Day four of Best of the Balkans. Breakfast was another buffet. I had cereal. We all piled into the Contiki bus to drive to Montenegro. All of us were sad to see Dubrovnik go. It was such a magical city. However the drive out of Dubrovnik was almost as magical. To leave Dubrovnik to go towards Montenegro, you need to zig-zag all the way up the mountain. Which basically meant we had gorgeous views of Dubrovnik the whole way up.
Our driver Marco, was awesome an found a photo spot for us all to pull over to get the iconic shot of Dubrovnik that all of us had hoped to get on this trip. You know the one I am talking about. The overhead shot that you see in all those pan shots for Game of Thrones.
Then we were heading to the boarder between Montenegro and Croatia. We watch friends episodes to make the time pass by faster. We also watch the movie Megamind. Not a crowd pleaser. But thats ok. Our drive had a lot of really long tunnels. I was surprised by the amount that they had. At one point we were told that to drive around the bay would take too long, so we needed to take a 15 min ferry across the bay. What doest that mean? Photo shoot!!!
We drove into Kotor for a lunch stop. We had 2 hours to explore the city. We were told the main thing to do was climb up the Upper Town Walls. Stretching some 4.5 km directly above and east of the Old Town, on almost vertical cliffs, is the meandering upper town walls. It looks a little like a short version of the Great Wall of China. Climbing up the 1350 steps will be rewarded by an excellent view of Kotor and the bay from the Church of Our Lady of Health (half way up) and the St John’s fortress on top.The 1200ft ascent may take an hour.
Nearly all of us walked up the back walls first, fearing that if we waited until after lunch we would be too hot. You must wear sturdy footwear. The steps were uneven, and only wide enough for one person; beside the steps was a pathway of slippery rocks. We walked up with a group of 8 or so of us. It cost $3 euro to climb. Louis entertained us all by proudly exclaiming “today I am going to be true Asian,” as he pulled out his rain umbrella. But seriously, there was no shade, so maybe Louis had the right idea.
We stopped pretty much a the first look out, was excited about the view and decided to start taking jump pics. Because obviously that is a smart move when it is 40C outside. The jumping made us super sweaty and tired but we trucked on. This summit is basically scaling a vertical mountain side. Really cool they built their fort that way. I wouldn’t ever attack it, but so tiring to zig zag all the way up. We made it up about half way, to a look out where there was a gift shop and small chapel. Andrew and I were happy with our progress and wanted to make sure we found some food to eat before we hopped back on our bus. Plus we were feeling the sunburn pretty hard at this point.
We found a pharmacy, and had fun acting out what we wanted. The pharmacy had everything locked up, not like in Canada where you can take what you want to the cash register. We applied the necessary sunscreen, and got back to wandered the streets, filled with many fancy restaurants, in search of a simple bakery. Since the day before we found an amazing meat mastery, we hoped to find the same thing, we did not.
Our exhaustion from the heat over came us, and a server from an Italian restaurant near the Cathedral stopped us. We told him we were looking for a sandwich and he offered to make us a sandwich, no problem. We ended up ordering a dish that was off-menu: a “pizza sandwich”. It was a pizza made on dough closer to a pita, and had a top made of the same dough. Not quite a calzone or a panzerotti. It was quite good; we shared it, and it was less than 5.00 Euro 7.25 CAD . Our tour mates, Louis, Tom and Patrick walked by and decided to order the same thing. So we joked around and watched for cats, which Kotor is apparently famous for.
When it was time to leave, we started kicking ourselves, cuz we finally found a bakery. It was just too the left of the main gate. We looked inside and got dessert, a plum doughnut and a chocolate croissant. And we headed back to our group to get on the bus. It was this point we noticed that Louis had gotten himself a rather large basket of cherries. When we asked him why he did that, he explained the Louis Law. He will not say he has been in a country unless he has “Talked to a local, gone to a local market, and drank in a bar.” He thinks that doing this really gets you to see the aspects of life of a local, so you can see how they actually live there. I don’t think he’s wrong either, it makes sense.
We had a 30 minuet drive to get to our hotel. We checked into our beautiful “3 and a half” star hotel, which they were def. not prepared for a large group, but that was ok. It was so hot that day, that we immediately changed into swim suits, then hopped into the resort pool. It was then that we learned that our hotel was over run with 16 year olds. It must have been a school trip or something, but there were teenagers everywhere. We had about 30 minuets, before we had to jump out and dry off before walking with Carly to old town.
Unfortunately, we were unable to get our safe to open – and it had all our money. Which makes walking to town frustrating. We went for the walk to the city, which is a twenty minute walk towards teething that looks like a city. Wandered around a bit and took some photos. Then returned back to our room to wait for hotel maintenance to come and help us with our safe (note: hotel staff was very helpful resolving the issue, and showed me how to use their safe system).
We ate buffet dinner in the hotel. At first we were really excited for buffet dinner, until we realized that it was mostly chicken and fish. It was ok.
Our group then met on the beach with drinks. The beach by our resort was really pebbly. We sat around and got to know trip mates we hadn’t had a chance to talk with, yet, and passed the evening away. Eventually, we all went to a dance bar on the beach. We just followed the noise and the spotlights to find it. It was open to the sky, which was really cool, and not too packed. We danced away a few hours and then made our way back to the room.