoslavian people.
Just outside the walled city we went to a little restaurant and were served traditional Turkish coffee. Your spoon can stand up in that stuff!
Tomorrow we are headed on a bit of an adventure to Tirana. Apparently, the Albanian public transport takes a rocket scientist to understand. I'm sure we'll muddle through.
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