We woke at 6:15 and prepared for our trip to Podgorica, Ostrag Monastery and the Montenegrin countryside. we hopped in Saki’s van and started on our journey. winding up the mountains from the sea side town of Budva we took the main roads through Montenegro to the capital city of Podgorica, from there passing through small towns and climbing through mountains and valleys we finally arrived at a tiny road barely big enough to fit our van. we turned and headed up – ever higher toward the top of the mountain.

winding through hairpin turns and across treacherous roads we arrived at Ostrag and disembarked. we trudged up to the monastery and explored its beauty and stark orthodox character. the monastery houses the corpse and bones of St. Basil (the Montenegrin one). apart from his body there is also an ornate cavern carved and painted which is burrowed back into the mountain from the monastery.

we explored and then saddled up for the treacherous drive back down to earth. we headed back through Podgorica Montenegro’s capital city with a population of roughly 120 thousand people. the city, full of half constructed, badly painted and miserable looking housing projects evoked a strong affirmation of how poor the country was. we returned through Svet Stefan and the beach side towns surrounding Budva – and town of 20,000 with over 400 known millionaires. outside Petrovac we stopped for a photo opportunity and the bolt connecting the stick shift and the gear box sheared. I saw it hanging under the car, and as Saki tried to phone for help decided we could fix it. climbing under the van on the side of the road, big trucks screaming by, I stretched under and refitted the two pieces, tying them together with plastic bags. we tried it a few times and then headed up the coast toward Tivat, the town used for Casino Royal, and Budva. I went and saw the beach at Tivat and then spent three hours lounging in the cool, clear, and blue/green Adriatic waters. Allowed my body to soak and relax. after the afternoon in the sun I returned to the apartment met up with the rest of the crew and then headed to a fine chicken, potato and salad dinner prepared by Saki’s wife. from there the boys decided to head out to explore the night life. unfortunately as a Tuesday the city was mostly dead but we had a good time regardless.

I woke at 7:10 and wandered down to await the bus to Ulcinej the city from which I would take a taxi across the boarder into Albania and to the city of Schodra and its Rozafa Castle.