Montenegro

Kotor walls

Friday 25th Oct, Montenegro – Bijela

So we left Croatia. We joined the mainland and crossed Dubrovnik. The border was very close. Crossing was easy. Once again, nobody cared about the dog or asked for his documents. Our green card did not cover Montenegro ( or any non EU country!) so we had to buy insurance for the van. 77 euros ( for two weeks) later we had insurance for two weeks. That was expensive. For Bosnia we had paid 30 euros ( for 3 days). Like in Bosnia, we had to get the insurance before getting or passports stamped. 

The only thing of concern was  a note at the border saying foreigners had to be registered every day,  a bit like in Russia and old soviet republics! 

We then drove to a campsite on the edge of a very large fjord. The sea gets through a narrow canal and into a very large hourglass shape bay. The water there is very flat and it looks like an immense lake. The views were fantastic. If Croatia was beautiful, Montenegro was a revelation.

The camping was “rustic” with facilities not particularly clean but that would do.  Not many campings are open at this time of year. Nothing could ever match the luxurious campings of Croatia.

When we arrived the place was deserted. We drove inside and parked. There was another motorhome, for the Netherlands, so we assumed the place was open. Another camper arrived soon after us, a couple from Switzerland.

The Dutch couple came back on their bicycles a bit later. We had a good chat with them and we all took our chairs to sit across the small road and on a little pier, watching the sunset over the lake, beer in hand. What could be better? 

There was  a big hotel nearby. It seemed that the main path across our little camping was used by everyone as a short cut between the main road and shops, and the coastal road and beach. As we sat outside for dinner, next to our van, the passers by just stared at us. I felt a bit like in a zoo! 

The WiFi in the new campsite did not work much but I managed to do some planning done. We wanted to visit the medieval city of Kotor, set in one corner of the very large “lake”. Parking the van in a medieval city is not a possibility so I looked at alternatives but nothing was easy. So we decided we would drive the next day and use one of the large parkings for buses. 

Saturday 27th Oct – Bijela

After breakfast, and being once again stared at by more passers by, we drove to the ferry which was crossing at the most narrow part of the hourglass lake. That would cut  a bit of driving, as to get to Kotor it was otherwise a long drive along the north shore of the fjord. 

The ferry ride was only one or two miles but suitably expensive. The south shore of the lake, or fjord, had a very (very!) narrow windy road going to Kotor. After about 30 kms and several near heart-attacks later, due to the locals’ driving standards, we got close to Kotor. 

We were a bit dismayed at seeing three cruise ships. One was moored in Kotor little harbour, the two others were further away but no doubt they had used the relief boats to offload zillions of tourists. 

The little road we took just followed along the beach all the way. Tall steep mountains surrounded the whole lake. The views were absolutely amazing, like a painting. In the middle of the north lake was a very small shallow island with a small Church on it. 

We found a free parking spot on a bit of dirt next to the road, by the shore. We left the van there and walked to the town. 

The fortifications were in good conditions. Another wall was up along the steep mountain and to the top were a citadel was still standing, midway up, a church had been built. 

The medieval town, all built in local stones, was in a creek, with solid wide walls and towers. Inside, the place was completely mobbed. There were so many tourists it was almost impossible to walk through the very narrow streets. 

We visited the town and tried to find then a computer or white goods shop. Our DVD player had died the day before and we wanted to buy a car DVD player or a dvd reader to plug into our laptop. After some directions and using Maps.me we found a couple of shops but they did not have anything like that in stock. I guess this will have to wait  until we get to Tirana. 

After that we walked slowly back to our van. The day was, once again, incredibly hot. We stopped not far from the van to look at the menu of a small restaurant. It was far enough from the medieval town to be used by the locals and served local food. We had lunch there. The portions were huge! 

Back at the van we drove back to camp by the north shore of the lake, avoiding the ferry and using a wider and more suitable road for our van.

Once again the views were magnificent. 

Sunday 28th October, Petrovac. 

The plan was to drive inland to the shore of a very large mountain lake and spend the night up there, visiting the ancient town of Budva on the way.

Budva was very close, only 30 kms, so we got there late morning. The town was really nice. The modern part was very pleasant with tall business buildings, large avenues, big gardens and promenades along the water side, plenty of cafes and restaurants dotted everywhere. The old town was once again surrounded by a thick medieval wall in very good conditions and the town was very nice. There were few tourists but it was not mobbed like Kotor or Venice, all big cruise ships destinations. For a change we were able to visit the small citadel with the dog! 

We then picked the mountain road and drove inland. Once again the views from the road were amazing but there was no place to stop to take pictures. We arrived near the lake and decided to cross a bridge and try to find a village to get some bread. We only found a big restaurant, carpark, and tourist boats to go on the lake. The place was not that great. We stopped for  a late lunch f bread and tuna pate in the van and decided to drive back to the seaside and spend the night in a nice campsite. 

So after few pictures we drove down to Petrovac. The camping we found was really nice. Like in the previous one, there was no one at reception but a little note just said it was open and to get settled. 

We parked near reception to walk the grounds and see where we would settle. The grounds were very big and mature olive trees provided shade. 

We met Michael, the owner, during our walks. It all seems to be very informal and relax in Montenegro. No registrations, no looking a our passports or anything. Just get settled and try find someone to pay when you leave! We shall see when we leave the country if someone ask for our registrations? No one seems to care so far! Not even the tourists! 

Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th October, Petrovac

We did some chores and walked the 2 miles to the supermarket, across a big hill. The path was nicely cemented so it was a pleasant walk. 

We relaxed and met a French guy. He had retired, sold his house and had been travelling and living in his campervan for the last 2 years! He was also on his way to Albania and Greece. 

The change to winter time was a bit annoying as the sun was up before 6am and  goes down too early, before 5pm! 

Scruffy has been very naughty and aggressive around our camp with other dogs and people so we have decided to keep him tied to a long rope. We cannot let him bark at people and bite at other dogs! 

Not sure campervan life is for him. 

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