Friday, May 31, 2019
Kotor – Dubrovnik
An early morning as we showered, packed our last things and were at breakfast shortly after 7am. The bus came at 8 am. There was some issues loading everything in the separate, attached packing area but we got everything with us! Slobodan also came and led us one by one safely into the bus because it was a very busy road in rush hour. We all got safely in the bus and started our drive along the coast and on to Dubrovnik.
We drove through a town where we had to go around a trailer that had rolled backwards after coming separated from its truck. We just able to make it through before the road was closed. We stopped for a pee break but were denied because the toilets were unavailable for the time being. – So we continued on to the exit process of Montenegro. Our driver took all our passports and after a while we had permission to leave. Driving through “no mans land” we came to the Croatian entry point. There the custom officer came into the bus, looked at all our passports comparing them to our faces. He decided that we were okay to be let into the country and we were on our way to Dubrovnik. We found a place where we could have our needed pee break.
The weather was sunny and we had some beautiful views. Driving along the coast presented us with beautiful vistas of the Adriatic Sea. Closer to Dubrovnik we stopped at a lookout from which we could see the old city of Dubrovnik, the sea and more of the coastal area. Eke climbed halfway up the mountain and took some photos from there.
After that we stopped at a spot on the coast where there had been more than one hotel – beautiful in their glory years; now destroyed and damaged badly by the war. The tiny seaside village of Kupari was once home to a posh military resort which served as a vacation hot spot for the Yugoslav military elite and their families.
This beautiful seaside resort was built in the 1960’s and consisted of five separate hotels known as the Goričine, the Goričine II, the Pelegrin, the Grand Hotel and coincidentally enough, the Kupari.
Although Kupari really started to form a resort area in the 60’s, the area was home to one hotel dating back to the 1920’s.
That is, until 1991 when the Yugoslav Army blew the place to smithereens during the initial stages of the Croatian War of Independence, or what Croatians refer to as the Domovinski rat (Homeland War).
Fast forward to 2019 and the military resort of Kupari still remains. In pieces, that is.
Over the course of the last twenty-five years, the hotels have been completely torn to shreds and looted for everything of value from the ground up.
When we say everything has been looted, we mean everything. A saying on the wall made a lot of sense after seeing the destruction: “Bombing for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity”.
We arrived at our hostel (familiar to us because we had stayed there 2 years before) around 12:30 pm, went for lunch at an outdoor patio down the street, returned and then settled into our rooms.
Brian decided to stay in the room, relax and work on the trip journal while Eke went with the group to the Old City. We took the public bus. The bus was very crowded and only a few of the group could fit in the first one. The rest of us walked to the stop closer to the bus station and squeezed into the next one.
The Old City was crowded also. Dusan led the group for a walk on the city walls: up and down stone stairs from centuries ago. We climbed to the highest point in the wall from where we had some beautiful vistas over the Old City, the harbour and the sea. The weather was perfect: sunny, clear sky, and a nice breeze. As we were not in a hurry, it was a nice walk and a good exercise. It took us about 2 hours to complete the walk.
Eke, Royale, Mike and Tracy were ready to go back to route hotel – but not before we treated ourselves to a nice ice cream! The sky was getting quite dark and we knew that rain would not be far off. We found the bus with the right number; just before we got off at “our” stop the rain came and it came down hard! We stayed for a while in the bus shelter hoping that the rain would stop. A young mother with two children enjoying an ice cream told us that it would not stop for quite a while. She was right! We started a little conversation with her – one of those spontaneous happenings that are so enjoyable.
When we ran out of patience, we ran to our hostel and made it without getting too wet! Brian had a quiet afternoon and got quite a bit of work done on the photos for the journal. We went out for dinner together at a non-descriptive restaurant down the street and enjoyed a nice dinner. Afterwards we walked to the “Love Bar” where we met most of the group for a last farewell and a drink. The outdoor patio of the bar was on the second floor from which we had a great view of the setting sun over the harbour and part of the city.
We left rather early because we had to get up at 3 am, get showered, packed and be ready for our taxi to take us to the Dubrovnik airport the next morning for our flight to Zagreb and from there to Amsterdam.
The next portion of our trip is visiting Eke’s family in The Netherlands.
From copper pipes, to toilets, sinks, marble flooring, furniture, and more.
What was once a highly sought after summer holiday destination, Kupari, is now lifeless having lost its character and charm to war and thievery.