Balkans 2014 travel blog

Sitting in the bus during a "Bus Wash"

Mountain ranges near the border of Croatia

Stari Grad (the Old City)

My room at the 5-star Resort

When I got up this morning my arm and shoulder were no better and possibly worse. I dreaded getting my luggage to the bus station.

One of the greatest things about living inside one of these walled cities is that the entire city is a pedestrian-only zone. No cars! The flip side of that is no taxis! I was on my own to get my luggage to the main gate of the city.

I balanced my backpack on one of the tables and slipped into it. Much better than trying to swing it up to my shoulders. Once on, the backpack didn't feel as bad as I had been afraid that it might.

I left my room keys in my room (reception won't open for another two hours) and walked to the Sea Gate (main entrance to the town). There are always taxis waiting at the main gate for passengers. Well, not this early in the morning! None. I was afraid I might need to walk the 3 kilometers to the bus station.

Fortunately, I was soon able to waive down a passing taxi and he drove me to the bus station. Cost 2 Euro (about $3).

It was still early. So, I stopped at the cafe at the bus station and ordered a hot chocolate. (I hate coffee.) She started with something from an aluminum foil envelope and added milk. I don''t know how she did it but somehow she mixed and heated the drink in a few seconds for a perfect, smooth cup of hot chocolate. Well, to be honest, it was more like a hot, melted milk-chocolate candy bar. But, it was good!

It occurred to me as we left Kotor, I really never got to visit Montenegro. I've only stayed in two cities. Both were ancient walled cities that are popular with tourists. That means that nearly everyone in town spoke English and most of the signs and menus had English translations. I really don't have any idea what the rest of Montenegro is like. I will clearly have to come back some day!

The bus ride to Croatia was quite pretty. Again, we passed through several mountain ranges. Border security was very simple.

Once we got to Dubrovnik, I was faced with my usual problem of finding a hotel. With my body this beat up from the accident yesterday, I decided to throw out my “on the cheap” travel and treat myself to some pampering for a few days.

I hailed a taxi and told him to bring me to Excelsior Hotel, which is a 5-star resort not far from Stari Grad (the Old City).

Once checked-in, I booked myself a one-hour “sports” massage at the Spa and proceeded to relax! No more $9/night cheapo places for me for a few days. I'm going to relax at the resort. And, I did! After a wonderful massage, I busied myself with such difficult tasks as soaking in the Jacuzzi, leisurely laps in the indoor heated pool, and lounging on the beach chairs. Ah! I could learn to like this!

I only left the resort once all day. That was to go to Stari Grad (the Old City) for supper. I found a small corner restaurant with a “prix fixe” (French for “fixed price”) menu. I started with a glass of white wine. My “cold appetizer” was bread and a nice mixed salad. My “hot appetizer” was spaghetti with meat sauce, my main course was a large piece of broiled chicken with lots of mushrooms, and rice. For dessert, I had apple strudel. The tab came to 254 kuna ($42). This would have been way over my budget but I wasn't on a budget today! And, a feast like that would have cost much more back home. I'm relaxing today from too much adventure and not enough vacation.

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