Thursday, March 20, 2014

Montenegro First Impressions

Albania gave us one last blast of fun. The local driver we hired to take us from Shkodra, Albania to Ulcinj, Montenegro spoke Mandarin Chinese with a Beijing accent. From 1980 to 1984 he and his family lived in Beijing where he was a driver for the Albanian Embassy.  We had several good laughs on the 45 minute drive.

We are staying in an "apartment" in Budva, the so-called jewel in the crown of the Montenegrin Riviera. It's off season but one can see that it's a very happening, crowded, beachy place in the summer. Hey, the Rolling Stones played here in 2007.

The Old Town is pretty cool. The water looks clear and refreshing. And the town is improving  beach promenades and infrastructure. However, there are several mega hotel - 10+ stories - going up along the beach. So time will tell the fate of Budva - jewel or junk?

Even though it's off season, Budva is by no means dead. We just returned from an evening stroll through the Old Town and many shops were open at 8PM. During the day we saw numerous young couples with strollers. The tough thing is trying to figure out where folks come from since all the Slavic languages sound pretty much the same to us.

Today we also made an excursion to nearby Centinje, the former capital city of Montenegro, nestled on a plain surrounded by some serious mountains. Tomorrow it's on to Kotor, further up the coast.

We caught a quick glance of Sveti Stefan from the Budva bus.
Sveti Stefan - Budva, Montenegro

The Budva beach and promenade.
Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

There is a walkway around the north headland to the next beach.
Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

The Budva Old Town walls.
Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

Inside the Old Town.
Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

The Rosetta Stone for "bakery".
Budva, Montenegro

Sun-Ling loves walking on city walls.
Budva, Montenegro

Budva Old Town is just a spec in the midst of the sprawling New Town.
Budva, Montenegro

Cetinje sits in valley surrounded by rocky hills and mountains.
Cetinje, Montenegro

Strolling the new pedestrian street in Cetinje.

Cetinje, Montenegro

The Blue Palace in Cetinje - once the home of the King/Prince.
Cetinje, Montenegro

The former French Embassy.
Cetinje, Montenegro

We were pleasantly surprised to find this American Reading Room in Cetinje and stopped in for a brief chat with two ladies working there. Inside was a small library with current subscriptions to "Scientific American" and "Rolling Stone" among their titles.
Cetinje, Montenegro

And we had a new-to-us type of burek/byrek in Cetinje. Yum!
Cetinje, Montenegro

The local beer: Nikšićko.
Budva, Montenegro


2 comments:

Kathy said...

Good to hear from you! I was wondering whether you had gotten stuck in Shkodra, or were just having too much fun in Montenegro.

How cool that you got a Mandarin-speaking taxi driver!

john said...

Kathy, I wish my Chinese was as half as good as his! haha