Saturday, 23 July 2016

Sat 23 Jul 2016. Rijeka Crnojevica to Kotor

Sat 23 Jul 2016. Rijeka Crnojevica to Kotor
A family start to the day - spoke to Naomi/ Neko, and Jenni/Fletcher in BrisVegas. No one home in Perth. Called Daniel/Nathan in Darwin, but all asleep having just returned from Philippines. Took off through mountains.

G'day mate....

Drove through Mount Lovcen National Park, so interesting to see limestone weathering softly in curves rather than jagged lines. Couldn't believe there were houses, farms and shops in national park though. Enjoyed our lunch stop in forest. 

Gorgeous drive into Kotor, views over Bay magnificent, poor BoyRob having to keep close eye on narrow rutted, windy road instead. Had a heart-stopping moment at the sound of the phone as we were rounding a curve; it has rung so few times in past couple of months! Squeezed into a tiny lookout, showing Kelly the breathtaking view as we returned her call from Oz. 

The Bay of Kotor is not a fjord, but a submerged river canyon

....and down the other side.... Bus had to do multiple turns to get around the switchbacks.

NO WAY!!!!!!

Kotor definitely has the WOW factor

Kotor was unbelievably crowded. Drove around point jutting into Bay to look at four camp grounds marked on apps – turned out to be not the best decision! Road was impossibly narrow at times, got caught in jam where a line of vehicles had to back back one at a time to let other lane through (locals took one look at size of Ozzie and we won right to go first!!) Everything butted into narrow road, pedestrians, shopkeepers, sun lounges, stacked goods and suitcases. Bedlam! Couldn't get into any of camps after all, firstly couldn't make sharp right turn in off narrow road, and also all camps were full up (with mostly tents). 

Drivers out of their cars, directing all vehicles behind to back up. Agh.......!! 

No time to admire views over Our Lady of Rocks at the point. 

Relieved to get back onto an ordinary road, and unbelievably, spotted empty lot at rear of shops facing water at the “V” where mountains met the sea. Girl in shop said we could camp, no charge, so we did! Little bit of rubbish and smell of urine at the back of the store, but couldn't believe our luck in getting off road, with such a view and a walk straight into sea (which we did immediately!). Cold was so refreshing it settled the frazzled nerves.
This is definitely the pick of views from all our European camps...

Our swimming spot

In the water got talking to a local couple Vasselien and Snezana, who said we’d have no trouble camping because the area had been designated for high-class development which was yet to start. He’d been a Chief Engineer on ships most of his life, and had a strong opinion about everything, esp Jews are at heart of all business and money-makers, if not through genealogy (which he had through his mother, “family strongest line”), then they were Jewish in the heart. He was thrilled to find BoyRob had Jewish heritage through his mother, and invited us back to their home nearby. So we quickly showered, dressed and walked uphill following his motorbike. Vasselien was very proud of building his own three-story house, his gardens, cars, possessions. They live on middle level; one by one his four children (young adults who all still live at home) appeared and were introduced with a brief bio of their strengths and accomplishments. The girls were both lawyers (strong handshakes!) and Vasselien was delighted to find we also had a lawyer daughter. We were offered beer and wine both made in Montenegro, and ate their homemade sugar jelly donuts and ice-cream, while they talked about how Montenegro was developing economically faster than any of the other Balkan countries. Snezana spoke English well, but her main role was to nod at everything her husband said (including when he damned Croatia!), to fetch and carry, and hold back the dogs from eating the visitors. A very entertaining afternoon with a very friendly family. 

Walls of Old City are hard to pick out from surrounding terrain

Had another drive around town, admiring the Venetian fortifications that gave the area UNESCO approval. 

Arrived back at our camping spot and bought a burger from the shop that had given us permission to stay. As evening fell, moved Ozzie away from “pissoir corner” right down to beachfront where we had a spectacular view of the lights on the 4.5kms of walls of the Old City, forming "a ring of fire" in the hills above the town.

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