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davidx Cetinje - A travel report by David
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Cetinje,  Montenegro - flag Montenegro
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davidx's travel reports

Cetinje and other Montenegrin delights

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This was in 1976. Given a choice here of writing about Cetinje in Crna Gora and Cetinje in Montenegro [the same place] I chose Crna Gora on my normal principle of calling a place what the inhabitants do – but Montenegrin is the only adjective I know.

The truth is that I don’t really have enough information on Crna Gora to do the sort of report I should like to do. However I notice that there is no report on the site about anywhere in Crna Gora at the time of writing. This seems a shame as it’s a strikingly beautiful country so I thought I would just do the little that I can to draw it to your attention. Kotor – and Crna Gora generally – seemed as peaceful as the rest of Yugoslavia did in 1976. We went there from Dubrovnik and I still find it takes some believing that between then and now Montenegrin forces were involved in the shelling of that Croatian city. We weren’t at Kotor [where we camped] long enough [see accommodation] to see most of the specific sights, not even the castle which overhangs the town and positively screams to be visited. The day we were going to really look at Kotor, we found ourselves at Mostar, something that would involve two national frontiers today! [The state is called Serbia and Montenegro on some sites and Yugoslavia on others, including this.]

Favourite spots:
A bay near Kotor
A bay near Kotor
Today Podgorica is the capital of Crna Gora. I’ve not been there and even had to look it up – shame! However during the 5000 years before Crna Gora acquired full statehood, when it was the only independent principality in the Balkans with the once mighty Ottoman empire all around it, the capital was Cetinje. It remained capital after that and, indeed, enjoted its most important period then. We did visit Cetinje from Mostar. This involved a terrific hill climb through the karst landscape up a road known as The Serpentine with 43 hairpin bends. The views over the coast far below are stupendous, even from the height above which it was partly obscured by haze. Actually, if you are nervous, you might be better off driving to Budva first and then to Cetinje from there , although it would be a shame to miss the Serpentine. Either way, Cetinje has the fine old palatial buildings you would expect from a capital city, albeit of a small country.

What's really great:
Both Sveti Stefn and Budva are places that, sadly, we only saw from above. Given that my middle son is Stephen, you can easily guess what we called the first! From above they look quite idyllic and a recent article in our national press calls Sveti Stefn the ‘new Dubrovnik’. I hate that kind of thing. The new Dubrovnik is Dubrovnik – but you get the point. Both were initially islands but in the case of Budva, regarded as one of the oldest settlements in the country, the sandbar made it first a semi-island and then a peninsula. Svet Stefn is a proper island with a bridge. Both have masses of old defensive military architecture.

Some websites: [http://www. in each case] [be sure to scroll well down and go to Cetinje, the old capital for some excellent photos]

From the Serpentine
From the Serpentine
Now for why we left Kotor without seeing it properly. The camp site was pretty basic; squatty toilets etc. Otherwise it seemed great, slap on hte edhe of a sea, which everyone knows to have no tides. Therefore you’re safe pitching camp near the water.
I won’t try to argue the point geographically, how much of the water was pouring off the karst above and how much the sea level rose. I’ll only say that you could see our tents getting into jeopardy.
Two Germans camped beside us helped our efforts to save ourselves from a soaking by digging ditches around the tents – but to no avail. We could watch the water rise to a level where it entered the tents and soaked our bedding. Clearly we had to leave. The thought of just sitting there all night in the car didn’t grab us at all so I found a policeman to inform, required for night driving at the time there, although he seemed to have no idea what to do with the information.
[Completed below]

Other recommendations:
[Accommodation continued]
The rise in the water level resulted from an electric storm – which had finished before the water entered the tent. Well before we had completed packing our soaking things into the car and trailer, the water had reverted to its normal level, but too late. We eventually slept – at least some of us may have – above Mostar somewhere. The lightning was phenomenal and Pam said afterwards that she had expected an earthquake. It was only three years later that Kotor itself suffered a terrible earthquake.

Two last memories – a market salesman displaying his command of English by translating the prices, the only thing I had learnt in Serbo-Croat. A worker in the supermarket explaining that, by and large, the adults had not learnt English and
Couldn’t help the children, who were to shy to try out what they learnt at school.
I wonder what it’s like now that those children have raised their own families.

Published on Wednesday October 26th, 2005

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Tue, Feb 12 2008 - 09:50 AM rating by krisek

David, this is a great report. I have been going to Montenegro several time, and yet still I have not left. Now, I am motivated! Thanks.

Wed, Oct 26 2005 - 09:41 AM rating by toribio


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