Words and photos by Liza Herlands

As published on godubrovnik.com

Early morning, sun barely breaking through, we headed off on the tour bus to bring us from Dubrovnik to Montenegro. I have always been a big fan of guided group tours. Not only do they hit multiple historic sites, they also save time. It’s a wonderful carpool to and from your destination, allowing you to leave your bags, stress and whatever else you won’t be needing in your hotel room and return for them later. This tour not only took us to a new destination for the day but allowed us to experience a whole different country. Upon our arrival were welcomed by a friendly Anastasia.  Between periods of early morning naps, we were told of the history of the country we were about to enter.
Just about 40 minutes south, we reached the border of Croatia to Montenegro. The clouds grew heavy and soon a thin downpour lashed against the windshield of our bus. Cozy inside, we handed our passports over to the guard and waited for them to be returned with fresh stamps and headed towards our first destination, Budva.

The sun was desperately trying to break through, and with the time allotted, we explored the streets of one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic, nearly 2,500 years old. Archaeological evidence suggests that an Illyrian settlement was formed on the site of the Old Town before Greek colonization. Reminiscent of Dubrovnik, the small town is surrounded by fortress walls, dotted with restaurants and souvenir shops.
After lunch, overlooking the water, the raindrops were now still and slowly disappearing in the midday sunshine. We loaded back onto the bus and headed to the next destination of Kotor.

I cannot say enough about how beautiful Kotor is. We were lead on a tour of another walled city by a local guide and then had time to explore on our own.
We all decided to hike up the walls that zigzagged up the mountain. The view speaks for itself. Looking to the sky, the mountains hula hooped wisps of white clouds.  Red clay roofs contrasted against the deep emerald of the bay and white buildings matched the shore. The bay opens its mouth wide to the sea in a disarray of colors. The houses clutter at the base of the mountain like an avalanche, rubble gathered against the water. The calm of the water unzipped, the remnants of passing boats. From the top of the mountain, it all lay before us.
I could have stood watching the old town from the fortified walls above for hours watching the clouds move with the wind in and out of the folds of the mountains like dry ice dispersing to sky.
As we loaded back onto the bus for our return to Dubrovnik, the clouds had parted and gave us a lasting vision of what some call the southern most fjord in Europe. The water had turned to a cerulean blue, pocked with bright red fishermen’s jackets.
Before we knew it, our bus faced the water and darkened buildings of Dubrovnik, just in time to watch the sun dip beneath the sea.