Trip Start Jul 23, 2007
Trip End Aug 23, 2007

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Where I stayed
Hotel Rendez Vous

Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I got up at 5 to walk to the bus stop for my bus to Kotor, Montenegro. Expecting a big coach, I was somewhat surprised to see a regular minibus, and to hear that I was the only passenger! It was basically a private taxi for 5 1/2 hours for 20 pounds. Unfortunately the driver didnt really speak any English, so after we'd passed through Skodra (the castle looked really interesting), and we stopped for coffee just before the Albanian/Montenegrin border, we could do little more than sit in silence!

The border crossing was very quick and easy- the driver seemed to know the guards so that probably made things easier. Montenegro is beautiful. I cant really explain the change in atmosphere, as the scenery is probably similar to Albania, but it just seemed less sparse and depressing (not that Albania's terrible of course) and definitely more of a holiday destination. We drove towards the sea, which was bright blue, and followed the stunning coastal road around the mountains. I also got my first sense of quite how busy it was going to be. Driving through Bar and other similar towns at 9:20am, there were already swarms of people heading for the beach. It was packed! My driver kindly dropped me off at the bus stop in Budva (which is good as I wouldn't have had a clue where to go) and I caught the next bus to Kotor.

Kotor is a beautiful small walled town, which those traditional narrow streets and high buildings, stone streets etc. In August, it also comes with the obligatory cruise ship, and the hordes of tourists. Feeling like a tortoise with my rucksack on my back, I stumble into town, trying to find the accomodation centre, and walking past the same people sitting in the cafes about 5 times. When I finally found it, they said the town was full... How can an entire town be full?! Anyway after saying this, they suggested I try the hotel Rendez Vous, just in case. Didn't really want to stay in a hotel as everything is so expensive already, but didnt see what other option I had. Cue me getting lost again. Its only a tiny town I dont know I managed it! Finally got there, and was told that there was 1 room left, for 40 Euros, and that it wouldnt be ready for another hour. So I dumped my bag, and wandered around the town getting my bearings for an hour.

Curiously, when I returned, the twin 40 euro room had now gone, but there was a double room available for 50 euros. I asked somewhat unhopefully for a recommendation of somewhere else I could try that might be less expensive, and the porter got on his phone. 5 minutes later, a German lady turns up and says she has a room for 20 euros. I go and have a look at it, and its perfect. Tiny, barely enough room for me to stand up, but has a bed, and a shower (YES!) and is in the centre of the town. Happy with my find, I go off and search the town.

I decide (somewhat foolishly) to climb the town fortress, which is 1500 steps up the mountain- at 12:30pm. Am doing quite well at doing stuff in the heat of the day. Was definitely worth it though, just for the views over the town and the Bay of Kotor. Incredible blue water, and you can see the town layed out like a map from above. Exhausting though! Especially as I am trying a new thing to save money- no lunch. It took me about 2 hours to climb to the top (including photo and rest stops) and a good half hour just to get down again. By this stage I was very hot and dirty and was planning to have an amazing shower when I got back... running water, as long as I wanted, wash my hair- and be able to use conditioner! Even considered a bath but thought maybe that was a bit wasteful. So I rush back to the house, and have to wait to use the bathroom. It sounded like the person in before me was being very abstenious with her water- no extended periods of running water, but not me! I'd earned a long hot shower after the last 2 weeks.

So I finally get in, turn on the taps expectantly and am rewarded with... a gurgle. Nothing else. Zilch. Not even a drip. WHY???!!! Managed to make do with a bucket shower, but obviously its just not the same. Have to finish with wet wipes, and am not impressed. I got changed and used the internet for 3 hours (I hope you appreciate these!) I visit all the town churches at dusk, when its slightly quieter. They're all built in a Baroque style and is nice to see a bit of history. I have to go for solo dining again, feel a bit of a loner but enjoy my meal all the same. Sneak a bit of the bread into my bag for breakfast tomorrow. I found an orchestra playing in one of the back streets after dinner, which was a great way to end the evening.
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