Driving the Montenegro coast south to Ulcinj

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May 17th 2013
Published: May 19th 2013
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We did something today we haven't ever done in 41 years of marriage and travel together................we decided to share a suitcase!Now you probably don't think that this was a MAJOR decision but think about it,male stuff in with female stuff!However,we hope that the need for our winter clothes has passed with the prospect of fine ,warm weather ahead as the adventure takes us further south and there is not much point at carting in and storing those clothes as we change our accommodation.So combining the packing cells with the winter stuff into one suitcase and leaving it in the boot of the car was the obvious answer.As it turned out we were pretty much on a 50/50 basis when it came down to the space the summer clothes in their packing cells took up.So we shall see how it goes!

We stayed on in bed this morning as todays drive down to Ulcinj is not much more than 80km and even though we plan to call into Budva to walk around the old town we still thought we would be at our destination by early afternoon.

However this little plan backfired as just as we were getting up to shower and get breakfast,the power went off.Just what the problem was we didn't know.The thunderstorm of last night had passed and the sky was clearing.

The owner of the apartments had hot water from some source and provided us with a 'murky'cup of coffee.This is the way they enjoy their coffee in this part of the world and we would suggest to anyone coming this way but likes their coffee a little less stronger then bring your own jar of Nescafe,as we have.

Not only did he bring the coffee up for us but also two shot glasses and his decanter of local brandy which he made himself.The stuff looked like water as it was perfectly clear but boy you wouldn't want to pour yourself water and then find it was this firewater.In his broken English he said 'no worries,one shot glass each would still keep us OK for driving!"

Firewater brandy for breakfast,we think not.We did have a sip while he was there talking to us as we think he wanted us to try it and see our reaction while he was there,so we went along with the deal.However,once he had gone we poured the rest down the sink which probably meant anything growing in the pipes would have been exterminated immediately!!

The power came back on just as we were leaving and so we didn't get our boiled eggs in the makeshift egg cups this morning

However,it was in just enough time to check where we were actually going as we hadn't written down the name of the place or address let alone look at Google maps to see the lay of the land.

The weather continued to clear as we headed the short distance towards Budva although with the sort of misty,hazy atmosphere that was around it might take a while to become completely fine and clear.

Before we got to Budva we drove off the main road down to Jaz Beach which we had read in guide books was a must see place.However today wasn't one of those days with a big sea pounding onto the shingly beach it was difficult to see how this place was a must see.Behind the beach is a large motor camp which was still awaiting the summer's first flock of visitors and behind that again a large open area which has seen a number of rock concerts over the years including the Rolling Stones and a Madonna concert that played to 50,000 people,5 times the population of nearby Budva.Now seeing that concert would have been a must see!

The old town in Budva was an interesting place to wander around.Most of the compact area had had to be rebuilt after the major earthquake of 1979 and again our minds went back to the Christchurch earthquake and wonder why the Christchurch Cathedral can't be rebuilt.You needed to look hard to see the different coloured stone that the buildings that had been destroyed, had been rebuilt with,and you would have to say that those involved had done an excellent job in authenticity.

While strolling around, a young woman with a little girl in a pram stopped us, and asked if we would take their photo.We then got into discussion as to where she was from and was she on holiday.We got more information on the Sarajevo siege from the woman who was Serbian and had lived in the city for a while in the early part of the war.She had lived with her family on what essentially was the Muslim side of the city and we got the feeling that her family felt it would be better for the family if they moved to another city until the war was over which they did.When they returned they found it hard to sell their property but eventually had done so and moved to the western or predominatly Serbian side of the city.

Budva is much more commercial than Kotor is and there have been a number of modern tourist hotels and apartments built in recent years to cope with the ever increasing tourist industry.

We had been hoping for the weather to clear as the day progressed so that we could see the coastline at its best but although the sun did break through the sea all the way down the coast was rough after the weather system that bought the thunderstorm last night and unfortunately it probably spoilt the impression we had been expecting.

One of the most photographed places in Montenegro,Sveti Stefan,was a few kilometres out of Budva.It is a small island that is connected to the coast by a causeway and has been developed as an upmarket hotel complex.It is so exclusive that to get onto to the island you have to be registered as a guest as we assume they don't want any old tourist walking amongst their paying guests.Even though the weather wasn't perfect the island was very photogeinic and as the guide book says,the best photos are taken from the main road which runs above the island.There is even a dedicated pull off place to stop and take photos.

The road continued to basically follow the coast and the next city was Bar,which was another commercial rather than tourist city and a place where you can catch a ferry to Bari on the Italian east coast making the trip in about 8 hours rather than thousands of kilometres in driving and many,many hours of travel.

About 10km south of Bar the road did head away from the coast and we only returned to the sea again when we arrived in Ulcinj.

We knew that our apartment was on a road that would take us to zig zag up the hillside overlooking the bay.However finding exactly where the zig zag started was a challenge particulary when Vicky wanted to take us up an impossible one lane street where it was impossible to see ahead as to whether the road would widen out to make driving easier.We passed a couple of options to head up the hill until we succumbed to a narrow street that at least had a one way sign giving some assurance that we wouldn't meet any opposing traffic.

We zigged and zagged our way up the hill and just when we thought we would need to get and walk to check the area out as none of the houses appeared to have house numbers on them despite the fact that our reservation information did quote a house number,Gretchen spotted the house,right across the road from where we had stopped the car.

The apartment has a communal terrace with 3 other apartments and looks out over the beach area of the town and out to the Adriatic and we think we will be very comfortable here as we have cooking facilities as well as plenty of space.

We decided to shout ourselves dinner out and dined on fillet of fish for Gretchen(this time the fish must have been a legal size to catch!) and calamari or squid for Grahame.With chips and a salad included plus our 2 x 500ml beers our dinner came in at €16 or about NZ$24 which is probably our best deal yet including the pizza meals we had in Italy.

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23rd May 2013

Sharing a suitcase? Really? You are brave!
24th May 2013

Yes,and it has been 5 days and still working out!

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