Beautiful Montenegro and rain again

Trip Start Mar 05, 2002
Trip End Jan 2003

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Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Thursday, August 22, 2002

So we made it to Montenegro. It was so easy! We didn't need a visa, a tourist card, proof of Euros, or proof of prepaid accommodation. We just bought bus tickets in Dubrovnik, Croatia, got on a bus, then got off the bus, and walked across the border. The border guards asked us where we were going, what our purpose for visiting Montenegro was, and wished us a pleasant day. Then we got onto another bus and a few hours later, we were in Budva.

I never imagined that I would end up in Yugoslavia* on this trip. It is surprisingly normal though, it feels just as European as anywhere else we've been. I had half expected the buildings to be riddled with bullet holes, and the economy to be in ruins, but the reality, at least here in the south, is nothing like that. I'm sure it would be another story if we were to visit Kosovo. My understanding is that currently, Montenegro and Serbia are both republics of Yugoslavia, but they are working to become independent, though the process is slow.*

Most of the tourists here in Budva are from other parts of Yugoslavia, there aren't a lot of westerners here, but it is hard to figure out why. It is completely modern, beautiful, and has amazing beaches. There is a charming, (though touristy,) walled old town right on the water. I read in Lonely Planet that it was actually just built in 1979 after the original old town was ruined in an earthquake. They faithfully replicated the style of the original structures, and it now basically serves as a tourist attraction. They did an excellent job of making the old town seem authentic. If I hadn't read that, I would never have guessed.
The scenery in the whole region is amazing, and the town definitely has a resort type vibe. There are lots of beer gardens along the beachfront. It is a lot cheaper than Croatia, but just as lovely.

One minor problem for is pouring rain. This morning there was a clap of thunder so loud and powerful that it set off practically every car alarm in the city. But we should have expected this. Almost every time we go to the beach, it rains. I remain hopeful, however. We're here until Sunday, so there is bound to be at least one day of sunshine. Right?

*Update: The country of Serbia and Montenegro was formed on February 5, 2003, when the former Yugoslavia Republic disbanded and dissolved.
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