Friday, September 23, 2016


Is it sad when you realize the high point of your day at work is when you can evenly coat a new tile with blood? 

(I'm not revealing whose blood this is...):)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Relaxing Day In Sveti Stefan

Right down the road from where were staying theres a village and an island called Sveti Stefan.  Technically, in English it's Saint Stefan but we like to call it Sweart Stephen!:)

So our last day we wanted to relax and have another beach experience.  I'd heard all of these bad things abort Sveti Stefan but I still wanted to go.  And being that it was close to home we decided to check it out.

What an amazing experience!  Seriously almost the best day!

We got there about 11 and quickly and easily found FREE parking.  And then walked down stairs to a public beach - instantly being blown away by the view we saw as soon as we came to the beach!

Sveti Stefan is actually a privately owned island ... It's owned by the Amman group and so its all hotel properties going ar around 800 euro a night!  The only way to get on the island is to stay there and they've got guards posted on the bridge going over to make sure you don't go!!

But - it doesn't stop people from sunning on the beautiful beach looking at the island!

We ended up paying about 25 euro for two really comfy beach recliners and an umbrella - it was so worth it!

And the rest of the day we spent sunning and then going in the, honestly frigid, but totally refreshing water!  God seriously has given us such amazing weather!  And today was one of the best!

The water here is crystal clear!  You can swim all the way out to the ropes and it way deep but you can clearly see to the bottom!  So crazy!

And as you swim you have this amazing view of this ancient island...

Needless to say by about 5 pm we had browned up nicely and decided to change and then take a stroll and look for a restaurant.

 There's a path alone the sea that runs all the way from Budva a few miles down to Sveti Stefan.  So we leisurely strolled he path being swept away by the amazing views!

Look at how incredible the water is!  Pictures don't do it justice!!

Ok this is crazy... The Adriatic Sea is salt water - and here's a swan by the water!  

We walked back and found a restaurant ... It was called Olive Restaurant.  We stopped here and there was a wedding going on and the food looked good - so we stayed!

We ordered some shellfish stew... And then she came back and said they were out of the stew and they were so sorry - could they fix us soemthing with shellfish in it and kind of make up for it.  She explained something in a broken accent and we agreed to it...

Then we watched the sun set some more.

And then they brought our salad...
Mine was an amazing Greek salad!

More sun setting.

And the we jumped in shock when she finally presented our main course!


Massive! But delicious!

And finally we went to leave and
More sun set!!!

Amazing sun set!

And then we started walking back to the car... 
And the opposite way there is the moon!

Beautiful day!  Beautiful sun!  Beautiful sky!  Beautiful evening!

Bye Ioana:(. Hello Dubrovnik!:)

Sunday came and we were sad to realize that it was already time for Ioana to leave us to get to a conference back in Romania.  We begged and pleaded and tried to find a way to get her to stay - but to no avail. 

With her bags packed, we loaded into the car about 8:30 in the a.m. in order to get her to Dubrovnik for her 3 p.m. flight.

So here's the thing if you drive from Budva to Dubrovnik.  First of all, check the map before you go - even if you have a GPS, just check things out to be sure.

And second, if the GPS tells you to go across the water on your route, and there's a ferry there - do yourself a favor and don't think that you can find some magical path that the GPS didn't think of.  Just don't fight it, get in line for the ferry and get on it.

As it turns out, we are your life lesson! 
We passed the ferry and said - it's just taking us to he other side and we can see a road going around the mountain there - which we proceeded to take through small winding roads in villages that butted right up to the water.  Turning and twisting and shifting up and down and pulling over when another car came towards us.  And then after about 30 or so minutes we got to a village by Kotor and we know - we were going a very very long way out of the way and he next urn would bring us back to the road that would bring us back to the road that would bring us back to the ferry... And so we gave up and we took that road and headed back to the ferry.

And we got to the ferry - and we got in line and got on the ferry for the quick 20 minute ride across the water to the other side...

And we were happy ...

And we smiled...
And we peacefully watched the town we had passed through twice, pass behind us!  And we were never so happy!

So because we are coming from Montenegro into Croatia, we got to two borders we had to cross - which took us forever!  We had to go through Montenegro...
And then Croatia which just looked like another of he above border controls.  Even though Croatia and Montengro are part of the EU, neither country is a Schengen country which means that their borders are not open.  There are 26 Schengen countries where you can freely go through what used to be old border controls.  Hungary, Austria, Poland - those are some of the open border counties within the EU.  So once I change planes through Frankfurt or Munich, I'm free to roam 26 countries without having my border checked again!

So anyways - two long lines at two borders and then about 30 more minutes and we were dropping Ioana at the Dubrovnik airport.

And I said goodbye to Seans blue suitcase that had carried photos, memorabilia and many other things back and forth between home and Jacksonville.  One last pict of blue and one last pict of Ioana! (Well for now:)

And then Mel and I drove the remaining 40 plus minutes through the mountains to Dubrovnik!  One of my favorite cities!  I was so excited to introduce Melissa to it!

We walked through the old city and went to a restaurant on the water that I've eaten at before - a quick snack before we did some more wandering.

We did a little walking and then we headed to one of he entrances to walk up on the city walls.

Then we finally got around on the wall where we could begin to see where we started from!

And the back at the beginning you can look out over the red tiled rooftops of the buildings and at the sea...

And then we walked back down and walked a little more around some of the alleys of the city (again looks kind of like Venice) and did a little shopping and then grabbed a gelato and headed back to the car!  It had taken us like 3 hours to get here and we weren't sure what borders and ferries were going to look like so we headed out.

And stopped up at a pull out at the top of the mountain to take one more look out at what was now a city that Melissa loves too!  Dubrovnik!

What I Came To Montenegro For! Kotor!

So to be honest - the whole reason I came to Montengro - Kotor!  Everyone is talking about Kotor and everyone starts talking about a place you better get there soon before it's completely overrun with tourists!

So we got up Friday morning, used up the Mexican leftovers with my version of Huevos Rancheros...
May I add... Yum!:)

Then we got dressed, piled in the car with our running shoes on, and took off on the 40 minute drive inside the mountains to the inlet from the sea where Kotor resides.

We found parking pretty easily, paid and then set off down the sidewalk following the signs that pointed to old town.  Going  inside the city walls, he familiarity is very real - like so many other local old towns it's so very Venice feeling...

And right when we walked in a local folk dancing group greeted us...

But we couldn't be distracted!  We had a mountain to climb!  Literally!  
We were aimed for the starting point at the back of the city where the steps start up to the fortress at the top of the mountain, 1350 steps up 1200 feet - and the reward - well from what I'd heard the reward was well worth it!

Ok we did get distracted looking for a washroom... We were warned to make sure to go before we started our ascent so Mel and I were pretty frantic in looking for one!  We wandered around and got distracted by a giant Pippi Longstocking looking doll hanging over one of the back walls so we went out to check it out.  

I also discovered something...
I love Conan O'Briend and one of the bits he does in Albania he does "the old razz ma tazz" and all of the locals loved it.
So we were telling Ioana about it and I started doing "the old razz ma tazz" and dog gone it if they didn't encourage me by laughing.  So I was doing it - and I've discovered that apparently when Americans do "the old razz ma tazz", non Americans laugh!  Now I'm not sure if this is from true entertainment, or perhaps pity?  But if you want to be the funny American - well, if it worked for Conan!

Anyways - we finally razz ma tazzed our way back to the center of the town where we paid a euro (Montenegro uses euros whereas the neighboring countries still have their own currency) to use the well maintained bathroom:)

And then we started back to the back and paid our 3 euros each and started up the steps!...
The long and zig zagging steps...

It was not the best time of day to start climbing - it was about 11ish by the time we started up and everything Id read said to start early.  So the sun was beating down and there were a lot of ill equipped tourist with their flip flops and pretty sandals on... Do NOT climb to the top in flip flops or pretty sandals!  I was even slipping in my well used running shoes.  But at least wear running shoes!

It took us about an hour to get to the top (I think it's like 3 miles or something).
And as you climb up you look down - and you're wowed!

And then you to the top - and the wow is more wow then when you were climbing up!

But enough with staring at the view!  It's time for some gal shots!  Me and the friends at the top of an exhausting trek!

Some stretching after all that exercise...:)

There's nothing like yoga with a friend at 1200 feet up!

The back side of the mountain - you can look out through "windows" and see what's the back of the fortress...

And then back down - the church at the top.

We got back down and walked through the town doing a tiny bit of sightseeing but headed towards the exit because we had another dot on our map that we wanted to hit before it got dark!  But one last look at the mountain we trekked up!

And one last look at the city walls!

And then in the car and on the road through the mountains for a quick 20 minute trip to a little city called Perast!

Perast is an awesome small town with only like 400 citizens.  And the attractions are these two little islands off the mainland.  If you go down to the water, you can just ask someone with a boat how much to take you across - a 5 minute trip.  

The island you can go to has his church on it called Lady of the Rocks.  The legend is that someone made a safe journey home and threw a rock in he water here and then it became good luck and all the fishermen would throw rocks in and this island was creates from that. 

We walked around and sat on the island for about 30 minutes.

There's another island across that you can see but you can't go on.

And then our boat came back to get us!

And when we got back to land we walked through the quiet little town and then stopped at a waterfront restaurant for late lunch.

Risotto and fresh shellfish!  Oh my word so good!!!

And then we just walked around and enjoyed the town.

Loved loved loved Perast!  Would definitely come back!  So quiet and peaceful!

We left in enough time that we made it back through the mountains in the daylight and home!  What an awesome travel day!  And thank God - once again beautiful weather!!