The bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor was a trip worth doing just for the views from the road teetering on the edge of the mountains along the coast of Croatia and then the breath taking and amazing bay of Kotor. We could have enjoyed it a bit more if our bus driver wasn't a crazy fool and didn't drive at ridiculous speeds around the hair pin bends on the cliffs over the sea. I think getting one of the many massive cruise ships to the bay would be the way to go as you would get to enjoy its splendor even more. As you get closer and closer to Kotor the mountains just keep getting bigger and steeper and the beauty is just out of this world. J and I couldn't believe our eyes and I think we both fell in love with the place straight away. We arrived hoping to have the same throng of accommodation touts and luckily there were a couple. A shabby looking guy approached us and I wasn't sure but when he said it was only 10 Euro a night per person we went for a look. He had a lovely old house close to the
Kotor at night
They light up the steep path at night.
old town at the bottom of the great mountain with the fortress on it. The room was very basic it looked like his mother might have lived there and it hadn't been changed since she had passed away!! We chose the bigger room, but it only had a fridge and a dodgy little electric stove element. It was very cheap to eat out so we didn't need a full kitchen. It had the best balcony with views over the bay, old town and the fort. The toilet and bathroom were outside, he described it as new but I would say it was installed in the 70's but luckily it had a normal loo not a squat toilet. I fell in love with it of course and the guy Franovic gave us a map and a thorough guide of the town. Kotor is another town on the coast based within its sturdy walls. Up the mountain behind the town lies more walls all the way to the top to a fort via a church. J and I wandered around the streets and decided to get a pizza and a glass of wine for lunch. The sun came out just as we
had finished so we thought that we should make the climb up to the fort, maybe this wasn't the best idea with such satisfied full bellies. IT was certainly a climb, it was a 1200m ascent via 1350 steps. Before you start it has a guide to the danger rating of each part which got extremely dangerous as you reached the top. Everyone was climbing it so we thought what the heck. It was just quite rocky and some sections of the wall had crumbled away. It was pretty hard going but when you see oldies doing it, it spurs you on. It was definitely worth the effort and I would recommend anyone visiting that they mustn't chicken out. The views were amazing I don't have words to describe it. You can see down the city walls, the turquoise water of the bay and the enormous mountains surrounding. We hung around at the top for a while taking pictures and savouring it before the walk back down. The walk back wasn't much easier as you had to watch your step on the loose rocks. By the time we got to the bottom our legs were all wobbly and weak. We
felt we definitely deserved a beer so went and sat by the sea with a couple of cold stubbies until the sun disappeared behind one of the huge mountains. We had seen most of Kotor in the first day so we caught a local bus to Budva. This is a very strange seaside resort. It has a beautiful old town again in its own walls, much of it was ruined though in two big earthquakes which happened in 1979, but has since been rebuilt. The beach front is pretty run down and dirty but they are trying to plough money into the regeneration of it for the massive numbers of Russian and Ukrainian package tourists they get in the summer months. We didn't stop there long before catching another bus to Sveti Stefan. This is a very pretty place on the coast with a tiny island joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus which, from the 15th century to the 1950s housed a fishing village. This was until someone had the idea of turning it into a luxury hotel which attracted celebs and royalty until the war in the 1990s. It is currently being renovated back into another plush
resort so we weren't able to go on the island but the views of it were still spectacular. We went for a walk along the coast and came across a gorgeous hotel with a private beach. We kept walking and stumbled across another amazing little cove and beach. It said it was the hotel beach also but no one was on it, the sun was out, the sea was so clear and inviting so we thought we might go for a swim, but as soon as we set foot on the pebbles a security guard appeared and whistled at us to get off. How did he know we weren't staying the the posh hotel!! We walked back to swim near Sveti Stefan The sea was so much warmer than Croatia, it was a nice treat and especially floating looking at the island and the snow capped mountains. We sat at the side of the road waiting for the bus to turn up as it said is was scheduled to but it didn't come. Luckily one going all the way back to Kotor came passed so we managed to jump on that. That evening we went to a fish restaurant that
old matey recommended us . Unfortunately they didn't have the sardines or anchovies but J got a fillet of Sole and I had the most amazing huge plate of fried squid. J and I have not ever had it so good and tender plus it was cheap cheap.
We caught the bus to Podigorica the next morning at 8am hoping to catch the next bus to Macedonia either to Ohrid or the capital Skopje. After another crazy bus journey this time up and up the mountain until we were above the clouds and you could not see far in front of you. IT was scary but awesome, we arrived in Podigorica at 11am only to discover there was no connection with Ohrid and only one bus to Skopje, not even a train. The bus went at 8pm and with no money and two cash machines at the bus station not working we left our bags with the ticket office in a hunt for a cash machine to buy our tickets for the bus as she said it could sell out. We got it all sorted and went into the town only to discover that Podigorica is an ugly city with
no charm and run down buildings. We tried to hunt out the cinema as the lonely planet said they play English movies, so thought this would kill some time. After getting a bit lost we found the cinema to be derelict, thanks again Lonely Planet!! We ended up back at the bus station sitting on the grass outside reading and writing the blog. Oh I forgot to mention that tattoos are unheard of in Podigorica and the amount of people staring, touching me and even beeping their car horns whilst hanging out of their car window pointing to the tattoo they have was crazy. The bus arrived to pick us up already full to the brim, supposedly you have reserved seats but this didn't count on this occasion. The bus was full of a massive rowdy college trip or something who had just plonked themselves where ever they wanted. A couple of locals who spoke their language managed to get a seat by getting them to move but it looked like we were going to stand until one of the guys on a seat to himself moved next to another guy. We were right at the back next to the
loudest and most rowdy group of lads. We had only left the bus station about 10 minutes when the bus pulled up and the drivers got out to have dinner at a restaurant. After a half hour stop we all pilled back on and set off on our 11 hour trip. We stopped at border control out of Montenegro and then again going into Kosovo. I am sad we weren't able to do the trip in the day as I only managed to see a couple of towns in Kososvo as the sun rose. It was much more different than I imagined with nice looking towns and huge snow capped mountains and lush green valleys. The college trip didn't stay loud for too long and were all asleep so we managed uncomfortably to get a few zzzz's. We stopped again at border control coming out of Kosovo at about 5am this time we all had to get off the bus and collect our bags from under the bus and open them for inspection. The cop didn't really look that closely so not sure if he was looking for midget Kosovons or what!! We finally arrived in Skopje, Macedonia at 7am,
tired but ready to catch our next bus on to Ohrid as soon as possible.
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