Karie on May 30th 2008 07:12 pm
After I got our Croatia itinerary mostly ironed out, it occurred to me that a day trip to Montenegro was within reach.Â I asked Scott what he thought about the idea and he said, â€śIâ€™ve aaalways wanted to go to Montenegro!!!â€ťÂ What???Â When I asked him why heâ€™s never mentioned this lifelong dream, he jumped up and dug out a magazine that he purchased in the airport as we were leaving the U.S. in September (I think â€śalwaysâ€ť meant â€śfor the last 8 monthsâ€ť).
The magazine was called â€śBudget Travelâ€ť, and on the front was a picture of Montenegro.Â That settles it. Weâ€™re going.Â We decided to rent a car versus taking the bus, so we could seek out the location of the photograph on the cover of the magazine. (Also, with 4 of us, renting a car was about the same price as bus tickets.)
I had read a comment in an online forum that said going into Montenegro makes Croatia feel like the west.Â I suppose by â€śthe westâ€ť the writer was referring to development of the land, economy, tourism, etc.Â By that definition, I thought that Croatia felt very â€śwesternâ€ť even before our visit to Montenegro, but I still get the writerâ€™s point.
Itâ€™s only about a 30-minute drive from Dubrovnik to the border of Montenegro, so it was interesting to see how things changed as soon as you crossed the line.Â The landscape is obviously similar, but Montenegro feels about 10 years behind Croatia.Â The country is undergoing a lot of changes, having just split from Serbia in 2006, and now it feels like the entire country is under construction.
We made it to Kotor in less than 2 hours, thanks to the car ferry across the bay that cut out a long, winding road (by the way, we heard itâ€™s a beautiful drive, but we had a lot to fit in so we opted for the fastest route).Â When we got off the car ferry, Giuseppe (thatâ€™s what we call our GPS device â€“ he is our faithful traveling companion so he deserved a name) sent us in the opposite direction as the road signs.Â We were hesitant to not follow the signs, but Giuseppe has never let us down, so we followed his advice.Â It kinda felt like we were driving on a sidewalk around the bay, but it got us there in record time.Â So, if you drive to Kotor with a GPS device, go ahead & follow its instructions even if they contradict logic, but only if youâ€™re in a small car.
The base of Kotor is right at sea level, but the city walls climb up into the steep mountains.Â It was a wonderful little village with really friendly people.Â As soon as the man who worked at the Cathedral realized we were Americans, he said, â€śOh, basketball!â€ťÂ He was all smiles when he learned that I grew up near his favorite team â€“ the Sacramento Kings.
After spending a little time in Kotor, we got back in the car and headed for the construction zone of Budva.Â I can only imagine what this place is going to be like in 5 years.Â I have a feeling it wonâ€™t be in the â€śBudget Travelâ€ť magazine anymore!Â In fact, our photo destination, Sveti Stefan, (not too far beyond Budva) is in the process of being developed as a 5-Diamond Resort.Â I guess the only reason itâ€™s considered â€śbudgetâ€ť now is because itâ€™s not yet openâ€¦ but it sure is pretty to look at as you sit on the beach for free.
This was our last full day along the Adriatic coast, then we headed back to Dubrovnik to catch our flight the next afternoon.Â None of us were ready to leave.Â Iâ€™m not really much of a sit-and-do-nothing kind of person (Scott is trying to teach me that relaxing is not wasting time), but I could sit there and stare at that water for days (or weeks).Â God is an amazing artist.
Huge thanks to John & Mary/mom for coming with us and making it one of our most fun and memorable trips so far.Â We love you!