On the 23rd June, I caught the bus from Shkoder to Kotor, and would stay there for three nights. The Shkoder bus stop didn’t inspire confidence, it was just on the side of a random road, and I would have been second guessing myself big time if not for a Turkish guy who was living in Albania, and appeared to be the only other person waiting for the same bus as me.
Finally the bus came and we joined probably only 5 other people on a 55 seater, crossing the border (a little chaotic) and continuing through to the capital of Montenegro; Podgorica.
There was one other Australian on the bus, so I asked where she was from. As we narrowed down our cities from Melbourne, to Geelong, we were amazed to both be from Ocean Grove – a town of 5 or 10,000 people – what a small world. We had a 30 minute break in Podgorica, so I exchanged my Albanian Lek for Euros (Montenegro isn’t actually in the EU, but they do use the Euro!).
The bus wound along the coast through beautiful Budvar, before going through a tunnel and into the uniquely shaped bay on which Kotor sits. It was already dark when I arrived, so I walked down to Hostel Old Town Kotor, which is entirely contained within the immaculately preserved walled city. I got delicious and cheap Chevapi from a nearby restaurant, and then called it a night.
I planned to hike up the mountain to the castle the next day, but it was so hot that i was told to wait until the afternoon, after it had cooled down. So i went for a walk to the shopping centre, got some lunch and went and had lunch by the bay.
At 4pm, I started the hike, taking the free, longer route instead of paying the 3 Euros to take the shorter route through the city. There was only one other person taking the long way, a Russian girl, so we had a brief chat on the way up, and then in true Russian style, she insisted on taking my photo, in exchange of course, for me helping with her photo shoot – I should have seen that coming! The view from the castle over the bay was pretty incredible.
I made my way back down to the old city in time for the hostel BBQ, which included a few beers and a bit of a pub crawl afterwards. When I returned to the hostel, there was a Montenegrin girl who relished the opportunity to explain the Balkan conflicts to me from the Serbian point of view (Montenegro is one of the few countries to side with Serbia at that time), While I didn’t agree with it, it was still interesting to hear.
The next day was a lazy one, all I did was buy my bus ticket to Mostar (Bosnia) for the next morning, and join some kiwis for a drink on top of the wall in the evening. I made myself dinner and had an early night, in preparation for my 7.30am bus.