Tuesday, October 1, 2013


So, I had some computer problems which is a scary thing when I speak neither Italian nor computer, but they're all sorted (I hope) so I'm back online!

I left off as we were heading south to Montenegro. We grabbed a bus from Dubrovnik to Herceg Novi, Dubrovnik is great but slightly better suited to tourists than backpackers.

We checked out the old town but had a pretty early night and made our way to Kotor the next day. Also, in Montenegro (and Croatia actually) people, generally little old ladies, will approach you outside of bus/train/ferry terminals and offer you accommodation. These are basically apartments for nightly rent and are a pretty good way to go. They're also very common so allow you to be reasonably disorganized (read: just turn up).

You can see where people touch the statues as demonstrated by Ayla. 
In Herceg Novi we got dinner at a restaurant that had various door knockers on this tree!

It was also here that we first discovered Cockta which is... Slovakian coke? It's from one of the nearby countries anyway and is quite delicious if a little indescribable.

Kotor is surrounded by some pretty awesome cliffs. We'd read there was climbing but upon Alain's investigation it turned out to be a not-so-great route up a terrible track, so we gave it a miss.

We checked into our hostel, grabbed some pizza and made our way to the beach.
This candle was impressive enough to warrant a photo. 

 That night we went out on a 'pub crawl' which was actually a single bar, lead by this guy who was serving ice with a sword...

The next day E and I explored a little. We found this hidden little gem - I have no idea what its purpose is but it was a terrace up some stairs and under a canopy of vines.

Tea break!

We also discovered the narrowest street apparently.

That evening we made our way up the hill behind the town to explore a ruined fortress. Ayla and Alain were having a nap so we took an Australian named Travis under our wing. It is hot in Montenegro so we went up during the evening, an added benefit of that was the awesome twilight view! That said, you could still feel the absorbed heat radiating off the stones even after the sun set.

We took turns posing...

And just to prove E isn't as terrifying as she looks!

My attempt at an artistic flag shot

We made a friend. 

There are churches and shrines tucked away everywhere!
The next morning E and Ayla found some Aussies to watch the rugby with while Alain and I read. Eleanor later used the knowledge of this game to sweet talk some Kiwis into giving us a ride over the border so I've come to appreciate it more than I did at the time.
We caught a bus to Podgorica, which is the capital and then a train to Vizpazar - we were all thrilled by the Harry Potter style compartment, as you can see!

This is in Vizpazar and I have no idea what to say about it. They have otters I suppose!
Vizpazar sits on the edge of a huge lake which actually crosses into Albania, though you can only cross the border on land. We organised a boat ride for the morning, looked around, saw a pirate ship restaurant and promptly decided to eat there.

Oh, and there was this puppy in a barrel. 
The next morning we were up bright and early for our boat ride.
Our guide was pretty cool and knew a lot about the region.

This is Montenegro's take on Alcatraz. It's abandoned now except for the fishermen. 
Our skipper was also versed in the arts of floral necklaces.

He was an equal opportunity craftsman and Alain got his chance to pose... I think he beat the rest of us hands down!
After some mocking he sprawled in an attempt to be more manly... I don't think he quite succeeded!

We all then went into spasms of cuteness, the only explanation for which I have is that the early morning didn't agree with us.

After that we split up: Ayla and Alain continued down to Albania whilst E and I jumped on a couple of buses to go to Dubrovnik via Bar, and then hopped a boat to Mljet (pronounced Me-let as far as I can tell). Mljet is back in Croatia and I'll pick up from there in the next and last Balkans post!