Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
124Trip End Ongoing
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Our mood was lifted when we stepped out into fresh air at 7am to a beautiful morning in Bar, a port city in Montenegro.
After a pleasant breakfast on the seafront boulevard and waiting for the tourist info to open, we found ourselves a home stay above the tourist info in an old Montenegrin lady's apartment. From the obvious (hanging gardens of Bar - see picture) to the subtle (the protractor next to the sink in the bathroom - why??) to the unavoidable (live DJ pumping out trance music across the road until 3 in the morning), it was an interesting place to stay.
Bar's most famous tourist attraction is its old town, Stari Bar - perched on a mountain side it suffered heavy damage and was abandoned in the 1877 Turkish war. Insult was added to injury when the ruins that had become a tourist attraction were themselves ruined in an earthquake in 1979. The ruins have since been partially rebuilt. Unlike other old towns that we have been to, Stari Bar not being abandoned has a sort of ghost town quality as you pick your way through the undergrowth and peer into the remains of houses. Fading fast in the midday sun we set off back to Bar, and our cheery bus driver stopped off on the way to buy some sweets which he then proceeded to share out with the passengers.
An hour's bus journey along Monetenegro's dramatic coastal road dropped us off at Budva, a beach resort favoured by the Russians. The town has a population of 15,000 who appeared very affluent judging by the number of Budva-registered Porsches, Mercedes, and BMWs on the road. A quick google reveals that Budva at one point boasted more millionaires per capita than any other city in Europe due to its property explosion in the first half of the 2000s. It is also the smallest city in the world to have hosted a Rolling Stones concert, coincidence perhaps?
Budva itself consists of several coves of beaches supported by a strip of lively bars and restaurants with a beautiful old town at one end.
We took the 30 minute bus ride to Kotor one day - another old town but this time at the head of an inlet surrounded by mountains (giving rise to it's false 'fjord' label).
We stayed at the Hippo hostel in Budva, a very friendly and relaxed place with a nice garden where we had a BBQ one evening and an extensive DVD collection that was good for a quiet night in.