22.05.2007 - 23.05.2007 30 °C
I wondered why the handles on the seat were broken. I was about to find out, the driver fought with the wheel of a rather dilapidated 70's bus and turned off the perfectly good main road, and followed the river into the Mountains in the pouring rain.
This single lane road wound its way up into the lush green Bosnian mountains following an electric blue river a few hundred metres vertically below us. This road turned from a single car width of tarmac into what would be best described as a farm track. The only thing stopping us from plummeting over the edge was the occasional rusted length of guard rail and the ability of the driver to smoke cigarettes, chat with his mates and tune the radio while occasionally concentrating on the job at hand. Every so often we would pass a sign with a picture of falling rocks. These had been used for target practice with a good few bullet holes in them. By the looks of the football size rocks lying on the road, they had not just been put up by some roading contractor to prevent them from having compensation being bought against them. As we passed over a narrow wooden bridge I held my breath as the driver concentrated long enough to avoid the rather large hole that had rotted through the bridge which dropped away to nothing below.
Once I got used to the fact that my life was no longer in my hands I just sat there and marvelled at the spectacular views, lush forest, powerful rivers and snow capped mountains only to be interrupted by the occasional stopping and letting down passengers in what could only be the dictionary definition of the middle of nowhere.
After a quick passport check at an out of the way boarder post we crossed in to Montenegro and slowly worked our way down to the stifling hot planes of Podegrocia. The capital city was in stark contrast to the bus trip, dirty, polluted and bustling with 20 year old mercs.
Kotor is nestled inside the shear cliff of a fjord, two hours from the capital. Its a beautifully kept old town and is over looked by an impressive fort sitting 260m above, precariously perched on the mountain side. I was a little put off when I arrived at the bus station not to be met by my usual bickering crowd of ladies waving room brochures. However after wandering through town doing my best “lost back packer routine” I was adopted by a lovely elderly couple who once again showed fantastic hospitality and sent me off in the direction of the fort on the hill.
So with a blazing hot Balkan sun I started making my way up the 1300 odd steps that follow the town walls to the fort itself. Of course trying to preserve my limited tee shirt supply and put off the inevitable washing for another couple of days I took my shirt off. After a good 30min climb I reached the fort gates and could hear voices coming from within, not wanting to offend I though it best to put my top back on and walked up the final stairs only to be met front on by a topless girl soaking up the sun with her boyfriend...... some days you just can't win aye.
After snapping a few photos of the view.... (no…. the panoramic view Levi!) I climbed down the opposite side of the wall as I was told that this side was a bit of an adventure, by the bloke on the gate. It must have been “take the piss out of the Kiwi” day again, as adventure was a slight over statement, more like a mission, as I fought my way down the steep bluffs through waist deep grasses, blackberry and stinging nettles to return to Kotor for a very well earned beer.