The Tour of Ulcinj,Montenegro

Europe » Montenegro » Ulcinj
May 19th 2013
Published: May 22nd 2013
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Gelato flavour of the day – Kiwi (this one not particularly true to its flavour but the right colour)

For some reason we thought we had forgotten we had purchased items for our lunch today and as we needed fresh bread we planned a walk ‘down the easy road ‘to a pekara (local lingo for bakery) after breakfast.

The rangy young cat that has walked by a couple of times and also last night got a couple of pieces of chicken from our dinner was back again this morning and this time with a female friend who was either his sister or mother as she had almost identical markings, a ginger head and tail with a white body except she also had a couple of ginger bits on her side. They looked well fed, in relation to others we have seen climbing out of the large rubbish dumpsters on the side of the road. They weren’t that interested in the toast and egg which was on offer this morning but they hung around just in case we produced something else.

Pekara’s are just about as common as cafes or bars are in this country but most sell pretty well much the same items of either pastry with meat or cheese fillings, sweet pastries and of course bread, of which there can be some variety to choose from.

So we bought a couple of the savoury pastries and bread for lunch, got out the door, and promptly remembered we had already bought salami and sausages yesterday to have today. It was either going to be a good feed or we will keep something for lunch on the road tomorrow as we head into Albania.

The temperature today was a little less than yesterday but probably still in the mid 20’s and we took our afternoon ‘tour’ of what we hadn’t seen yesterday of the town in the mid afternoon.

So it was down the steeper access road, which has an exit close to the beach, and along the promenade taking in all the variety of sizes and shapes of people sunning themselves or taking a dip in the sea. We picked our way through the old and young lightly clad bodies of sun worshippers

and dipped our toes in the Adriatic. Like most times you try the sea at the start of summer we had the reaction of it being too cold but standing there and letting the small wavelets ripple over us up to our ankles we gradually got used to the temperature. However it had some way to go yet before either of us would be enticed in further.

Then it was up the hill on the opposite side of the valley from our apartment and a walk around a road that took us past several coastal bars and restaurants that were getting ready for the summer influx (this seems to have been happening almost everywhere we have been over the past few weeks) by repairing buildings and fittings or painting. The seaside bars were fenced off from the road and most had areas with small huts or umbrellas to get shade from the sun. Here though none of them had a sandy beach to wade into the sea from. Rather you would have to walk over a smooth rock ledge, where we daresay people would be sunbathing, and jump or dive into the sea to cool off and have your swim.

By the time we had walked a couple of kilometres we came across the Albatross Hotel, a large modern affair that seemed mostly closed up. We were to learn later that Saso, our host at the apartment, worked at the hotel and from what we think we understood, also grew vegetables and had a small olive orchard close to the hotel.

Retracing our steps we walked around the hillside above the beach to the Hotel Mediteran, which was apparently mentioned in the NY Times 3 years ago as one of the top 30 tourist hotels in the world to stay. We are not sure what might have attracted whoever suggested this as although the place was quite tidy it didn’t look anything special. Perhaps the sea views from some parts of the hotel might have been the clincher. Again there didn’t look like there were currently any guests staying.

We then made it to a rather ugly looking monument we had noticed from our apartment terrace and had been mystified as to its origins.Well, we were none the wiser as we walked around this ‘winged’ structure as there were no plaques or inscriptions telling us what it had been erected to commemorate. Even though it was rather ugly in design and on the eye it was a shame to notice graffiti on it and the unkempt state of the grounds surrounding it. Again, we did find out later from Saso’s sister that it was a WW2 monument and she agreed that its upkeep left something to be desired. We told her that war monuments at home were basically sacred places and woe betide anyone who defaces them or if the authorities didn’t look after them.

When we got home from our walk we sat down for a cold beer and nibbles on the terrace.

Saso arrived to say thank you for staying. The whole family from mother down all live in the house although there are two apartments for them. We have met them all over the past 3 days and they have all been such pleasant people to talk with, even Mum who can’t speak English but has it interpreted by the daughter.

We offered Saso a beer and he sat down for a long chat. He explained how the family had lived on the site since 1910 when the house in front of our apartment had been built. During WW2 the house, which was the largest on the hill in those days, was occupied by the Nazis while the family had fled to the mountains. The house had survived the devastating 1979 earthquake virtually undamaged. He demonstrated the width of the stone walls by holding his hands apart indicating a width of at least a foot and saying that no reinforcing had been used when the house was built. Today he said all the new houses had to meet a strict code to avoid a catastrophe in the event of another major earthquake. In 1979 the country was still unified as Yugoslavia and the ‘other’ states had come to Montenegro’s aid with money to rebuild. He feared that would not happen today since the demise of Yugoslavia. He didn’t even seem to have a lot of faith that the EU would help despite the fact that Montenegro was an EU member.

His wife eventually came looking for him as his dinner was ready. The last hour had been an interesting one and we had got a slightly different perspective of what it had been like under Yugoslavia rule and how the new nation had gone since splitting from Serbia. However it has only been a few years since independence and so there will be major decisions for the government to take as it finds its way in the world on its own. One thing for sure is that its people are very friendly and eager to please the tourists that come to enjoy its scenery and hospitality as we have.

The cats came back to help us clean off the last of the chicken and sausages, I was supposed to have had for lunch and when they went home rather satisfied we headed for bed for a good night’s sleep in readiness for the unknown................Albania.

Additional photos below
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23rd May 2013

Those cats look surprisingly similar to the one I shared my fried sprat lunch with in Croatia way back in 2006....
23rd May 2013

Might have been related.There are so many cats there.

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