Our Canada Day was spent trying to get from
So we did as we were told. A couple of blocks away we saw a very fancy Mercedes bus. “Get on” the driver said. “It leaves for Shkodra in two minutes”. But I had to pee, and there was no WC in sight. So I did what the Albanians did.
There are no bus tickets on Albanian buses. You just give some money to a driver’s helper who collects the fares and removes the luggage. He’s the fellow with just a couple of teeth. You know when he’s approaching because he usually hasn't had a bath or shower for at least a week.
Two hours later, the bus stopped at the side of the road and we realized we must be in Shkodra. Sally heard another passenger say thank you when he got his knapsack from the luggage compartment. “Do you speak English?” she asked. And he mumbled something to the affirmative. When he got out his copy of Lonely Planet, we knew we were in luck. He was Dave, and he too was trying to get to
The choice was a minibus to
The taxi took us to Ulcinj a border seaside town. We wandered into a bus station and learned there would be a bus to Budva, our desired destination, in less than an hour. We were delighted. We bought some tickets with our remaining euros, and at 4 pm we were on our way.
We had no idea that
Budva is part of
The Stari Grad, or old town, is very picturesque, and in extremely good condition. That's because most of it was completely rebuilt following two 1979 earthquakes. (It’s amazing how much of the world has been damaged by earthquakes, and yet most of us don’t know or remember much about them.) We had a seafood dinner in a restaurant on the harbour that was very good. The prices were about three times what the two year old guidebook said they would be, but it was well worth it. I was interested to know where the other diners came from. I was told they were from
After an early morning walk about town, we set of at noon for Kotor, about an hour's bus ride north. This is another UNESCO designated old walled town built over the past 6 centuries, which fortunately was not damaged by an earthquake. It sits at the end of a fjord, where large yachts from around the world are moored.
There was not much accommodation available within the old town. But fortunately, a local travel agency found us an apartment, with lots of space and a nice terrace. After cleaning up, we set off into the maze of narrow streets of the impressive old town. Although parts were full of tourists, others felt very authentic, and looked as they might have hundreds of years ago. Outside the walls were some nice beaches and restaurants. We thought that it would be a good place to stay for a few days, but we can’t.
We have now a revised itinerary that will hopefully see us in