Mostar to Budva

Sunday, July 17, 2022 - 18:00

Today we woke up early so we could get to the Bosnia/Montenegro border before it got too busy. The two hour drive to the border was again on mountainous roads through some beautiful scenery (two words I think I'll be saying a lot more in these blog pages), though the highlight of this first stretch has to be getting pulled over. It was a straight stretch with no other cars in sight, and the speed limits in Bosnia are either completely unclear or ridiculously low where they are marked. A couple of policemen on the side of the road suddenly walked out and asked me to pull over, to which I of course obliged. One came over and asked for my licence and then got a pen and paper out. He was speaking in the local language, and wrote a number 40 (apparently the speed limit - no signs in sight) and then a number 72, which was the alleged speed I was driving at. In reality I think I was doing something like 90 so it immediately became clear he was making all this up. He then of course wrote a euro sign and a number 50. I explained I didn't have that many euros, and he said I'd have to go with him to the police station. I said no problem, knowing this would catch his game off guard. He then called over his friend who spoke perfect English, and he explained that we cannot go to the police station easily, but I must have some money on me. I then got my wallet out and they saw I had 20 Swiss Franks and £30. They said 'Franks and Pound is okay'. I said well I'm not giving you all this because it is more than €50 and I need it to buy insurance at the Montenegro border. They then countered with '20 Frank and 10 Pound is okay', so I gave them that and we were on our way. Hopefully they get a got a decent exchange rate later that day. Funnily enough, they weren't at all interested in the Bosnian Marks I had!

Once at the border at Vraćenovići we only had to wait about 15 minutes to get through. It all went very smoothly, with the Bosnian and Montenegrin border guard both in the same booth. They played a bit of good cop bad cop, with the Montenegrin looking at us very moodily and not speaking a word of English, while the Bosnian told us 'he is asking if you have any drugs or weapons'. I said we didn't, and the Bosnian then asked why I'm smiling. I said sorry, and he laughed with a wink and said 'not a usual question is it', gave us our passports back, and that was the end of it; we were allowed into Montenegro. On the other side, I went to the insurance office to buy a green card for the car, only to be told they are no longer required as of October 2021. Not sure how I feel about driving without insurance in Montenegro but if they don't want to sell us it, I guess I'm not paying for it.

We then drove down to the medieval town of Kotor, which took us on the breath-taking drive around the mountains circling the bay of Kotor, down to the shoreline, and finally to Kotor itself. Kotor is a World Heritage Sight and the best way I can describe it is like Dubrovnik but on a mountainside. This is with good reason, since it was built by the same Venetian Empire who built Dubrovnik, and back then this stretch of coastline all belonged to them. After a stop for lunch within the medieval walls, we drove up the Kotor Serpentine, which I suggest searching for on Google Maps to appreciate the intensity of this stretch of road. It comprises many hairpin turns up the mountainside, and is barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Not a drive for everyone, but I enjoyed the challenge, and the views from the top were well worth it. We could see the Bay of Kotor in its entirety, the Kotor Airport runway, and out to the Adriatic in the distance. There was also an electric storm coming in which added great dramatic effect!

Once safely down the Serpentine we took the short drive to Budva where we are staying the next two nights. Frustratingly absolutely no shops are open on a Sunday in Montenegro, so it was a struggle to just buy some bottled water. I had to walk 15 minutes to a petrol station and queue for another 15 minutes just to get inside because everyone else was having the same struggle. I think they need to relax their Sunday trading hours here.

Dog Notes: 

Until today we were quite worried about the crossing to Montenegro from a dog point of view. Montenegro is a high-risk rabies country which in theory means Summer needed to have had her Titer test more than 3 months prior to entry, and she only had her one 2 months ago. However, we had also read that the stringent requirements are mostly reserved for pets entering through the airports rather than land borders. In the end, there wasn't even a customs official, and they could have cared less that we had a dog with us in the car! So far so good with the Bosnia and Montenegro crossings.

Electric Vehicle EV Notes: 

Today we had a bit of a trade off between the ideal accommodation for the next two nights, and the EV charger. The best we could find were a 15 minute walk apart which wasn't ideal.
- Hrvatski Telekom 7KW charger at Budva Sports Centre. In a car park which costs €0.50 per hour during the day and €0.70 at night, so whilst the electricity is free, we are still paying something to charge.

Miles Driven: 
Chill & Go Aparthotel


You did well dealing with the crocked cops and their cash fines

Great fun Jamesy. Family Korsner cruised from Dubrovnik to Kotor on the P&O Chusan in 1956 I think. It was lovely then so welcome to the Kotor Club.

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