Thursday, September 13, 2007

New country

Budva, Montenegro

I boarded the ferry in Rijeka armed with a bagful of food (biscuits, crackers, juice etc.) to sustain me on the 20 hour journey down to Dubrovnik. I was extremely glad to have paid an extra 120Kn for a couchette, because it turns out the normal deck seats were just whatever you could find, inside or outside! As it was I slept well on the narrow bunk, sharing the couchette with a Kiwi and a Frog. For most of Tuesday the scenery of the mountains and islands along the Dalmatian coastline were entertainment enough, although I did also finish the book I'd taken with me.

Dubrovnik is at the very southern end of Croatia. It's called the "Pearl of the Adriatic" because of its beautiful Old Town, with narrow streets and steep hills leading away from the sea. The first time I went in to the centre it was raining, which put a dampener on the enjoyment of the city. The next day I tried again, only to discover that I was sharing the city with the passengers of THREE cruise ships which had turned up for the day! It was hard to move in the centre for people in the day, but when I returned in the evening sans tourists with stickers on the Old Town was very enjoyable. It is certainly scenic, but the rest of the city was also photogenic, especially where it hugs the coastline.

This morning I caught a bus to the border town of Herceg Novi, in Montenegro. The new border controls (sponsored by the EU, of course) were pretty stringent but once over the frontier, costs dropped significantly. A 1 hour bus journey including a ferry across the Kotor Fjord cost just 3.5 euros, and the hostel here in Budva is 16 euros a night with plenty of stuff included - such as a book exchange for my copy of "Rough Crossings". The city seems nice, although the cars are from Serbia and Russia rather than Germany and California (!) as in Croatia.

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