Hello family and friends! We are enjoying incredible blue skies and colourful water while loving the warmth of the coast.
Sunday, April 19 – Podgorica, Montenegro!
The mountains looked incredible from the plane – we were excited to be here! Arriving in a new country is always something we look forward to.
Podgorica (rhymes with Pizza) is the capital and largest city of Montenegro with a population of 186,000. The city was known as Titograd from 1946 to 1992, when it was still part of Yugoslavia. Podgorica was bombed over 70 times during World War II and razed to the ground. Fortunately the Yugoslav wars bypassed Montenegro altogether but it still suffered economically.
This is a cool city with a neat vibe, lots of sidewalk cafe’s and bars. We have found in Eastern Europe that each city has a pedestrian centre (mall area) where everyone comes out at night and just walks around, visits, stop for coffee or drinks at the sidewalk bars. Some of these areas are quite large extending 10 blocks or so with several cross streets. Podgorica’s area was quite typical.
Monday, April 20
Podgorcia is not a vast city and we covered a lot of ground today. That means we have time to visit a winery tomorrow!
The Millennium Bridge and beautiful blue/green river:
Russian Rock Star:
Ancient walk along the riverbank:
Spending time with Grandpa:
World War II Memorial:
‘Transformers Defending Podgorcia’. A local sculptor spent 2 years creating these 7 Transformers for an exhibition with a theme featuring ‘transformation of waste’. The materials came from his Fathers scrap yard. The tallest one is 14m (46ft) tall! We found all 7 of them in a couple of hours. So very odd but pretty cool.
Look how small we are!
The other five:
We had dinner at fish restaurant tonight. The fish Joe ordered was called ‘First Class Fish’. We found that just a little vauge so after asking a few questions about the type of fish, the waiter brought the fish out that Joe’s filet would be cut from. Pretty funny.
Turns out it was a type of sea bream and I had a tuna steak. Yummy.
Fountain with Transformer in the background:
Tuesday, April 21
Today we went on a wine tour! We were suppose to join a group of 15 Canadians but they got lost and so we missed them; and we had a private tour. Had this tasting table all to ourselves.
Thought about eating the late Canadians’ cheese.
Plantaže is the biggest Montenegrin viticultural and winemaking company, and one of the biggest companies in Montenegro overall.
The annual production of wine grapes is close to 22 million kg and 17 million bottles are sold annually. Plantaže exports their wine to over 30 countries. The wine is served in little bottles in all the restaurants here. The Montenegran’s are proud of their wine and should be – it is very good! And reasonable – we paid around 3€ a bottle!
The company owns one of the largest vineyards in Europe with over 2,310 ha (23 km2) surface, covered with more than 11 million grapevines.
28,000 bottles of wine are up to 10 years old.
This is a huge 7,000 square metre and 365-metre long tunnel dug 30 metres below a hill, where wine is kept at an ideal and constant temperature of 17-19°C.
Wednesday, April 22 – Podgorcia to Budva
We took a taxi to our next destination in Montenegro; the coastal city of Budva. The sight of the Adriatic Sea from high in the mountains was breathtaking. We were oh’ing and aw’ing so much the cabbie pulled over so we could take it all in and get some nice pictures.
Our hotel was right in Old Town with a secluded restaurant on a private public beach area. Yes, I know that is an oxymoron but the hotel had only 12 rooms and there were lots of beach goers.
We just loved it in Budva and especially on the beach. It was so relaxing to sit and watch the waves and look at the beautiful blues.
Had delicious salads for lunch:
This stray dog slept under my chair the whole time. Sadly I tend to ignore the strays now and this one was scratching a lot. Pretty sure they don’t get flea collars here. The local strays all had long bodies and short little legs. We figured some dachshund is the stud of Budva.
We went for a stroll of the surrounding area – cool beachside restaurants; many in the midst of spring cleaning. We imagine it is hopping here in the summertime. Luckily we are still one step ahead of tourist season. But we can see it picking up now.
Here’s a sample of a converted to English menu if you care to have a look. We noticed the food weights are always noted on menus here. Not sure why…
The old are making room for the new – this huge casino and hotel, tightly wedged in between other buildings, looked almost ready to open:
More fish for dinner tonight. I had sea bass and Joe’s dish had squid, prawns and octopus.
Thursday, April 23
We set out this morning to see the populated island off of the north shore. It looked closer than it was. We never got there but walked for 3.5 hours. My toes hurt. And Joe wasn’t feeling good but he was a trooper and found creative ways to stay near the water even when there was no shore sometimes.
Can you see the face on this stone?
Cool rock formations:
Turquoise stone on one face of rock:
My standard gazebo picture; well, maybe a beach hut:
Friday, April 24
We spent some time exploring before it really started to rain. The storm waves were pretty high and the power went out about 5 times.
We went for a drink at Hemingway’s, a new bar that just opened that day. They were playing some horrible French radio station that took away from the atmosphere. Since we arrived in Eastern Europe, we have heard nothing but 80’s and 90’s North American music which we still find surprising.
Saturday, April 25 – Budva to Kotor
Moved to another beautiful city in Montenegro – Kotor! Tucked away on a bay on the Adriadic Sea, this city is full of life.
We are in the Old Town again, in Kotor, right beside a Jazz Bar. I can hear it in the kitchen, which I probably should be concerned about, but not yet.
Tomorrow, we are climbing this:
We think you appreciated a break from history this week! Should be beach posts for awhile now.
Talk to you soon!
Paula and Joe