Day 10. Today we said goodbye to Montenegro and our hire car. We covered around 900km in that car and I reckon the 1.0 engine is still gasping for air! This meant the beginning of our epic trip home via Dubrovnik, then Rome tomorrow and finally to Luton on Tuesday evening.
The hire car had to be returned to Tivat airport for 10am but the next bus to Dubrovnik wasn't until 15.40 in a town called Herceg Novi. Getting to Herceg Novi with no a car wasn't without it's challenges! We took a taxi to a ferry across the bay, then hopped on a local bus the rest of the way to Herceg Novi. It was around 11am by this point.
By anyones book, 4+ hours waiting in a strange town is a long time but we actually had a smashing afternoon. The bus station at Herceg Novi had a left luggage facility which turned out to be a real boon. The bus station is high above the bay and we must have climbed steps continuously for 10 minutes in the baking heat to reach it on our return, thank goodness for the lack of heavy bags!
The town was full of charming squares and in the background you can see a famous landmark. The tower with a clock on it, dead centre, is the gate into the old town. There's a fort dating from 1382 built by the Bosians and a long promenade full of restaurants and super yachts. We headed up the endless stairs back to the bus station (it was about 34C for context) and were both drenched by the top. We spent the remainder of our time camped out in a cafe overlooking the bus station sipping on a drink, reading our books for an hour or so without anyone bothering us. I'm reading Day of the Triffids, what a belter!
I bought our tickets which were 15EUR each for the remainder of our journey to Dubrovnik. The bus arrived about 30 mins late on the opposite side of the street from the main building (I hesitate to call it a terminal).
After only a few minutes we were crossing the exit border out of Montenegro where our passports were collected and taken off the bus to be scanned. No sooner had our passports been returned to us by the driver were we at the Croatian border crossing into the EU (yes a second border control, seems weird to me).
At the second border control (into the EU) we had to disembark the coach and walk, yes walk across the border. Some people were randomly stopped and searched. The whole process took about 30 mins. We eventually arrived into Dubrovnik around an hour down. So by combination of car, taxi, ferry, local bus and international coach we made it the grand total of 50 miles in about 10 hours!
The main bus station is on the complete opposite side of town from the 'old town' where we are staying. We hopped onto another local bus and paid around £2 in Croatian Kunar to get there. Kunar are around 10 to the pound at the moment which makes the maths nice and easy!
We hopped off the bus and instantly the place felt different. A combination of everything having proper signage, road markings actually existing and the oodles of tourists Dubrovnik feels like a different world compared to anywhere we've been in the last 10 days. Croatia apparently spent 10 years making the necessary changes to meet the requirements to enter into the EU. Montenegro probably has that and some ahead of them in my opinion.
Apparently used as the location for Kings Landing in Game of Thrones the tourist gougers have been quick to capitalise. Everywhere you look there is merchandise and guided tours. Really not my thing that. The main drag is very pleasant through the old town, if a little crowded. We had a delicious dinner overlooking the bay for around 20EUR (160 Kuna).
Given that we are only here for one night we went for an apartment right in the centre. Our apartment is the building on the right with the two air conditioners on the wall. Less than a 5 minute walk to the old town gates down the hill. Better yet, only 2 minutes to the cable car which goes 400m up above the town.
We got to the top just after the sun had set and I caught the earths shadow rising above the horizon. If you look closely where the rainbow colours stop there is an island. That island was about where the horizon was so the rest is the shadow cast by the Earth. I am delighted to have finally caught that on film!
The Adriatic provided a rather stunning finale to the evening.
Tomorrow we fly to Rome for one night, see you then!