A lengthy border crossing took us into Montenegro and the warm water fjord at the north end of its coastline.
The coast is broken by a narrow inlet which opens into a lake, and then that lake has a narrower inlet into a second hidden lake.
The first is surrounded by scrubby mountains while the second by vertiginous, craggy and towering mountains. The water is clear but deep and full of mussel farms. The waterside towns feel Italian – and some even have cave paintings and Roman villas – there’s both neglect and communist remnants as well as incoming wealth, restoring the crumbling villas.
After the fjord we reach Budva, a vast beach resort of holiday investments and tower blocks. But also views south along a rocky coast.
Behind it there are more mountains into which the coach climbs. The scenery is karst and oak. Bright green leaves punctuated by silver-grey limestone.
At the end is Podgorica, one of Europe’s more obscure capitals. After six hours; two buses and a taxi we reach the hotel at the airport.
Highlight of this place is walking around the walls (albeit at £9).
I can’t remember seeing such a perfectly walled town containing a strict panorama of terracotta roofs and gothic civic buildings. The fortifications are massive; you feel humbled walking alongside them and impressed as they grow high above the rocky coastline. Each of the angles is protected by a large saint statue. If I had a guidebook I might know who it is.
The streets are paved in limestone blocks; polished down the centuries and shining at night.
The fountains, churches and civic buildings are predominantly gothic and wouldn’t look out of place in Venice.
It’s touristy and busy – God knows what it would be like later in the season. A few museums but we have no time to visit them. AS many East European tourists as the ones from the West, who at least stand a chance to afford the place.
The Italians left them with good coffee and ice cream.
The food menus here (Dubrovnik) have been repetitive and a bit pricey. We’ve wandered around in vain.
First night we found a place high up in Dubrovnik grilling meats – sausages, pork, chicken, meat balls – OK but it’s quantity before quality. About £20 for the platter to share.
Lunchtime today by the harbour we had a fairly good seafood platter of grilled sardines, mackerel, tiny octopus, mussels and squid for the same price.
But otherwise it’s pasta and piazza.
We found the answer this evening. Walking back from the bus station we pounced on a local market with aged farmers selling baby broad beans, wild asparagus (I think!) , parsley root (thrown in for free), wild rocket, home-made cheese and strings of figs with bay leaves.
Brilliant food; it’s self-catering next time.
The weather may have been nice in the UK over the holiday weekends but there have been a couple of fronts steaming across the Mediterranean over the last few days bringing strong winds to Tunisia, southern Italy and the Adriatic coast. Hopefully they should clear soon.