Zlatibor, Serbia to Macedonia to Gruda, Croatia
May 20, 2011
|Friday, May 20, 2011
Zlatibor, Serbia to Montenegro to Gruda, Croatia.
This morning, we awoke from a great night’s sleep on top of a mountain in Serbia. Our little cabin was isolated and very quiet last night. The couches made out into beds and we made them up for the night with clean sheets and fluffy thick quilts. The cabins were new and we were, if not the first, then one of the first to stay in them. They were very small and each had their own kitchen.
It is a good thing that we are geo-cachers or we would never have found our cabin. The instructions were sketchy phone conversations with lots of discussion on the other end trying to figure out how to tell us to get to this remote spot. What an adventure.
We finally got to the point where the landlord told us to park at a local gas station and he would meet us there and lead us to the cabin. We parked (at the wrong gas station we later learned) and waited. Pretty soon a white van pulled up and since the guys were still waving at everyone, the people in the van waved back . That was remarkable in itself. The waving back I mean. The van pulled up alongside and an older peasant lady got out and her son hopped out behind her. He came over to the car jabbering in English, “hello, hello” and seeing our license plate,” Paree, Paris” Then said, “where you from?” Wayne and Mike were explaining USA and Canada. And, I’m thinking, “what’s with this. On the frantic phone calls, we are down to hello this is Mike and Lois and now he is saying where are you from?” Wayne waved him back to his van and said, “ok, ok, we follow you.” However, just then the boy asked for Chocolate and that was the clincher. We realized that we weren’t following this guy anywhere. This was not our guy from the ”Natural Wood Cabin” for sure.
After another longer phone call and discussion, and realizing we weren’t at the right gas station and that it was five miles up the road, we left “Chocolate Boy” empty handed and finally found our real leader. We never really caught his name, but in following him up the mountain we started to see signs for the “Natural Wood Cabin” so we knew we were on the right road following the right person.
On our way up, we saw a couple walking down the road. She had a huge handful of wild narcissus that she had been picking. So pretty. They were everywhere in our cabin area.
We didn’t get a really early start this morning as we took time, since we had good internet, to find an apartment in Dubrovnik for tonight. We had to find one with a washer as we are to the spot where we have only one clean shirt left. We were lucky to find an apartment that was available. The owner was catching a flight to London just as we talked to him and rented the apartment. He talked his mom into coming over later tonight and letting us in…………guess moms are the same all over the world.
We had to stop for construction at the border between Serbia and Montenegro. They were building a tunnel or reinforcing it. Everything was pretty fresh with construction dust everywhere as we finally drove through with about 30 other cars and trucks. The trucks had all been honking their air horns for the last few minutes!! They build the tunnels horseshoe shaped here with bricks around the mouths.
It was a relatively easy border crossing if there had not been construction. We had to wait about twenty minutes. And, we got another stamp.
We just passed a little restaurant that had a whole pig on the spit over the BBQ fire. Later we saw some domed ovens which smoke was pouring out of and they must have been smoking something or baking something. We had no idea.
Our apartment for the night in Dubrovnik gave us GPS coordinates which we have said all along that we wished they would all do. It took us at least fifteen minutes to just figure out how to put in the coordinates as they are configured differently than in our hemisphere. We got it though and have our GPS’s marked for tonight so we can get busy caching again now. There are few caches in Montenegro so we have to find the ones we have scoped out for sure.
The guys are ecstatic as they have gotten a couple waves just now. Earlier in Serbia, we saw a shepherdess next to the road and she even posed for our pictures and waved and talked to us.
We are out of the snow line now. Last night we passed snow drifts on our way to the cabin.
Our neighbors last night were grandparents traveling with their grandson. They were Serbian but they work in Belgium and were in Serbia for a holiday. When I came out of the cabin this morning, he spoke French to me so that proves again our theory that because of our car license plate, we are tagged as French. When I told him that I was USA, he said that he didn’t speak English but then continued to carry on a pretty good conversation in English. All these people seem to speak three or four languages.
Everywhere in these mountains, there is logging going on and firewood stacked up. The firewood is in about 3 to 4 foot lengths so they must cut them down later to use.
We stopped at a photo op and almost immediately two men in a beat up car parked near us. They looked pretty tough so Wayne got back into the car and locked the windows and doors. They knew we were really watching them. We didn’t stay long. They were probably totally harmless, but it pays to be careful. Right after that we passed through a village where a man was painting a car white with a paintbrush. We decided it was a local chop shop. Just kidding!!
Well, it seems like the people of Montenegro like to wave back. Who knew?
All morning we have been driving along a rushing river on a windy, country road. It is paved two lane traffic and we can make pretty good time when there isn’t construction. The water was a beautiful dark green and there was a waterfall coming through the rocks alongside at one point.
When they have road construction here, they usually use portable traffic lights so they don’t have flag people out working.
We stopped at a small store this morning in Serbia and bought a bunch of soft drinks and munchies since we will be driving late. We got half a dozen apples, a couple bananas, some cookies, a Toblerone chocolate bar, two large bottles of water, and three cokes for less than $10 EU. Oh, yes, also two fresh pastries.
We were talking the other day while we had lunch and were discussing beef and good meat. We said that we get our meat from the Barlows. Then we discussed that Joy was from Canada also and that she was a trick rider and that they had gone to Canada to get much of the material for their new home etc. Lois said, “Her last name wouldn’t be Duce would it?” I jumped and said “yes” that was her maiden name and that in fact she had named her only son Duce. Well, it turns out that Lois’s Aunt Edna Fisher Duce married Ken Duce who was Joy’s dad’s brother. What a small world. I can’t wait to tell Joy that we know Mike and Lois. Edna and Ken Duce had three children, Sharon, Brenda and Teresa. Lois’ Aunt Edna was Lois’ mom’s sister.
On the road again, we are enjoying sunshine. Lois just read about a cache that was lousy with snakes and lots of people including the cache owner had warned about them. We stopped at a little restaurant grill and they weren’t serving lunch yet so on our way out we almost stepped on snake. It was small but had a pointed head and when we got close, it coiled up and got ready to strike. Then it crawled under the foundation of the porch. We were so glad we weren’t eating there. We went down the road and had one of the best lunches we’ve had so far. We found a great lunch spot. They had terraced decks with table settings on each level. The river was rushing by and was very blue-green and cold looking. The food was awesome. We took the waitresses suggestion which was stuffed pork chop much like cordon bleu. The bread was awesome also. Again, we ended up with more meat than we needed so we will have lunch tomorrow with it. A large French tour group arrived in miniature cars like smart cars but really junky looking. They sat at a table that someone had just left and were eating the leftover bread in the basket on the table. Interesting group.
We are now driving down a winding road along the Tara National Park Canyon. There must be thirty tunnels on this road. Whenever we can pull out, we do and get some pictures. This Canyon is so different from Grand Canyon. So green, lush and beautiful.
We are in Croatia now in a small town, Gurda, in a very nice villa with a swimming pool, but what seems to mean more at the moment is that it has a washer. We already have a load done, one almost done, some done by hand and all hung up. I’m writing this while waiting for the next load to finish up. There is a beautiful Romanesque veranda here with all the amenities and we have clothes hung everywhere!!
The drive here almost left us speechless, but not quite. Truly so beautiful. We took lots of pictures so hope to get some posted when we can charge things up. We left one adapter in Greece so we are short and always have a lot of batteries and computers to charge at night. We do have an adapter in the car so that helps as we can charge batteries or computers all day also. I am hoping we run across an adapter somewhere but most likely not.
We drove from the hills of Serbia and Montenegro to the seaside in Montenegro. The Ferry brought us across in a very short ride and we finally got to our villa before too late. There was a friend of the owner there to greet us and get us online and give us keys and collect money etc. They make their own wine so he gave us a bottle of that also. Very kind. Hated to tell him that we don’t drink. Mike and Lois do so maybe they will take it. There is a beautiful pool and I thought I would take a swim, but by the time we get everything ready to go in the morning, I am sure I’ll be ready for bed instead. We have a long drive again tomorrow. We were able to find a place in Venice for Monday and we will stay two days in Dubrovnik. I can’t imagine that it will be as beautiful as it was today driving along the Tara National Park Canyon, but we never know what we will see.
Signing off for now.