A quick trip to Montenegro

by - Friday, April 26, 2013

During my stay in Dubrovnik, I scheduled a day trip to Montenegro through one of the local tour agencies.  I mean... I was already visiting ten countries in a month... why not add an eleventh for the sake of it.

I was picked up on "Croatian" time... about 15 minutes after my email said the van would meet me, but having seen the road construction the day before, I wasn't upset at all.  The roads through the Balkans are windy and narrow - for example, I can drive 250km in just over two hours on Canadian highways - in the Balkans you're looking at (at least) a four to five hour trip.

We headed south from Dubrovnik, and were at the border to Montenegro in about an hour.  Our first stop was to look at some Roman ruins (some beautiful mosaic floors) and then to take some pictures of the the scenery in and around the Bay of Kotor (which the tour guide said was really more of a fjord than a bay).

We stopped in Kotor for about an hour, and given that the walled in part of the city is so small, I actually just took the time to sit under a tree (the only shade I could find) and read a book for a bit.  We then carried on to Budva, where we passed a tunnel and an island used in the filming of the James Bond movie Casino Royale.  I now have a reason to watch my second ever Bond movie (I watched Skyfall on the flight from Calgary to Amsterdam) - to try and pick out places I saw in real life!

We walked along the city walls of Budva, and then sat down for lunch.  The German couple that was on the tour (there was just me, an American couple and an elderly German couple) asked to sit with me, and begrudgingly I said yes... no word of a lie these two smoked seven cigarettes each before lunch was served.  So gross.  They missed out on so much because they always just stayed by the van and smoked when the other three of us explored at each stop.

During the free time that we had in Budva, I found this path down past on of the hotels, and it provided me with some awesome pictures of the rock face and of the James Bond island (which is now actually owned by some Russian billionaire).  Then it was back to the van and back to Croatia...

Except the main tour guide got pulled over by the Montenegrin police for doing an illegal u-turn.  He looked really nervous, but handled it well.  The other tour guide explained the situation - the fine could actually be 100 Euro and they could have taken away the permit for the tour company to come to Montenegro.  But, with the police (and country) being so corrupt, they were able to negotiate.  The police wanted 40 Euro, but they managed to talk him down to 20 Euro.  I don't think that would fly in Canada!

On the way back we took a short ferry ride that cut off a bunch of driving time (on the way we circled the whole Bay of Kotor on a windy road... the ferry allowed us to cut right across the bay).  Then it was back to Croatia after a long stop at the Montenegro/Croatia border (but I got passport stamps!) and back to Dubrovnik.

The scenery was beautiful, and totally worth the day trip.

Next... Sarajevo!

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  1. Cool! Montenegro - very cool! Watching Casino Royale tonight and can't believe that you were there just a day ago. Glad the trip has gone so well! Thank you for sharing all the details!