Smurfy Tjedan Osam: Dubrovnik, Montenegro
September 2010, by Gini
Dubrovnik & Detour to Montenegro
After a sleepless night aboard the Jadrolinija ferry in our separate sex cabins (no love boat here!) we arrived in Dubrovnik at 7am in the morning, much too early for the brain to be functioning. The border control attempted to look for all the alcohol and drugs we VWers seem to carry with us but smurf came through squeaky clean and in a daze of sleepy dust we drove to campsite Solitudo on the hill.
After a smurf kip, we left smurf to soak up the electricity as we had a mission at hand, no gas! just when we really needed a coffee too! With a gas bottle strapped to the back of the Brompton and a petrol station in mind, we thought it would only take half an hour tops. Hmmm a new map with a new direction later we were cycling around the harbor away from the old town towards what we thought to be the gas depot, a lucky sign spot and a speedy bottle refill for only 4 euro and we were on the road back to have a coffee at last!
The weather had gone a bit cloudy since we had arrived in Croatia and it rained for most of the day which suited us as we had put up the gazebo and enjoyed a spot or two of rain. The next morning started early with blue skies as we walked around the corner from our campsite to pick up our rental car from Konpas rentals. Why would we need a car you ask? Well after deciding to go to Montenegro with friends Sebily (Seb & Em) and after a little more research and discovering we needed a green card for Smurfy?! At that point we didn't know what this green card business was all about but after looking through our insurance papers for the first time we found a green sheet of paper! and on it had all the European countries we could visit and a cross through the others. We then discovered Montenegro was grouped with Serbia and was a no go with Down under Insurance, even after ringing and offering more money!
So back to us picking up the rental car! and after we played fetch with the neighboring dog above us, we think he must have done this before as it took a bit of skill on his part. The car was quite low after being on top of the road with Smurf and Tom discovered after doing the first part of a three point turn that he didn't know how to put it in reverse! So there we were sitting in a road block formation across the road in a rental, crunching the gear in and out of first. Don't panic just inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth until of course a bus was in sight! At that point Tom was like 'you are going to have to get out and push!' and I thinking I can't push a whole car! hopped out as the bus drew to a stop beside us with a few rubber neckers probably thinking stupid tourists, which we were! and I begun to push a perfectly functional car backwards and to my surprise it worked! the bus driver smiling as we probably made his morning and a honk later the bus was gone and so were we. We caught our first glimpses of the beautiful old town of Dubrovnik and swung around the great wall and picked up Sebily at Pile Gate with destination Montenegro ahead.
A few border checkpoints later and we were driving around Kotor Bay with the sun shining. We stopped at the cute little town of Perast for a few cold beers and locally fished seafood lunch and a quick toe dip before driving the rest of bay to Kotor town. After a phone and Croatian lady picking us up later we arrived at our apartment up on the hill with views of the fortress ruins on the hills above. We unwind over a few vinos & beers with a snack/tapa style dinner and a few laughs.
The next morning started with yoppo (the milky yoghurt strikes again!) and muesli and of course an hour of cute kitten time. Once I discovered the 'ginger one' the rest couldn't compete. We strolled the old town and after a few coffees and a cheesy crepé in a hot pot for our second breakfast of the day later we were back on the road in search of the famous old Austrian road that has 25 hairpins (smurfy was glad not to be here!) to the top with a specular view over the bay and behind. We weren't disappointed and after a few poses here and there we drove on to Sveti Stefan as the storm hit. That didn't stop us crazy kiwis we got right into the water and enjoyed a slightly cool swim with a few locals while Em & Seb enjoyed a beer at the beach cafe. After a few beers we hit the road back to Dubrovnik for a dinner & cocktails under the pines in the old town. We said our goodbyes until our Wedding as Sebily are off back to Auz and caught the last bus back to base camp and of course smurfy. As we lost our friends to London and beyond we gained another more furry one, who we called Purry pronounced 'Perry' a very cute little kitten who liked me! or maybe just my prosciutto! After stern words from Tom that the kitten wasn't allowed to sleepover (most unfair) I closed the door on a pleading meow.
Over the course of the night the van door opened for air flow and by dawn our little flurry friend had popped in and onto the bed for a purry morning greeting. Tom melted like butter and Perry was allowed to hang until of course she found another camper who had better food than us. She started using the wheel chassis as her base while we made good use of the blue skies and cycled into the old town, which is without a doubt the most beautiful old town we have wander through. It was very hard to imagine it was ever bombed some 15 years earlier. We wandered the walls which gives you a fantastic view of the town and the surroundings. We stopped for some simple seafood in one of the many squares and shared our table with two lovely ladies over from Great Britain on a walker tour of Croatia. We enjoyed an octopus salad and deep fried baby fish as the rain returned again for the afternoon.
While it rained we checked out the Photo War exhibition, which was amazing and gave a little more insight into war of the early 90s in the surrounding regions and some inspiration for our photography skills. As we left the rain had cleared so it had to be swim time at the local beach, just down the road from La Smurf. It was a cool swim with a dramatic red sunset a nice way to finish our time in Dubrovnik.