Sunday 8th September A catching up day 15 miles
It was a cloudy morning, but Adrian still hung out the washing. People gradually left, despite coming in late. We were debating whether to stay another day, as we wanted to finish the website, If we didn’t get off fairly early we’d have to find another campsite by the coast, and these are usually expensive. We enjoyed our fried breakfast while we watched people packing up to leave, including the two girl cyclists with a tent, and the girl who’d slept in her car right next to us.
As we worked on the website, the rain returned, so once again we had to dash out and bring in the washing. This time it was ‘socks and knickers around the van’, as things were nearly dry.
By now we had decided to stay, with the intention of having a swim, but the grey day didn’t entice us!
At 3.00 we decided to drive the few miles back to Bakar, which we remember from our 1967 trip. We’d by-passed it this time on the super new road. We saw today that this hung out from the high ground above – lucky that I didn’t know yesterday!
Kraljevica, Croatia to Risan, Montenegro
We drove right down to the town which was on an inlet beside the water. It was wonderfully quiet on this Sunday afternoon. We took our cup of tea and sat at the water’s edge, while large fish swam around amongst the small boats.
Bakar, taken in 1967 - and now
The sun had now come out, and it was very hot. We stopped at a viewpoint down to Bakar, as we had done before, when it was even hotter. Our memory then is of a man lying down in the shade beneath his lorry!
The super new road above Bakar
It was 4.30 when we got back to Camping Ostra
The sun had gone in and it felt cool, so no swim. Some bikers arrived – a German couple on two motorbikes, and then a lone biker. The woman went over and talked non-stop to the lone man, who was desperately trying to put up his tent before the impending storm, and her man sat on his own. We put out the awning, and sat under it with our aperitifs, but then the storm hit us. And what a storm – violent rain, great flashes of lightning, and crashing overhead thunder. We came in at 7.00, while rivers formed outside. It continued to rain all evening – we felt for those in little tents.
Bakar from down by the water
A very wet evening!
Monday 9th September We head inland 121 miles
There was more storm in the night, and it was still raining in the morning. As I walked over to the shower block, I heard the lone biker, who we think was Spanish, saying ‘Terrible weather, everything’s wet’. I couldn’t get any hot water in the shower. When Adrian went across later there was a notice apologising for the lack of hot water, so he tried another block.
We'd had to give up on our visit to Plovice National Park as the booking system was impossible, and we couldn’t get any bookings. It was all very difficult (and expensive) anyway, with bookings to visit having to be two days ahead.
We left this nice campsite at 10.30. It was a shame about the weather, as we hadn’t been able to have a swim.
We soon pulled in above the sea and talked about our onward route. At Novi Vinodolski, a steep village with the harbour full of boats, we got some fuel.
We stopped for lunch at Senj, just before we were turning inland. It was an idyllic spot above the sea, with the sun shining down on the water, and with the numerous offshore islands. The road behind us was noisy, but otherwise it was peaceful. We were reluctant to leave, especially as it was now warm.
Looking to the island of Krk
We turned inland into the mountains, passing lots of stalls selling honey. We had decided to follow a route towards Sarajevo in Bosnia. We were surrounded by green mountains as we joined the motorway, stopping to get some LPG. The countryside was wild and remote, reminding us of parts of USA.
We turned off the motorway at Sveti Rok, stopping in a litter strewn layby, where autumn crocuses were growing in the field behind. This was much more us, being travellers rather than tourists – there was far less traffic around than on the coast, and it was now possible to free camp.
And so at 4.40 we stopped in another layby near Gracac for the night – sadly full of litter again.
Our euphoria at our solitude quickly disappeared when Adrian discovered that his tablet had stopped working. As this is what he uses as the essential sat-nav, this was a crisis. After some time, he was able to get the sat-nav on his phone, but this of course is much smaller. He took a long time eradicating the voice on it, which I can't stand. We had no internet connection here, to add to our frustration. After all this, we were ready for a drink!
Autumn crocuses by the roadside
Tuesday 10th September Into Bosnia with geographical and technical ups and downs 151 miles
It was very cold in the night and early morning, and the day started very misty (we were at 650m). The sun was just breaking through when we left at 8.45, and soon after there was a clear blue sky. Large lorries had been rushing past.
We continued through the wild, green, empty mountain scenery. At Knin, a long-time crossing point of routes, there was a fortress which had been used in the war in the 90’s, but we somehow didn’t see it. Adrian had said, ‘where’s Knin, it’s not on any sign posts’. I replied, ‘It’s because we’re in it’!
We stopped at a new quite well stocked supermarket just out of town, and bought, amongst other things, a pack of four loo rolls – bright orange, as that’s the only colour there was! The fruit and veg wasn’t good, but the French loaf was – we tried some afterwards. The one girl on the till didn’t speak any English when I asked her how long the shop had been open.
Adrian was having a lot of phone/sat-nav troubles, as we set off up the Struica Pass. It was midday when we crossed into Bosnia/Herzegovina, getting a stamp in our passports.
It was a long winding route up to the top of the pass, where there was nothing to denote it, just a rough pull-off for one car.
At 12.45 we stopped to have lunch near Peci. Adrian was reticently jubilant as he managed to get the tablet to work again (by following instructions from the web for a different problem, which worked for his!) – he had been using the sat-nav on his phone, which wasn’t nearly as good.
The countryside in mountainous Bosnia
We left here at 2.00, and made our way to Drvar, set along the valley of the scant Unac River, with steep mountains on either side. Although we had dropped down a bit to here, we spent most of the day at a height of between 600 and 800 metres. Adrian saw a sign to ‘Tito’s cave’, so we pulled in beside a pleasant park.
A small group of women sat at the gateway drinking coffee. One asked if we were going to the museum, or just for a walk in the park. We thought that a museum of the town in another language wouldn’t be of much interest, so just walked into the park. Adrian walked on past the museum to the signs for ‘Tito’s cave’, which were up rough steps in the near vertical limestone cliff – we decided that we wouldn’t have made it! We found out later that this was the place where Tito hid from the Germans in 1944 whilst organising partisan resistance and to the 'Yugoslavs' is a 'shrine' to him.
Burren type scenery in high Bosnia
Approaching Drvar in the Unac valley
Back in the van, we ascended the cliffside and took the road towards Jajce. We noticed that the ground was drier than on the coast. In the villages we passed, we saw minarets. At Rudenice we saw our first working horse and cart. The countryside was gentler, with rounded hills and was quite pastoral, with cows in the fields. The graveyards were different, with columns rather than gravestones.
Just before Jajce, we passed lovely Lake Pliva, then at 6.00, we came to the ‘autocamp’ in Jajce, where for €10 we could overnight, with electricity! We pulled in above the river and enjoyed a drink. It was cool now, as the sun had gone behind the mountain.
The park in Drvar leading to virtually inaccessible 'Tito's cave'
Looking down to Pliva River from the 'autocamp' at Jajce
Wednesday 11th September Enjoying Jajce
We had already decided to stay here a second night. It was another misty morning. We watched with interest as a man opened up a truck displaying besom brooms and large sacks of goods. Several cars came into the ‘campsite’, and later the place was packed!
We left to see something of Jajce. The first thing to see was the market, which we rightly presumed was today. It was a glorious hotch-potch - all kinds of stalls mixed up together. There were simple vegetable stalls next to stalls of metal things - pots and tripods (like we had bought in Romania), and, handmade tools of all kinds. Adrian was loving it! There were skeins of natural knitting wool hanging up, and handmade thick socks. There were tables of large ladies knickers and bras. 'Carboot' things were laid on the ground. The noticeable thing was that very many of the people were smoking.
What was this van doing in our campsite - must be market day!
Having had our fill of this atmospheric scene, we made our way on into the town, with its fortress and church high above.
The 'market/ carboot' at Jajce
Now it was time for some lunch. We stopped at a little roadside restaurant, where Adrian enjoyed trout (2) and accompaniments including chips, wraps and salad. I had soup, which was chicken and vegetable - tasty, but not very warm. I asked for it to be heated, but it still wasn't hot. We drank a local beer - Sarajevo. It came to under £11 total! The waitress was pleasant and it was a nice stop.
We needed to find a 'hole in the wall' - it was like the old days, when we had to get currency in each country, but at least now we don't have to wait for the banks to be open, as we did in the sixties. Having got some local currency, it was time to seek out the waterfall, which we had read was in the centre of town. It was just as the Pliva River joins the Vrbas River. There were no signs, and it took a bit of finding - we had to cross the Pliva River on a footbridge - but it was certainly a site to see, and all the better as there were no other tourists around.
The Travnic gate at Jajce
A lady cobbler at work
The town centre waterfalls, Jajce
After that it was time to climb up to the catacombs, 4 marks (£2) each. These date from 1410, and are set into the rock, once you'd gone down some rough steps into the sparsely lit chamber. You could also access the Bear Tower, set high above the town beside the tombs
Waiting for lunch, Jajce
. We declined that, and descended the many steps which brought us out by 'our' road. We stopped at the bottom and bought a bottle of wine from the supermarket - only to find when we got back that we already had one!
We walked back through the market area where the last few stall holders were packing up. Our 'site' was now devoid of cars. It was 2.30 and we felt very hot.
Entering the ancient catacombs, next to St. Mary's church
Adrian put out the awning, but as almost always happens, up came the clouds and it became much cooler, so in it went again!
There were very few campers here tonight.
Our 'campsite' at Jajce - packed in the morning for the market, and empty in the late afternoon
Thursday 12th September To Sarajevo
We left just after 9.00. Adrian went into the supermarket and bought bread and a few other things. The sun was trying to peep through the mist. We drove to the other side of the valley, where we could walk a long way (for us) steeply downhill through woodland to another view of the falls, with the town up behind.
We then followed the Vrbas River with its steeply forested sides, on our way to Sarajevo. We pulled in for coffee, sorry that all laybys are so litter strewn. Flat stretches of land by the river were often cultivated, but otherwise it was remote and green. At Donji Vakuf we started ascending the mountains, to the summit at Komar, 1000m.
The falls at Jajce from the other side
We then descended to Travnik, which was too large for us to have any hope of seeing the things of interest.
We now drove through non-stop 'out of town grot’, more typical of USA. We were following The Bosna river, which we pulled in beside for lunch. Once more it was strewn with litter.
We were very soon on the motorway heading for Sarajevo. I became a bit dozy, and before I knew it, Adrian was driving through the massive outskirts of the city. We were heading for an ‘autocamp’ above the city, and this meant us driving up and up, on and on, reminding us Guanajuato in Mexico, where we’d had to drive 17 km around the hills before finding our spot, by which time I was quite giddy!
We finally came to the small ‘camp’, where half a dozen motorhomes were squashed into a space high above the city. The very genial owner guided us in, and explained the ‘facilities’, in his ‘little bit of German’. The showers were solar powered, and didn’t work too well, as we discovered.
Looking down from the summit at Komar
Looking down to Sarajevo from our campsite
Friday 13th September Sarajevo
The morning was cool as the sun hadn’t reached us. This was our day to visit Sarajevo. Although Adrian had read that you could walk down, it would have been a very long and steep walk! A taxi was a much better option (£5). The owners rang for one which would arrive in 10 minutes. It was then that we got talking to the Norwegian couple camped next to us, who were leaving today. He had worked in Maidenhead and Bourne End, as Adrian had. They were really pleasant, so a shame that our conversation was cut short.
We were dropped near the centre of Sarajevo, beside the Latin Bridge, which was where Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in 1914, ultimately leading to the first Word War.
Adrian had asked to be dropped near the tourist office, so that he could get a map of the city. We were beside one of the large tourist maps, and it was a while before we found the tourist office. When we did, we spoke to a very nice American woman in there from New Orleans, who had lived in Thornbury (where we were in August with our Historic Caravan Club)!
We really enjoyed Sarajevo. To us visiting, it appeared a very happy city, where people wandered about, some with phones to their ears, some carrying young children or pushing them in pushchairs, some drinking coffee in the numerous coffee shops. It was interspersed with signs saying ‘I love Sarajevo’ and ‘Celtic Pub’. It was hard to think of it as the war-torn place of the nineties, but then we likened it to London in the seventies – 25 years after the end of WW2 – and we never expected that to still look bombed out. We were aware that things may be far from peaceful, but it was nice to enjoy it as it is now.
We wandered the streets, particularly enjoying Ferhadija, the pedestrian street which was lined with stalls and shops of all kinds, particularly selling icecreams, fine jewellery and copperware. Adrian couldn’t believe the number of travel agents. As we had joined it, music was playing. We walked as far as the Eternal Flame, which honours those killed in WW2.
Mosques abounded, with their evocative spires as did churches with towers.
The Latin Bridge in Sarajevo, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in 1914 leading to WW1
We walked back to Sebilj, an ancient fountain where dozens of pigeons and hordes of people gathered in the Bascarsija (Bazaar).
We enjoyed sitting in Trg Oslodenia, on the seats which tipped up when you left them, like theatre seats, to reveal adverts underneath.
Sarajevo's Eternal Flame, the Catholic Cathedral and Ferhadija Mosque
Tippy-up seats in Trg Oslodenia and some serious chess (and drinking!)
I wanted a coffee, and Adrian would have liked a beer, but finding cafes which sold both appeared difficult – it was either one or the other. In wandering the streets, Adrian saw a placard stating Beer, and Coffee, so we tried that. It was an excellent choice! As well as me enjoying a Bosnian coffee (small, but served with a glass of water), and Adrian enjoying his beer, we had the bonus of the couple sitting adjacent to us. They were from Australia – and lived in Mosman, Sydney, in the road where Adrian’s uncle Ali used to live and where we had visited him! We had plenty of conversation! They were on a tour – part of an extensive trip to Europe, but had left it for today as the guide had become boring.
A tram goes past the people and pigeons by the Sebilj in the Bascarsija
We ended our tour of the city by walking past the splendidly rebuilt City Hall, previously the Library, which had been totally destroyed during the fighting, with great loss of life along with 2 million historic books on Bosnia.
Beer and Bosnian coffee in Sarajevo
We walked back by the river and got a taxi to take us up to our campsite. It was only 2.30, but we’d gained a great impression of Sarajevo, and had very much enjoyed it.
The City Hall, the former library
Back to the Latin Bridge
Friday 14th September To ‘The old bridge at Mostar’ 92 miles
We did ‘the jobs’ and left at 9.00. The charismatic owner called out to us in German ‘come back again’. The long and winding road we took seemed like being on a helter skelter! We stopped for fuel, then got on to the short stretch of motorway towards Mostar. We were amused that in Cyrillic it looked like ‘Mocrap’!
We went through several tunnels, and as we left the motorway there were fine railway viaducts.
At Konjic, Adrian had great trouble in trying to get a photograph of the nice bridge.
We now drove along beside the Jablanico Reservoir, which looked very beautiful with the steep, green mountains above. We then followed the Neretva River. We stopped at a viewpoint, with the river far below. It seemed to be a stopping place for buses, for the occupants to visit the restaurant. There were a lot of Japanese tourists here.
A modern railway viaduct and an ancient bridge
We were driving through stunning mountain scenery, with several peaks over 2,000 m. The journey was made slow as we stopped to view and photograph the deep green river and the towering mountains.
We stopped for lunch beside another stretch of reservoir, with the wonderful mountains above. We were amused at the stone picnic tables, with wooden benches that didn’t reach them! The sun was now hot.
Stunning scenery of the Neretva Gorge
We were pleased to see several pull-offs above the river, and with rubbish bins too.
We reached Mostar at 1.45. The outskirts weren’t enticing, but we knew that the old town was nice, with its famous bridge. Adrian had note of several places to stay, but they proved very difficult. One, near the centre, appeared to be part of a bus parking area. We couldn't sort it out at all, so made our way to a second place, which we couldn’t even find! We decided to park beside the road, and walk in, which we did. It was a long, hot walk, but we were able to glimpse the famous bridge before we got there.
Beautiful scenery, but I can't reach the table!
The old town was of course packed with tourists, and I found it rather difficult. What with the rounded cobbles, sometimes steep slopes, and crowds jostling you, it wasn’t much fun. We walked through the narrow streets, packed with touristy shops, as far as the market, which wasn’t really happening on a Saturday afternoon. Walking over the bridge was especially trying, so on the way back, I sat on a seat while Adrian walked on to get the Ixi.
We now drove past the block upon block of housing of outer Mostar to an ‘out-of-town’ autocamp, where we paid €25 – the most expensive yet – Adrian said to the man that it was too much, to which he replied that Mostar was very expensive. Anyway you are English – you are rich! We parked above the Neretva river, with superb scenery all around.
Our thoughts of being the only campers here changed, as several others came in, some with tents.
It became really windy, so we came inside after having our drinks
The busy 'Old Bridge' at Mostar and the tranquil river
The Neretva River from our campsite at Mostar
Sunday 15th September To a lovely riverside camp 73 miles
The morning was already warm. We ate our boiled egg breakfast sitting outside, with our nice view. One of the two motorcyclists overnighting here spoke to Adrian. They were one of those surprises in life when he said they were from Jordan. When Adrian said “how did you get here - by boat?” he said no they had ridden up through Syria! He said the people there were very friendly. They were riding on through Serbia to Bulgaria. Later he came to ask for hot water for his coffee. A nice chap.
We followed the long unsurfaced track back to the road, stopping soon at ‘Bingo’, a massive hypermarket. Adrian wanted to get some food for his birthday on Tuesday. He bought a hot round, brown loaf, which we tried a bit later, sitting in a messy lay-by above the river.
We drove through outer Mostar, coming to large stretches of vineyards.
Our first stop was at Plotinj, a steep ancient town. Being Sunday and on the main road, there were crowds of people, and I found the cobbled lanes difficult. It was reminiscent of Robin Hoods Bay. There were several spires of mosques and there were a lot of small stalls. We bought a bottle of pomegranate juice from one – a lot of the trees grow here. We didn’t get right to the top of the village. It had become very hot.
Now we made our way through town and country, and some diversions, to waterfalls, said to be like a mini Niagara. We finally came to some water, but realised that we were not at the right place! However, where we were was really pleasant, with the little rapids on the green river contrasting with the giant motorway viaduct up above. We ate our lunch sitting on our chairs in the shade. We were just leaving at 1.30, when crowds of young people arrived, shattering the peace.
The steep, ancient town of Plotinj
We made our way to the actual Kravice Falls, which wasn’t far by river, but a long way by road. There were crowds of cars and people here. We joined them to walk down the many, many rough steps to the falls area. The falls were certainly spectacular, falling into a large pool where many people were enjoying the water. We hadn’t remembered to bring our swim things, and it was a long way back! We decided to take the ‘petit train’ bus back up, but were surprised at how many people walked it, many looking not fit enough to. Even after the bus terminus, it was quite a walk on awkward stone ‘half steps’ to the bottom. Back at the top, we enjoyed a welcome ice icecream (lemon/pistachio). Adrian spotted a ‘portable cabin’ post office, so we were able to post the cards to our family.
Falls below,viaduct above!
It was gone 3.30 when we left, heading for Hutovo Blato nature reserve. We noticed that Cyrillic names on the signposts were sprayed black like we remember in the Basque country in Spain in 1982. It shows the underlying dissent still. Our trip to the reserve wasn’t a success! I spotted one large dark brown bird, but we didn’t know where we were going, or what we should be looking out for! The pleasant surprise though was a charming little old bridge on the way.
'Mini Niagara' Kravice Falls
It was gone 5.00 when we reached Stolac Autocamp, set right beside the clear, but cold river. I had become dozy. We found that this camp £13, included electric, Wi-Fi (sporadic), and use of a washing machine! We soon set about using that! The programme we were shown to use was very long, so by the time it had finished we had to wait until the morning to hang out the very damp washing – the spin couldn’t have been very good!
As we sat outside we spoke to our neighbours – a young German couple from near Leipzig, with their three little boys. The oldest was 5, the others Til – 2 and Tom 5 months. They were in a small camper, and were travelling for 4 months before the oldest started school. They were a joy to talk to, and the boys seemed happy and well behaved. We watched with amusement as the parents took the 3 little naked boys down to the water, and all enjoyed a good evening splash!
It was lovely to have our drinks, and then our supper of fish, sitting outside, not coming in until 9.30.
Another lovely old bridge
Cooling our feet
Monday 16th September Enjoying our place at Stolac 7 miles
We didn’t need much persuading to stay here another day! We were surprised that the early morning was cool until the sun reached us. The first job was to hang out the washing, followed by a leisurely breakfast outside before it became too hot.
It was lovely to have a relaxing day. The washing was dry before lunch. The weather became hot, so we sat down at the picnic table, in the shade beside the river, for coffee and lunch.
We thought that we’d have a ‘cool off’ in the water, but getting into the cool, fast flowing water must have made for interesting viewing!
Lunch in the shade beside the river
Late in the afternoon we packed up and drove into Stolac. This was supposed to be another interesting old town. There were three ancient Ottoman bridges, which we enjoyed seeing, plus a church and a mosque, but we found the town difficult to drive round with its one-way system.
Cooling off in the river
The German couple had told us of a good place to eat – The Old Mill – and we thought that we would have a pre-birthday meal for Adrian. However, we couldn't find the place, and had given up, when on driving back, Adrian spied it. There was no apparent parking, and the only access was down difficult stone steps. It was a large, and seemingly popular place. A few diners were already there, which pleased us, as it was quite early. We wanted to get back to the campsite before dark. It was certainly attractive, with water all around, and evidence of the old mill.
Two of the lovely old bridges at Stolac
Adrian enjoyed trout, and I had calamari, which I so often go for, but find too chewy. We both had a large local beer with it. It proved a memorable meal, and we got back to Stolac Autocamp at 6.50, so before dark. We sat in our lovely location here, as someone started playing guitar and singing across the water.
A pre-birthday meal at 'The Old Mill', Stolac
Tuesday 17th September Dashing to Dubrovnik for Adrian’s birthday 73 miles
Today is Adrian’s 77th birthday! We ate his favourite scrambled egg for breakfast, sitting above the river in this lovely situation. The sun hadn’t reached us, but it wasn’t cold. He opened his cards, and a nice T-shirt from Emma and chocolate from Simon. Later we hung up the bunting which Paul & Nicky had given him. We left this lovely spot at 9.20.
We were heading for Dubrovnik, calling in the see another old town, Trebinje on the way. The country we drove through was wild and empty. Initially the landscape was dry and rocky, with small bushes. It became greener, but there were virtually no houses. We came to the very normal town of Lapinje, where there was strip cultivation on the flat valley floor. Later, in the wide valley, extensive rows of vines were growing.
Our route wound on and on, taking much longer than we’d imagined. We stopped near a mock castle to have the chocolate bun which we’d bought yesterday, as a birthday cake for Adrian. We put in the two 7 candles we’d bought.
Happy 77th birthday Adrian
At Trebinje, the thing to see is the Arslanagic Bridge, built in 1574 by a rich Ottoman called Arslanaga. When we got to it, a group of Japanese tourists were visiting. They took photos of each other in every which pose, oblivious to others wanting to photograph. It was very hot.
We were on the point of giving up on seeing the walled town, having driven through many of the narrow streets of the outer town, where the bad parking was reminiscent of Italy. Luckily we did manage to find a place to park beside the road. We made a quick tour of the old town, which seemed to be made up of a mosque and of eating and drinking places. There was a memorial to the victims of the 90’s war, and a pleasant park opposite.
The Arslanagic bridge at Trebinje
Setting off again, it was after 1.00 when we stopped to have lunch. The place wasn’t ideal for a birthday meal, being in a stone ‘quarry’, and not very attractive.
At Ivanica, we crossed the border back into Croatia, as Dubrovnik is at the end of the long finger of Croatia jutting down along the coast. We had views down to the sea and the offshore islands as we neared the coast, reaching the Autocamp Matkovica at Srebreno at 2.30. The journey had taken us much longer than anticipated. We’d really given up on visiting Dubrovnik today, which is what Adrian had wanted to do. The helpful camp host thought that the next boat to Dubrovnik left at 3.15, but then found out that it was a 3.00. Therefore it was a quick sort out to leave immediately to walk down to the harbour – supposedly a 5 minute walk but longer for us!
We reached the large harbour, and started walking round, but didn’t know where to catch the boat. I was running out of ‘go’, so asked a waitress we were passing. She pointed to the other end of the harbour!
We got there, and at 3.00, a boat came, but the chap said that another boat would come – so it was nearer 3.15 when we did leave! The other people waiting were a couple from Swindon!
It was a pleasant half hour trip along the coast to Dubrovnik. Once there, we wandered around the narrow streets, along with dozens of other people. I found it all too busy. Icecream stalls were everywhere, and little tourist shops. We walked along the main street to Pile Gate, trying to remember our 1967 visit. We both remember lots of little food shops then (we’d had trouble buying food beforehand), but they didn’t exist now.
The boat ride to Dubrovnik
We wanted to stop at one of the eating places, but as we walked along a narrow street, smart cafes were setting up for the evening, and we just wanted something simple. Adrian had spied a cafe doing ‘happy hour’, so we made for that. We both had a good zucchini soup and a beer.
Discovering Dubrovnik 2019
We now made our way back down to the front, where we sat waiting for our boat – the last one – at 7.00.
It was a magical journey, leaving Dubrovnik at sunset, giving glorious colours to the sky.
Birthday beer and soup
It was 7.45 when we got back to the site. We opened the bubbly, and enjoyed cheese and biscuits, nuts and chocolate.
Wednesday 18th September Catching up again
We wondered whether to breakfast outside, but the a small dog from the next van started yapping, and a couple came to do their extensive workout, so that decided us! We debated, but didn’t need much persuading to stay another day here! The next door group left for the beach. There was a space on the other side of them, so we made the move. We now had time to catch up with diary, photos and emails, and then go down to the beach later.
Adrian put out the awning, and the bunting, and we sat and enjoyed coffee/tea. Of course the day then became partly cloudy!
We went across to the supermarket opposite which was in a large mall. The shop was big, and quite European, but was a bit untidy. We had so much stuff that Adrian used the trolley to bring it back to our van, wheeling it back later. We then sat outside for a late lunch.
There was a washing machine here – too good a chance to miss! We put the washing in after lunch. Later we walked down to the beach and had a pleasant swim. I discovered though, that you can’t swim in crocs – your feet just come up to the surface. I had left them on because, although it was sandy underfoot, the beach was pebbly. After our swim, we sat enjoying the peaceful scene. A mother was bouncing her baby in the water, and he was just loving it. We could see the boat leave for Dubrovnik from the other side of the bay.
When we came back, Adrian went to see about the washing – we had been over several times before. It was still going! The nice lady owner said to Adrian that it was on a long cycle. She changed it, and said that it would only be another hour, not two now!
Adrian had a phone chat to Simon, and then the washing was finally finished! We hung it up, then ate our supper outside - Adrian had cooked the unknown fresh fish outside. The weather became windy, so he brought the awning in.
The beach at Srebreno
Thursday 19th September Into Montenegro 38 miles
It was still windy this morning. When I came back from my shower, I couldn't see my pink vest-top on the line. We searched all around the site, as some things had blown down and others over the fence in the wind, but couldn't see it. Then I found it on my clothes pile in the van - I must have brought it in last night!
I brought in the rest of the washing, and was wondering whether to have breakfast outside, when it started to rain, so that was that! It was only a shower, but now it was time to do the emptying and filling. The lady owner came with a long hose for the water. She was always on the go, helping campers. She had an older face, but a very young figure. We didn't get off until 10.00.
Half an hour later we reached the border with Montenegro. The queue going out of Croatia was OK, but the one coming into Montenegro was long and slow. It was a late coffee, with a small baklava, when we pulled into a large stony parking area. On the hill opposite were some very simple huts/houses reminding us of some on Route 66.
A police car arrived, with a speed camera. Our book had said that policemen were everywhere - hope this isn't a bad sign! The first town we passed through, Herzeg Novi, had nothing pretty in it. At least there was colour from the oleanders and bougainvillea. We saw small children, presumably walking home from Nursery school with their parents, looking like any European toddlers.
The scenery was lovely, with the sea, mountains and islands, but there was no sun to set it off. Adrian was finding the coast road here just as busy as Croatia. We pulled off beside the water, with headlands around us, to have lunch. I was just saying that it was pleasant outside when the rain started, with a flash of lightning.
Old motel type rooms near Sutorina, Montenegro
We drove on around the ‘fjord’ to a find a campsite. We had a dilemma – one site had electric & an internet connection, for €22, but one on the coast nearby was much cheaper, and much nicer but with no electric and we couldn’t check the price as no-one was there. We reluctantly opted for the one with electric Autocamp Naluka at Morinj. It would seem to have been a good choice, as the rain continued. We also remembered that you must register in Montenegro, and this would appear more likely with the larger site. The site was actually set on an inlet.
It stopped raining, so we sat outside with a cup of tea but later the rain returned to give a wet evening. We worked more on the website.
Lunch stop near Bijela looking across the Kotor Fjord, Montenegro