Tuesday, September 25, 2012

holidays 2012 - day 05: montenegro/monteregno

uncanny timing: we wake up just before 5 am to go to the bathroom - there is a little thunder in the distance, so we take the washing off the line. as soon as we're back in the tent, the first drops of rain fall. and that's how it starts. five hours later, massive thunderstorms are still raging. and it's lightning and thunder, lightning and thunder, in incredibly quick succession, and practically without a break. and the rain? well, let's just say that all the rain that didn't fall between may and mid-september is pouring down now. it's as if the rain gods are on duracell batteries. seriously impressive, and seriously wet. after 10 am it does occasionally get a little brighter, the rain nearly ceases. but that's just the sky drawing a deep breath, before it's full steam ahead once again. camping at its best, not.

shelter from the rain

we doze / sleep away most of the morning, but it gets a little uncomfortable, as the walls are getting slightly damp, and of course we need to leave our little shelter from time to time. outside it's messy. only the plants appear to be thoroughly happy. thank goodness we bought delicious pastry for breakfast in kotor the night before, so eating is not quite as impossible a task as it might have been. when i go to brush my teeth, i can actually see the top of one mountain, and it stops raining for about a minute! however, while i'm on the toilet - wham! big, big drops start falling, and i'm half wet by the time i reach the tent about 15 m away. time to rename the country "monteREGNO" (german: regen = rain).

around 12.45 we decide to venture out into the world for some hot drinks and to prevent cabin fever. we drive to nearby risan, where the rain actually stops for a little while, and we can take some pictures of the grim-looking bay and some palm trees lining the freshly washed road.

waterfront palms, risan

we find a little restaurant and grab a table next to four british folks. i get a delicious hot chocolate, and we both have some cheap and very tasty omelet. the lights go out, when the thunderstorms come back, so we have a very romantic impromptu candlelight lunch! :) we play a couple of games of "settlers of catan" (the dice game), welcome some indian brits, and chat with the other guests.

warmed up and bellies full, we are ready to do some sightseeing. just around the corner there are remains of a roman home with some stunning mosaics. the friendly guide tells us how the villa was found by chance, and how it is suspected that a lot more were destroyed when a road was built years ago, and people just didn't care much. also, it is assumed that many locals found artefacts and ruins on their land when building houses, but they didn't report any findings, because it would have caused such a hassle, and they just wanted to get on with their lives. until relatively recently the mosaics at risan were not even sheltered from the elements, and many people came and took valuable objects away - almost all amphorae and pots are gone, and some of the mosaics are badly damaged. there's one particularly beautiful mosaic of hypnos (somnus), in what is supposed to have been the master bedroom.

sweet dreams: hypnos decorating the bedroom floor

the dining room mosaics feature pretty patterns including suns and octopuses, geometrical shapes. our timing is just perfect, too, because we are almost done when a big group arrives.

the rain seems to take a longer break, so we move on to perast, one of the next villages down the road, a lovely, romantic-looking little spot, chock-full of venetian palazzos and churches. the wind's rather strong, but it's actually not cold, so we enjoy walking around, taking in old buildings in various stages of decay, the lovely building housing the museum, the cosy-looking waterfront restaurants.

venetian echoes, perast

we pass boats that are filled with rain water, watch the clouds rushing across the sky, the fog lifting, then hiding the mountains once more behind thick grey veils.

still, we venture on to budva - it doesn't look so bad, but when we leave the tunnel past kotor: almost coal black clouds await us, and the rain is back. we park near the old town of budva, and believe it or not, the sun actually comes out for some glorious moments. nevertheless, waves crash against strong walls, everything in the beach bars is bundled up and safely tucked away.

heinz at budva beach

we take a walk, glad it's dry and brighter. but when heinz decides to go visit the citadel, and i stay outside to take some pictures of the surroundings, well ... lightning, thunder, rain. hooray! heinz enjoys the citadel and its fabulous library that boasts many valuable books and old maps. i don't enjoy waiting for him quite as much ...

brooding budva, from the citadel

we decide to drive back towards morinj - it's slow, what with flooded roads, and more water coming down from above. all my prayers to rain gods and goddesses clearly were in vain. at least the car is clean! ;)

we have dinner at the same place where we had lunch in risan, but this time there is no need for candlelight. we get a drink on the house though, which is nice. and i so totally get a kick out of the adventurous spelling of international drinks on the menu!

džek, džoni & their friends

back in morinj, it's a miracle that our tent is not completely flooded, though parts of the bedclothes are really wet. still, it's a relatively dry place, and there isn't another option now anyway.

photos of day 05

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