The next morning we did wake up thankfully and all of our organs were still in the same place as when we had gone to sleep, phew! We packed up, piled onto the bus and got the hell out of Albania. Would be interesting to see though in ten years when all the building has been completed. Today’s destination is Europe’s and probably the world’s newest country, Montenegro. With a population of just under 700,000 it is also one of the smallest. No sooner had we crossed the border leaving behind the baron wasteland, we found ourselves back on the beautiful Adriatic coastline and at our first stop. We briefly explored the old walled town of Kotor. Here we wandered around the beautiful cobbled streets getting lost in the endless stretches of marble lanes. Perched above the tiny city were the ruins of a 9th century Ottomans outpost which was later turned into a catholic monastery. Back on the coach and it wasn’t long on the road and we had reached our stop for the night. Budva a tourism mecca for the months of July and August sees visitors from Serbia and many other eastern countries, flock to its coastline for the 100 kilometer stretch of Adriatic beauty. Budva is made up of a set of charismatic small towns and fishing villages. Set against the clear Adriatic waters and Montenegro’s stunning mountains this place is picture perfect. The good news for us was that we arrived just after lunch time, so had the rest of the day to explore and take a dip in the refreshing and enticing beach. This was a very welcome change from the nightmare of the previous night.
After dropping our bags we couldn’t get our bathers on quick enough and raced down to the water. The beach was one of those very European ones, with no sand in site, just rocks. Deck chairs were for hire to sit on and cost the same as a deposit on a small flat. The other great thing that the European beaches have is topless sunbathers which the boys loved. We had arrived at the right time as it is the end of summer so not too many tourists and because Montenegro is an up and comer for tourists, give it 5 years and the place will be crawling with poms. We had a paddle around the water which was amazing and the sun was shining down delightfully. We were truly having a great time. Not satisfied with that we had to make the most of our free time in Budva and explore and we had to still find a pin of course. So we emerged from the ocean and made our way along the shoreline to the old town. We passed many a seafood restaurant with tables literally on the beach and decided as a small group to return to these later on. We continued strolling past small fishing boats where fishermen were trying their luck in selling the remainder of the days catch. As we walked and got closer to the walled town the boats got bigger and bigger. The yachts that were moored at the marina would not have looked out of place parked next to Jaime Packer or Greg Norman’s. In the old town there were more marbled laneways to explore and narrow streets. The quaint alleys were a maze of restaurants souvenir shops and designer brands, further proof of the tourist mecca that Budva would soon become. We wandered around and checked out shop after shop with gelato in hand until we got thirsty and found a bar by the water and settled for a few drinks. We didn’t get too comfy because we could smell the seafood so a change of venue was in order. The six of us sat on the beach, water just about lapping at our feet and ordered the biggest seafood platter you could imagine, accompanied by a few more drinks. We enjoyed every last mouthful of the lovely fresh goodness served. With the sun going down on the water in front of us we didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.
In the dark we staggered back to the hostel for dinner with the rest of the group. On the roof top of the hostel we had a few more drinks at the bar which was complete with video projector which displayed on the building next door. More fish and more drinks followed by some interesting but entertaining drinking games before we called it a night.