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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kotor and Budva, Montenegro Day 4

Our last day of Ryan's Birthday trip week we went on another excursion, this time to Montenegro. It was the same set up as before where we met our tour guides near the bus stop in Lapad and as it turned out we had the exact same woman as our guide.

Montenegro is south of Dubrovnik and driving along the coast we saw some spectacular views looking back at the town and Lokrum Island. We made one stop along the drive once we crossed the boarder for a bathroom break at a gas station and then one more stop at a roadside pull off to snap a few photos and then back into the van we went. Just past our photo stop we saw these two islands in my photo below. One is natural and one is man made, the only artificial island in the Adriatic Sea. I would have guessed the island that only seems big enough for the mosque on it was the man made one, but it is actually the one to the right that I now realize is not in this shot. I promise there is an island to the right that is man made but is mostly covered in vegetation opposed to the one that is in the photo with the Mosque on it.

The first place we visited was Kotor. It seemed like a small town but they have a lot of tourists because they have a port that many cruise ships dock at. Back in the day Venice would attack them a lot and ruled the city for awhile, but they have a unique thing going for them and that is the Bay of Kotor that the town is located on. It is situated in a way that is very protected from the ocean and the water stays calm when the ocean is stormy, so many boats come in there for shelter. This bay is a form of defense for them because the inlet to get into the bay is less than a mile long which makes it easy to protect and defend from intruders.

Kotor is a walled city like Dubrovnik, but their walls go way up the hill. We didn't walk these but I'd imagine they would be quite a hike. Because the old town is at the base of a huge hill people would often try to invade from over the hill, which is why the wall ran up to high. In the picture below you can see the wall on the hill and the church on the hill is a tourist attraction because it is said that if you climb up to it you will become more fertile... I DID NOT climb up to it.

We had a local guide meet us for a short tour just as we did in Mostar except this tour really was short. It was of the old town and the town isn't very big so we were definitely done by the half hour mark. Ryan and I were hungry and had seen a restaurant on the tour we headed back to. We each ordered a pizza and since it was less expensive to get a bottle of wine than two glasses we just got a bottle. The wine, which I have a picture of below is called Vranac. Ironically I have had this wine once before when Ryan found it in a check out room at work. I really liked it which made me want to try this one, but low and behold it turned out to be the EXACT same Vranac. I even have the empty bottle here in my room to verify that it is the same wine. So at least I knew I liked it. But since we didn't have very long to stay in Kotor before we had to be back at the Van we drank the wine much faster than we would normally and ended up getting just a little tipsy off of it. We also ordered a crepe, that turned out to be the best crepe either of us have ever had. But they weren't bringing the crepe out so Ryan went to pay and ask to get it to go. Another 5 minutes later it was brought out on a plate. With it being so delicious, the fact I always eat faster than I should, the fact we needed to leave, and the fact I was a little tipsy I bit my tongue super hard and made it bleed, which was no fun. Then we rushed back to the van and although we arrived right on time we were the last one which made the guide laugh after we were the late one two days prior on our other trip. Ooops! But I think the run to the van helped with the tipsy feeling and I was good to go other than the fact my tongue hurt really bad.

After Kotor we went to visit the town of Budva. We were going to drive past it to go to an Island were lots of super rich people go to stay and have done so for decades. Doris Day used to spend significant vacation time there. And as the stories go these celebrities would pay oodles of money to the resort owner and then whoever was paying the most would get the best vacation spot which is totally private with huge walls right on the end of the island (there is a big bridge connecting this island to the mainland). And then the other people would get other places that I'm sure are nicer than anything I've ever stayed at or ever will and they all had varied heights of walls and it was sort of a status thing that you knew the higher the wall the richer and more famous the person was. But due to construction or rocks on the road or something like that we couldn't get all the way there, so all I have is the picture below.

In Budva we ended up having more time than in Kotor, but since they didn't tell us that and we'd already eaten we just wandered around. We went into the old town which was also walled. The picture below is of a church and palm trees.

This picture is on the walls. We didn't see an official entrance but there was a turnstall that was unmanned so we just hopped over it and walked a little ways to enjoy the view and then turned around and went out the same way.

This is one of the many huge yachts we saw. Apparently lots of rich Russians are buying property and maybe boats and creating resorts and what not trying to draw tourists and rich people.

We left the old town and went to sit by the water before it was time to be back at the van. There was a bench we found on the beach next to this really cool boat that I think just sits on the sand all the time. And then we got so hot because the sun had come out so we went into the water up to our knees and it felt so good. I wished I had my suit for a swim.

We got back to the van before it was time to go and we were not the last ones this time. :) We enjoyed the drive back to Dubrovnik and sadly this was our last night. So before we left we went to have tropical drinks at a Cabana on the Lapad beach and enjoy the cool night air. This time though we decided to borrow the elevator of the hotel built into the hill so we avoided those crazy steep stairs we climbed all week.

The next morning some guy who I'd never seen before but was driving the same car the hostel owner drove, so I guess he was affiliated, picked us up and took us to the airport. We were sad to go and I know we'd both love to go back someday if we get the chance. And the most important thing to me... Ryan had a really wonderful and special 24th birthday week.

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