As promised, this post follows on from the ‘Mark’s Midweek Magnet’ post on Dubrovnik. Sorry about this post being a day late from it’s usual Saturday posting day, we have been busy the last few days.
We booked a tour to Montenegro locally in Lapad, as we refused to go to the welcome meeting from our holiday provider, which is explained in the return of ‘And Another Thing….’. We were picked up from our Lapad Peninsula hotel and just drove south using the coast road. This road is a short trip to the Croatian/Montenegrin border, where the road continues to the Bay of Kotor and its 107 KM shoreline. The bay was thought to be a fjord, but it is now recognised as a ria.
The coach went around the bay on yet another shoreline road. We saw the Western and Northern limits of the natural harbour, with mountains surrounding the bay on all sides. Unfortunately our coach windows were so grubby that no photo’s were possible while driving around Kotor Bay.
About half way around the bay to Kotor, we had a photo stop to see the islands and churches of Saint-George and Our-Lady-of-the-Rocks, in the Bay of Kotor.
Between the two islands and Kotor lies the village of Ljuta, a laid-back village with yet more mountains surrounding the encroaching sea.
Photo by Antidiskriminator on Wikimedia Commons.
We were relieved to of finally reached Kotor, after what seemed like an eternity on the coach to get there. The scenery was very nice, but the coach was old and not at all comfortable. Kotor is a UNESCO heritage centre, primarily for its walls.
The Sea Gate, the old main entrance to the city.
There are also a few notable buildings which are seen on a short tour of the city. Then we were able to wander round and get some lunch in the ‘free time’ available.
Church of Sveti Tripuna
St. Nicolas Church
There is a castle high above Kotor, with commanding views of the city.
Image from Wikimedia Commons user Adam Baker
After our wander around Kotor, it was time to head for the mountains that surround the city. We were now headed towards Lovcen National Park to the South-West of Kotor, via a zig-zag road snaking up the mountain in a series of 23-26 hairpin bends, depending on which review you read.
It is a tortuous ascent for a large modern coach, as there is two way traffic on the road. Some kamikaze car drivers were hell bent on crashing head first in to a lorry or our coach, just rushing into the hairpins like a rally driver. The views from the summit made the journey worthwhile, with the Bay of Kotor spread beneath us. You can make out Tivtat Airport runway on the bottom left in the first picture and also the entrance/exit to the Adriatic Sea top left. This is the Western section of Kotor Bay, unseen and underneath the cloud is where the Bay narrows and then flows into the Eastern half.
A link to a map that will hopefully show the topography of the region better than we can describe it on this blog.
East Bay of Kotor, with Kotor City
After our visit to Lovcen National Park we then headed South-East to the seaside resort of Budva. There was not a lot of time left in the day for this town, got to get back for dinner at the hotels, you see. Just had a brief tour around a couple of sights and then were given the ‘opportunity’ to purchase some tourist tat at a shop. We decided to spend our money on a drink in a seafront bar and do some people watching. The bars were virtually identical with leather sofas everywhere, somebody made a killer bulk sofa deal in this place. We did visit the Church of the Holy Trinity in old Budva town reputed to of been built in the 7th century and the Budva Citadel.
Image from the Budva Citadel from Wikimedia user DinoMNE. You may recognise the side view of the Church of the Holy Trinity featured in a previously used photo above, in the foreground.
The journey back to Dubrovnik was a lot quicker, as we caught a ferry that avoided having to go around the Eastern half of the Bay of Kotor again. The route took us past Tivtat airport and on to Lepetani for the ferry to Kamenari. And then back over the Croatian border to Dubrovnik and Lapad.
These images taken on the ferry are blurry. The ferry was going at a fair rate of knots, so to speak. Our camera at the time was unable to cope with any movement at all.
A very long day in the end but a satisfying one as well. Well worth the money in our opinion. We wished we could of had more time to sightsee.
Tips are back again.
Excursions booked with your holiday provider can be expensive. If you decide to try and do your own thing with a local guide, then make sure the company actually exists and has a good reputation before committing to a tour. Check the itinerary and condition of the transport used in the resort, if possible. If there is any doubt, book with your holiday provider. It is worth paying a few pounds extra (or more) for peace of mind.
And Another Thing….
You may wonder why we have been referring to ‘your holiday provider’, rather using the name of company we booked our Dubrovnik holiday with. I would rather fly into the Sun on a rocket, than holiday with ‘Balkan Holidays’ ever again.
We were the last hotel drop which we don’t mind, someone has to be last. Everyone on the coach minded when we stopped and the driver flung open the storage flaps and told people to get their case from the bowels of the coach. Dirty, greasy, smelly and disgusting, enough about the driver, the coach luggage store was all that and more. Mark’s trousers were so filthy they were unusable for the duration of the holiday. Then the driver had the audacity to put his hand out for a tip, and looked amazed when none was forthcoming! We finally entered the hotel, when the Balkan rep waved to us from the coach as it sped away, thanks. We then had a game of guess the key to your room. All the keys were on a central table in the foyer and we were expected to know which room we were in. After much sighing the manager reluctantly came in to the foyer with a room and guest allocation list and started to handed out room keys, with yet more sighs and a few raised eyebrows. A rep from Balkan could of maybe made the process a lot easier and faster, if they could be bothered. And we were left to our own devices with no map or any welcome pack, until the next day afternoon meeting. We managed to find the resort centre and beach with it’s coastal walks without any of Balkan’s ‘expertise’. So we decided to boycott the welcome meeting and go out sightseeing instead, you and your tour commission can get stuffed Balkan Holidays rep! Never again.
The next post in this Dubrovnik based excursions series is; Mark’s Midweek Magnet – Mostar’s Rebuilt Bridge
Thanks for reading.