Thursday, October 05, 2006

Greetings From Crna Gora

That's Montenegro to you. As of 3 months ago, the world's newest sovereign nation. Serbia is getting mighty lonely right about now.

My nice Albanian friend had spent a lot of time last night trying to find out if there were any buses or minibuses over the mountains from Pej to Rozije in the morning. Nope. All you could do is hire a taxi for 20 euro.

Okay. So I was prepared this morning, and found a nice cab driver to drive me there. It's a relatively high pass, and it looked a lot like Colorado as we got to the summit and the Montenegrin border. And there, waiting to clear immigration, was a bus.

A bus??? Yes, said my driver, there's one that leaves Pej every morning at 8 am. I was a little crushed. For an hour and a half taxi ride it was a pretty cheap deal, but: They had lied to my Albanian friend and me!

Oh well. I tried to enjoy the scenery on the way down. When we got to Rozije the town was ever so slightly alpine. And a bus was headed for Pedorica at 10:30.

So we were heading down what is essentially a 120 mile long dark, dark gorge with (finally) really intense mountains all around. Except that the clouds and rain kind of hampered the fun. And at around 1:30, on curve number 387, there was a SMASH, and the sickening sound and feel of our metal being scrunched and the bus lurching.

It wasn't really the kind of SMASH to send us careening off of a precipice, but enough of a sideswipe Smash to take out our side panels and to spin a medium sized truck to where he was now blocking the road.

Neither of us could now move until the police arrived. Which seemed like forever, but was really only an hour. Then another bus also arrived, and we all transferred over to it, and continued down the mountain.

At Podorica the mountains finally opened up onto a small plains. I got on another bus, this time to Kotor, and we started over even more mountains, this time, lighter limestone ones. After an hour or so we came out at about 1500 feet over the Adriatic, and everything was spread out below us as only southern Europe can do. Even in the rain it was pretty dramatic.

A half an hour later we made it to the town of Kotor, sitting at the foot of tall mountains at the head of an honest to goodness fjord. Once again, even the rain couldn't totally spoil it.

So I walked in the rain for about 500 meters to Kotor's Old Town. Now I was in a cobblestoned medieval alley kind of place that was as cool as anywhere else in Europe.

I liked it so much that I even popped for a $43 room.


At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

Just to let you know that I like it you enjoy the 'Wild Wild West' Eastern Europe, with countries that pop up like mushrooms in autumn (Transdnistria, Montenegro). I guess Western Europe will be pretty boring to you!




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