From Cetinje to Ulcinj

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Ulcinj, Ulcinj Municipality, Montenegro
Time to move on again! 
Today’s drive took us through the very poor township of Rijeka Crnojevica to see an old bridge that was highlighted in Gitti’s travel guide. Driving through the one-street town, we saw a lot of derelict buildings leading us to wonder about the town’s history. Clearly, the inhabitants remaining are struggling to make ends meet. The banks of the river were lined with small boats offering cruises of Skada Lake. Sadly for the boat operators, we just wanted to take photos of the bridge and then continue on our journey to Ulcinj down on the coast.
The narrow road passed some spectacular views of Skada Lake, but it was a challenging drive for Hermann. When faced with an oncoming car, either or both cars needed to find a wider section of the road to pull into whilst the other edged its way carefully past. At one point, I commented that you wouldn’t want to drive a camper van along this road. Then Hermann pointed out that the bitumen in the section of road we were now driving along was built up so high, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to pull off to the side if one had to pass an oncoming car. On one side, was a fairly steep drop and on the other, the side of the mountain. A few minutes later, guess what was coming towards us?! A camper van on the narrow section of road, with no pull out areas in sight! I wish I had thought to take a photo, but like everyone else, I was a bit shocked and concerned as to how we were going to get out of this predicament, and so recording the event didn’t occur to me until after the fact!
Hermann pulled over to the right as far as he possibly could (fortunately, we were on the mountain side of the road!). Then the camper van slowly edged its way forward, at one stage making contact with our car — I’m not sure if there are any marks on the car, as I haven’t yet checked it, but Hermann is fairly confident that there was no damage. Somehow, the van managed to squeeze past without falling down the side of the mountain. Hermann had to break off a large stick growing amongst the prickly bushes next to the car to avoid scratching the car before we manoeuvred back on to the road. (Our tyres were as far over as they could go without slipping off the bitumen ledge. ) Phew! Gitti commented that her guide book stipulated that camper vans should not attempt driving on this narrow road. They really should indicate this with signs at each end! I took a few photos after this encounter to try and show the narrowness of the road, but none of them capture the difficulty we encountered on this particular stretch. Thankfully, all turned out well!
The long, winding road extended for more than 30 kilometres, and so we were much relieved when it fed into the main highway that took us through to the coast, passing through quite a long tunnel for which we had to pay a €2.50 toll. The traffic crawled slowly through the coastal towns where holiday makers were flocking to the beaches. We’re not sure whether it was typical of traffic conditions every day in summer, or whether it was particularly busy being a Saturday.
Finally, we arrived in the large town of Ulcinj and found our way to our hotel overlooking the town. The small rooftop park is accessed directly from the street, and then you have to walk down several flights of stairs to the reception area. Fortunately, the manager carried my heavy bag, as there is no lift! Our rooms were located down even more flights of stairs. They are small, but adequate, and each has a small balcony separated by a low wall. Here we sat for a small lunch before setting out to explore our new location.
Our exploration first took us up to the old town. I was disappointed to find that it primarily consisted of expensive hotels and restaurants. Just outside the bottom of the old town, we paid a deposit on a boat tour for Monday. We meandered back to the hotel, stopping to buy a 6-litre bottle of water which I lugged back up the hill. This is the first place where we’ve been advised not to drink the water.
After a refreshing dip in the hotel plunge pools, we went out for dinner, each couple choosing to go to a different restaurant — Gitti & Hermann wanted to eat more fish whilst Michael and I opted for the less expensive chevapi and fried chicken. After our meal, we wandered through the streets of town. The place was buzzing with activity — shops selling souvenirs, ice creams, pancakes, jewellery and toys; and street vendors selling balloons, toys, etc. Bars and restaurants were pumping out music, giving the whole area a vibrant holiday vibe.
Photos taken, it was time to hike up the road (the long way) back to our hotel. Just before turning in, we heard the Muslim call to prayer booming out from the nearby mosque. We drifted off to sleep with the muffled sound of thumping music coming from one of the nearby night clubs.
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Comments

Jill
2019-08-11

I hope you did lots of laps in that pool Merrilly!

Tracy
2019-08-12

Think Hermann must have nerves of steel to drive on those roads. Ulcinj looks delightful and a lovely spot to recharge and calm the nerves after the getting there

melandmic
2019-08-12

Sadly, both pools are just small plunge pools, Jill. My swimming muscles are wasting away! Tracy: Hermann is certainly does have nerves of steel! He remains very calm, at least on the outside, no matter what the circumstances.

Ian
2019-08-30

What a hazardous road in places! The mountains and lakes are certainly magnificent and your accommodation setting very appealing. Ulcinj seems to be a most inviting holiday resort. The report and photos covering the events of the day have given me some appreciation of this part of the world. Wonderful!

2022-10-03