Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Montenegro, Simply Majestic



Snapshot 1 (2-23-2016 9-55 AM)Airborne east from Nikola Tesla International Airport we get nice views of Belgrade including St Sava's Temple before turning southwest towards Tivat.



Our views are soon obstructed by a thick layer of clouds that occasionally give us a glimpse of the landscape below. In these glimpses I can tell the terrain has now changed as I can see mountains lightly covered with snow.

Soon we are making a turn over a body of water when the flight attendant makes an announcement. We are diverting because of bad weather in Tivat to Podogrica.


IMG_20160214_165331Next it is a bus ride that puts us in Tivat about three hours behind schedule.






Although the Tivat airport is now closed I am still fortunate enough to be able to pick up my rental car from Meridian Car Rental after just a short wait. Soon enough I am on my way to “Tivat Star” near Porto Montenegro where I will be spending the next two nights.



Snapshot 2 (2-23-2016 9-59 AM)I get a surprisingly warm welcome at Tivat Star as I am offered to join my host and his friends for dinner.

Ukrainian/Montenegrin Style




Grilled meats, a tuna pate, cheese (which I pass on) delicious tomatoes, fresh bread, spicy mustard and generous shots of liquor followed by lots of laughter make me feel right at home. However, there is one slight problem. My host is a New England Patriots fan. A few more shots and I forgive him.






Morning skies still show a threat of rain as I set off on a drive around coastal Montenegro. My first destination is Gornja Lastva where en route I get splendid views of “The Bay Of Kotor” in the distance below me.


IMG_20160215_120154At Gornja Lastva I visit the 600 year old St Mary's Church but miss the chance to see an olive mill nearby.






A stop at the Tivat Riviera and for about 5 euros I am on a car ferry crossing “The Bay Of Kotor”. A left turn leaving the ferry and I am on my way to Herceg Novi a historical coastal town.



IMG_20160216_144505Herceg Novi


A walk along a beach front gives more spectacular views of the bay as I head towards “Old Town”. Here you can visit St Archangel Michael Church and Square Belavista which are both relatively quiet this time of the year.


IMG_20160216_144746Narrow paths, step stairs, a nice park along with fancy shops and restaurants are also a part of the area.

For simple bargain souvenirs, stop in at “Svepo 1E”.




From Herceg Novi it is a beautiful drive around “The Bay Of Kotor” to Risan then to Kotor. This drive is so stunning it is a part of a UNESCO site. Along this route is one of the most spectacular natural sights that I have ever seen.







At a roadside stop I am at the edge of mountain cave that has a massive volume of water thundering hundreds of feet down into the bay.



IMG_0048It is late afternoon as I arrive in Kotor for an early dinner at Caffe Sara.

This is an amazing walled city that deserved more time to visit.





As night falls I stop in at St Nichols Serbian Orthodox church as a mass is being conducted. The solemn process adds to peacefulness of the city as it now glows under night lights.



IMG_0055Kotor At Night



IMG_20160216_171555One more day of driving around Montenegro and I end up watching the sunset in Stari Grad Budva.






A refreshing pint in an English pub and soon I am making way to a bar. In Bar, Montenegro I will be spending my last night in this naturally beautiful country that is less than ten years old.

From here I am looking forward to taking “The Montenegro Express” a 12 hour train ride back to Belgrade, Serbia. 

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