SAINT VASILY

Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
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26
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Trip End Oct 15, 2012


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Where I stayed
Tourist dormitory near Ostrog Monastery
What I did
Open casket of Saint Vasily at Ostrog Monastery

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina  ,
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A pretty good sleep all in all. Up 0545 for a shower, Arjan up on my return. The meal was fine at the brewery but he did not feel all that good. Suggested to Arjan but this time in a trip I am interested in having dinner with people I like rather than everybody: I subscribe to the quality over quantity theory whereas he is more the 'Mr Conviviality' type. After brekkie, we did the dishes and readied to leave, not before again being subjected to the Donna Summer look per Nathalie's morning lid.

Explained the maxim 'great minds think alike but fools seldom differ'. He evidently liked it, using it later at lunch.

It was cool for the locals [you could see your breath] , a gal surprised to see me in short sleeves and shorts.

Walked to the bus area, Zsolt leaving Bozo Ben behind [pay attention, dickhead]. Jan fell into my arms when the bus lurched to her embarrassment, I kiddingly wondering why it took her that long.

Ignored party animal Rachel on the 25M bus ride. Many bullet hole reminders in buildings re the all too recent Balkan War. Some exchanged excess Bosnian marks at the bus station and we were off in a 24 seater, fully packed. Nobody remembers anything but we are on vacation. Those high heels we saw, Bozo Ben, were they yours when you cross dress?

Off on the bus at 0900. Zsolt also had a R leg issue. It is supposedly a 5-5.5H trip. Arjan was chatting away to Nathalie who most of the time looked aimlessly out the window. Does Bozo Ben have to partake of every discussion?

The local way to minimize falling rocks is to tie down netting and hold it down with concrete weights, the top of the netting anchored down. The Dutchman was animated when the Dutch song 'Suzanna' was on the bus speakers [naturally the Dutch version was better]. Initially a sliver of agriculture slimmed down to sections where tunnels were required to traverse the lands.

First bus break in Foca was at 1030, tourist Justine asking if the bus was going to be locked: either take your stuff with you or put your trust in the honesty of your fellow travelers, on the trip and local. Arjan said it was the worst bus he'd every taken, even worse than South American offerings. That was a bit of a stretch for me. Must be no food in Oz as the Aussies are always eating. Our 10M break stretched to 32M. Some of the dumb Aussies were again scoping out wifi: give it a rest.

Not sure of their purpose but some of the hay is stored in a high beehive formation. The climb toward the border was on rougher road. There was little traffic but lots of braking. Reached the Bosnia and Hercegovina border at 1158, everyone getting a furtive glance from the customs official who took our passports inside for processing.

Left Bosnia and Hercegovina at 1209, crossing the Tara River separating the country from Montenegro, rolling up to Montenegro customs a minute later. We were off by 1628. Mr and Mrs Geek is an apt name for Bozo Ben and Justine. Dunno why Mrs Geek pulled her bus drapes as the sunglasses she wore covered half her face. Our passports were doled out by some hag even uglier than Rachel...and that's ugly!

Good two lane road in Montenegro. The Tara Canyon gave us some decent vistas on both sides of the vehicle, mainly on the R [where I naturally was not sitting]. Traversed a dam. The glacial hues were quite nice.

By 1300, hanging in. As we descended, started to see some livestock and agricultural lands. Chunks of time passed as I was nodding off. Signs were pointing to Niksic, where we stopped at 1407. Did a small bit of the diary before 1429 departure, Zsolt advising we had a half hour to go, a new driver at the helm. Not sure which was better: a driver yawning shortly after starting [new guy] or one on his cell phone while driving [first guy].

We had barely started and we stopped for fuel. By 1445, we stopped roadside at the Ostrog Monastery turn off, our gear transferred to another van. He were given a quick drill on the day, including our 0545 departure.

The trip up to our abode featured switchbacks and a 10M construction delay. Some of the drive was 'cliff edge' stuff. At the monastery sleeping area [far from the monastery itself] by 1520, the boys in room 233. Zsolt asked us to assemble in 15M, 6 guys waiting for 4 gals. No cell phones allowed in the place, Aussies!

'one night will do', Dutchman? Such whinging! Arjan refused to wear long pants even though it was so commended on the sign outside the digs, muttering something about 'everyone is equal'. Huh? That's a tad intolerant, lad, as people are allowed to set certain rules.

Lunch was the same for everyone save Rachel, Zsolt giving us some background on the monastery re the Serbian Orthodox institution, St Vasily and his body not having decomposed over three centuries, miracles attributed to him, etc.

A 25 minute hike to the actual monastery was a good workout. First went up the tower for the vistas, the 1700 service starting as we were up top. I waited in line for the viewing of St Vasily's body but had given up when the service finally ended, returning to try again. A monk with incense came out to bless the crowd [or whatever].

Only a handful of people were allowed in at one time. A novice controlled access and a monk was by the body. He recited a prayer for one lady. Many were kissing the entrance area and/or the icon image of Saint Vasily. You feel awkward as a visitor at such moments. The coffin was ajar, gold leaf draped over the body.

Left to go down at 1800 for the descent. It was one of those descents where I was not sure where was the end point. I got to a spot and thought I had to go up, fortunately seeing some of the gang heading down toward me.

Down to the restaurant with Arjan for a beer, a Niksicko [from Niksic]. It was not bad, still a bit light. Zsolt was doing his accounting on his slightly larger Asus computer. Had the 440g Njejuski: pork stuffed with smoked ham and cheese. Chatted with Ian and Jill about music, Jill liking Meat Loaf and Bob Seger. Many menus in the second half of the trip list the size of the portion . Had a second beer which was borderline if I needed it. The Dutchman paid the bill and we'll sort things out later. The Local Losers all took leftovers as early morning sandwiches. Did hear Zsolt say this was his last trip of the year and his favourite junket is the Vienna to Budapest trip.

Left after 2100 to do some diary work, a pitter patter of rain falling. Jan said somebody had verbal diarrhea tonight. I presumed she meant Bozo Ben but she meant Zsolt, whose conversation meant she c/n get back to discussing music. Pounded away on the keys until about 2155. calling it quits then as it would be 'lights out' at 2200.

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