Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Bonus Country: Montenegro Kotor, Montenegro, Saturday, 05 July 2014 10:38pm

When I realized how close Dubrovnik was to (multiple) borders, I was sad that we were only visiting 3 countries this trip. Montenegro won't count for me (my rules state that I must both sleep and eat in a place to consider it visited, which also disqualifies France and Slovakia), but it was neat to see it.

Tinny booked us a minivan tour that left at 8:30 and would drop us off at the airport for our flight to Zagreb, so I got up a little earlier to try to take some pictures of Dubrovnik before the crowds hit.

Our driver was interesting. He served in the Croatian military in the "Homeland War", which is the local name for the war that lasted between 1991 and 1995, and resulted in Croatia leaving Yugoslavia. He explained that he was a driver, not a guide, which would have been useful to know a little earlier, so we could have done more research into what we wanted to see in Montenegro. We'd expected a predefined tour route, but we ended up having to guess about what the best way to spend our time was.

The drive to the city of Kotor was gorgeous. The Bay of Kotor has been called "Europe's southernmost fjord" (technically, it's not, since it wasn't created by glacial action). It's a series of meandering coastlines with tall hills around. Very pretty. Kotor itself is a historical trading city, like Dubrovnik. However, unlike Dubrovnik, Kotor was under the control of Venice. There are many Venetian elements in the old city's architecture. In retrospect, it would have been great to spend the rest of the afternoon in Kotor. I popped in to the Cathedral while we were waiting for the lunch we'd ordered to arrive at our table, and I made a whirlwind circuit of the Maritime museum (which had more ship models and lots of instruments, organized historically).

After our stop in Kotor, we headed out to Budva, another historical walled costal city. While Dubrovnik's old city is heavily touristy, particularly along the main street, Budva's old city consists entirely of souvenir shops.

We got more beautiful views on the way back, and we passed through a smaller border checkpoint. Our driver asked the Montenegrin border patrolman to stamp our passports (we'd been waved in) on the way. He was clearly not happy about it, but I have at least a faint souvenir of the trip in mine.