Eastern Europe - Day 50 & 51 - Ostrog and Budva, Monternegro

June 23rd 2009
Published: June 23rd 2009
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Yesterday was a bit of a travel day. We had to leave Sarajevo (sad sigh) and head towards the border for Montenegro as our destination for the night was the Ostrog Monestary up in the hills. This involved a 6 hour bus trip, which really is a little while to spend on a bus, and then a short private transfer to our accomodation for the night which as the monks dormitory. This was going to be most interesting as the dormitory really is part of the monestary and there are strict rules around what you can and can't do. Some of these rules involve the fact that boys and girls have separate rooms and never shall the two meet 😊

The weather for the last couple of days has just been miserable. It has been cold and rainy and as the monestary is right up in the hills it was also freezing. So after a glorious day in Sarajevo (and a wet and rainy day in Mostar) it was a little sad to be putting on the jeans, and 5 layers and wooly hat that I had gotten used to in the Baltics. I had thought that I had managed to put these items down into the bottom of my pack for good. But I guess that that just wasn't meant to be after all.

When we arrived in Ostrog it was raining hard, so instead of doing the normal walk up the hill to the upper monestary, Chris arranged for us to take the private transport up to upper monestary and to then walk down again. I have to say that the monestary really isn't on my top places in the world to visit. Apparently the monestary was built by St Vassily in the 1600s and is actually one of the biggest regilious pilgrimage sites in the world. The body of St Vassily is housed in the monestary. Apparently some priests down in the village had a dream 7ish years after his death and in this dream he told them to exhume his body and when they opened his tomb they found that his body wasn't decayed at all. So now his body lies in the monestary covered with a velvet blanket for all the pilgrims to see and touch. It was actually kind of spooky. Miracles are said to have occured on the monestary, for example one little girl who hadn't walked since she was 4 slept the night in the monestary and then the next morning woke up and could walk (she was aged 12 when it happened). And Chris said that some Intrepid travellers have reported things happening to them as well. More than likely we won't be reporting any miracles after our night at Ostrog as we probably offended God with our drinking in the pub and then our raccous behaviour back at the dormitory, which nearly got Stu evicted from the hostel for being in the girls room after hours. The monk was not amused with us at all.

Today I woke up really early (probably because I was sleeping on a matress that was covered in plastic and only had a thin, stained sheet covering it). Nobody else in the room was up and awake when I woke up (6am) so I decided to get up and go for a bit of a walk. Another joy of the monestary dormitory was that there were no showers to be had. I can't begin to imagine what some of the pilgrims would end up smelling like after a few days of staying at the monestary, but I can't imagine that it would be pleasant at all. Anyway I digress. When I woke up I decided to go for a walk and ended up walking up to the upper monestary (the white place on the top of the hill where the body of St Vassily is laid out for all to see). I was very surprised by the number of people that were up at the monestary at that time in the morning. The best thing about getting up early was seeing the beautiful view of the valley as it was shrouded by fog.

We left Ostrog (what a shame) just after breakfast and headed off to Budva where we are to spend the next two nights. The drive was only about 3 hours this time, which was nice. Budva is a lovely little town that really doesn't have a lot to recommend it. It has pebbly beaches and LOADS of tacky stalls and fairground rides along the beach front. It reminds me a lot of Blackpool or Brighton. However the old town is really cute and quaint, although it is totally overun with tourist shops. Tomorrow we have a free day in Budva, so hopefully we will be able to get out on the water for some swimming (assuming that the weather is more friendly then it has been over the last few days.)


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