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Report 1912: Spring Time in Croatia

By Letha from California, Spring 2011

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Page 5 of 10: Montenegro and the Most Surreal Encounter - Monday May 2nd

photo by Letha Saldanha

Montenegro: Oscar at the Bay of Kotor

We had booked a group tour to Montenegro with the same tour group that we did Mostar with (i.e., we booked these through Theo’s travel agency at Villa Adriatica). Again a group of eight, two Germans, two Canadians, two Americans, and the two of us — Americans of Indian origin. We were constantly reminded that they rarely see the likes of us in this area and being Indians raised a lot of interest and curiosity, more so than in main stream Europe.

As mentioned in my notes during our trip, I would not recommend this particular tour for two reasons, one our tour guide, not Zoran, but his partner who was leading another group of eight during out tour to Mostar, left much to be desired (he was actually a bit annoyed with me because I asked questions while he had a script he wanted to follow, and secondly because, we rushed through the Bay of Kotor to get to Budva which was too touristy and a waste of time as far as I was concerned, both are Riveira scenes, a popular playground for the new rich in Russia we were told.

Montenegro has much more to offer, especially in terms of Orthodox Christian (Serbian) history, but we did not get to see any of that. The best part of the tour for us was a wonderful lunch at a restaurant ‘Konoba Stari Grad’ ( Njegoseva 12) in Budva; this was not the restaurant recommended by the travel guide; we just wandered into this one, and had a great lunch, wine, fish soup, grilled squid, sea food spaghetti, pancakes for dessert and house brandy, all for €31 and excellent (Montenegro uses the euro and you can get euro at any ATM). The owner was extremely nice and chatty, and we got another side of the story w.r.t to Montenegro’s siege of Dubrovnik in 1991. The Balkans gives you a real insight into how every war has two sides and there is often no right side and wrong side. Still, I am glad we crossed into Montenegro ... borders were a breeze, with no wait at all.

We were back in Dubrovnik by 6:00pm and we headed out to the old town for dinner. We were a little weary of the very touristy restaurants in the old town, and since we had a full lunch, we went to Tony’s Spaghetti in the old town for a light dinner. This place had mixed reviews too, but we were quite pleased with it, compared to some of the other places we had eaten at. But the best for the day was yet to come...

After dinner, we took a slow stroll back along the Stradun and stopped to listen to some music (Mozart) coming from the church at the Pile entrance where there was a concert on. We could hear the music from outside. Then we stopped next to the St.Blaise, the main Cathedral where there was music too. Finally around 11:00pm, we decided to head back home. Just as we were close to the Ploce gate bridge that takes you out of the old town, we noticed a threesome in front of us, a lady and two men, swaggering home arm in arm, the lady in the middle. I joked to Oscar that it was difficult to tell who was supporting who home; they just looked like three friends supporting each other. In a bit we overtook them and as we were passing them, the man on the left said in a clear British accent that he was not drunk. I turned round and said with a smile that I was just wondering who was helping who home (the stereo assumption being that the lady was being helped home. They stopped and engaged us in conversation (where are you from etc.) and before we knew it, we were invited to dinner in their apartment in the old town next night.

We kind of assumed that by morning they would not remember that they had invited us. They gave us their address, in fact the other gentleman wrote it down, along with a phone number and gave it to us and we parted; we were familiar enough with the old town to know exactly where it was; they could have climbed the zillion steps from the old town to their place but by going out of the gate and around the wall, they could climb down to their apartment! Back at our place we Googled the address and sure enough it was there. We went to bed wondering what the next day held for us.

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