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Clare
Clare

Day 7: Herceg Novi

We didn't have any firm plans for our final day in Montenegro, so breakfast involved a bit of discussion about where we should go. Dad was interested in seeing the Roman mosaics at a place called Risan, but the guidebook didn't make it sound like there would be much else to do there. We contemplated the idea of going to Budva, but it felt like it might be a bit of a comedown after visiting Perast the day before. In the end we settled on Herceg Novi, a town on the northern Montenegrin coast that we had passed through on the way from Dubrovnik on Monday.

As the decision was quite last minute, we hadn't planned the practicalities very well, so we arrived at the bus station just after a bus to Herceg Novi had departed at 10.28. That meant we had a rather long wait until the next bus departed at 11.18. The tickets to Herceg Novi were good value though, costing just €4 each, and it didn't look like there were too many people waiting for the same bus...

That turned out to be a false impression, of course, because as soon as the bus in question pulled into the bus station, a horde of people seemed to appear from nowhere to elbow their way onto it. Despite having been waiting for so long, we were some of the last people to manage to get on, but luckily did manage to get some seats towards the back of the bus. It was a little disappointing that it wasn't a particularly clean bus though, so we were hardly able to see out of the windows as we wound our way around the Bay of Kotor and towards Herceg Novi.

I thought the journey was supposed to be about 45 minutes, but with a slight delay at the start and a few traffic jams leaving Kotor, it was over an hour before we finally arrived at our destination.

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Herceg Novi is a town built on the side of a hill, with the bus station being at the top, the old town in the middle, and the sea at the bottom. Our first challenge was to follow a series of winding and sloping roads, interspersed with staircases, in what I hoped was the direction of the town. Eventually we found a square which looked promising.

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We climbed up the steps and walked under the tower.

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Although the clock looks quite new, the clocktower itself is presumably quite old.

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There is an inscription one side of the tower in Arabic script, dating from the time when the town was ruled by the Ottomans.

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Just after we walked through the clock tower, we were waylaid by a man who wanted to show us his bookshop, which at 3.8 square metres is apparently the smallest one in the world. It can sometimes get a bit tiring in Montenegro with people trying to waylay you and sell you things, but in this instance it was actually quite a welcome intrusion. Herceg Novi is a town where the Cyrillic script is quite prominent, and as soon as I went into the bookshop I saw that they had a number of books in Cyrillic. I asked the man to recommend me something, perhaps for children, and came away with two books of Serbian fairytales which are going to be great Cyrillic reading practice. I also got a book about the history of Herceg Novi in Serbian, which looks like it's going to be an interesting read. As far as I was concerned, this already meant that the hour bus journey to Herceg Novi had been worthwhile :)

We continued our walk downwards towards to the sea, passing the town's large Serbian Orthodox church.

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It looks really pretty, surrounded by palm trees, and it was really beautiful when we went inside it for a quite look as well.

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From the church square, more steps led downwards...

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...and we soon had a beautiful view of the sea.

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We climbed down even further, past one of the town's large fortresses...

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...and finally we arrived at the bottom, next to the large statue of the Bosnian king Tvrtko, who founded the town in 1382.

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One of the nice things about Herceg Novi is that there is a long promenade along by the sea, which makes strolling along quite relaxing.

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We walked along it for a while, and were amazed by all the different cacti growing along the edge.

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Some looked like they were about to flower...

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...and in the end we found one that was already in bloom :)

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We walked for 20 minutes or so, enjoying the beautiful views out across the water.

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It was 2pm by this stage though, so we decided we'd better turn around and go back to the town to find something to eat.

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We found a lovely little restaurant with an outside garden area, completely shaded by three large trees. They had a huge grill where they were cooking meat, and grilled meat did indeed seem to be one of the staple items on the menu. Mom and Dad went for stuffed chicken and I went for a punjena pljeskavica, which you could translate as a stuffed hamburger, but I don't think that would do it justice :D All our meals were enormous, and very meaty. While I was eating I even had a view of the fortress through the trees.

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All too soon it was time to start to climb back up the steps towards the bus station.

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With views like this, the uphill was almost enjoyable though :)

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We must have taken a slightly different staircase on the way back up, because we soon came across some sights which we hadn't seen before. The first was this very small church...

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...and the second was this display of enormous old anchors.

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From there we continued to walk upwards, through some of the narrow streets of the old town...

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...and soon we could look back down towards the churches that we'd seen.

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We also found this funny little statue of a man, although I wasn't able to work out from the Cyrillic inscription who he was or what the statue was supposed to represent.

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Our bus back to Kotor was due at 16.25. We were at the bus station with plenty of time to spare. When I went to the cash desk to try to buy tickets fro the bus, however, they told me that I needed to buy them on the bus itself, and pointed out to me something which only looked slightly larger than a minibus. This made us a bit anxious to make sure we got on it and we got a seat, as there wasn't another bus to Kotor until after 6pm, so we had a rather long wait hovering outside the bus.

Once we got on, the bus was actually quite good though; there was plenty of leg-room and the windows were a lot cleaner than this morning's bus, so we were able to enjoy views of Perast from multiple directions as we wound our way back around the bay. The only slight inconveniences were that the air-conditioning was leaking quite badly (although luckily not onto us!) and at one point we took a corner so violently that one of the curtains was detached from its hooks and landed on Dad's head.

Apart from that, the journey was uneventful and we were back in Kotor in around an hour. We spent some time sitting on our balcony, enjoying the wonderful views of the bay as the sun set.

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Tomorrow morning we are heading back to Dubrovnik, prior to having to go home on Saturday, so we took the opportunity to go for a final walk around the old town of Kotor in the dark. The town itself looked really pretty at this time of day...

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...but we were slightly concerned by this scary looking man, who has suddenly appeared on one of the town walls. I am glad I took a picture of the reflections here yesterday, to prove that I'm not going mad and this thing definitely wasn't here 24 hours ago!

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