Oh dismay! I copied all my photos of our last day in Berlin and our time in Dubrovnik ro my laptop and somewhere in the translation they were lost for all time. My fault, I should have copied rather than Cut and Paste, never mind.
We spent our last day in Berlin on the Hop On Hop Off bus tour and were very impressed by it, many familiar landmarks such as Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the Reichstag and many not so familiar to me such as the fine Concert Hall. All in all Berlin is a wonderful city. A little story we learned about the area in which our hotel stood, Rosenstrasse, was that in 1943 the ladies of the area marched in protest about the deportation of the Jews and Goebbels himself signed off the order for the deportation to stop. Ok all of these women had Jewish husbands, and hence children, and so had a vested interest in saving them, but at least some Germans were doing something. Meanwhile the protest that we had witnessed in it's infancy the day before made the main news slot that evening.
Later in the day we left Berlin for Dubrovnik aboard a Germanwings flight. This is the Budget subsidiary o Lufthansa.. the one that the deranged pilot flew into a mountainside a year or so back. Great flight, plenty of legroom drinks and an ok little food goody bag. It's only an hour and a half down to Dubrovnik but by the time we had arrived at our Guest House it was around 9:00 pm and Murray and Jill had taken to their beds after an exhausting day in the Old Town. Murray though must have heard our arrival and was soon knocking on the door in his PJs. Lee and I had been to Dubrovnik before a couple of years ago, but it remains a favourite so was no hardship to revisit. Two nights in Dubrovnik and we had booked a car in which to complete our Balkans tour. Murray and I were dispatched to collect same, an Opel SUV, but alas, on arrival back at Guest House our suspicions were confirmed, it was too small. We could not fit our baggage in it and so with a large case separating our loved ones in the back seat we returned to Fleet Rentals in the hope that they had something a little larger. We are now touring the Balkans in a Peugeot 10 seat Mini Bus. Plenty of room now.
First stop down the coast was a small town called Cavtat where we stopped for coffee and a stretch of the legs.
We traveled from here to Cetinje, the old administrative capital, where there are still many embassies and government departments. We overnighted in Cetinje, but it has little to offer to make one wish to linger too long, except fine apartments which set one back the princely sum of $50 NZ per night. Eating is also delightfully cheap here, breakfast for three about $10 NZ. It was after breakfast that our adventures took a new turn. Our GPS, which we have christened Maria, had us along the most diabolical roads on our way to the capital, Podgorica, and after an hour or so of this the more astute amongst us, the ladies of course, happened to notice some flowers adorning a fence that seemed familiar. We had traveled in a big circle. A passing traveler noticed somehow that we looked lost and offered directions which we gratefully accepted and once more set off on our way. We decided to give a couple of places in the south a miss to make up the time and pressed on to Podgorica, another forgettable town except for a fine lunch in a local shopping Mall.
We are to finish up this evening in Zabljak, a ski resort high in the mountains, but on the way we waned to visit a cliff side Monastery at Ostrog which involved a bit of a detour but was well worth the effort as tomorrow was one of the three feasts which cause pilgrims by the thousand to make the walk up the 3000 ft mountain side to pray at the site of the reliquary containing the remains of the founder, The Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina. It is said that many are cured of dastardly illnesses as a result. This is all suposed to be done barefoot but most we saw had shoes on. The pilgrims all camp at, or near, the summit. There is a bit of rain tonight so the ones with just a blanket will not be happy campers I suspect.
Getting Up To The Monastery Was Worth The Effort
(Note the queue to get into the Monastery)
The drive up, or as far as one could go was very exciting as there were innumerable switchbacks and on a road not much wider than the car (it was two way) and all the walkers it took over half an hour for the 8 km ascent and about the same on the way down. So that was our day and it was a happy one, we are in a four star hotel suite tonight, fabulous meal $120 NZ per night.
Oh I must retell a story Jill was telling us of an incident when on the Hop on/off bus in Athens. They had finished one of the sections and wanted to transfer to the next bus to do the next section. Murray noticed the bus was on the other side of the road and urged Jill to run, which she did, and he follow. Jill looked back to see Murray running, hobbling clutching his groin still telling Jill to run and tell the driver to wait for him. They finally arrived and found the driver looking rather strangely at them, it was the same bus that they had just gotten off. Oh how we all laughed, well almost all.
That's all for today.
All the best