Returning to Kotor Via Cetinje, Montenegro
The small town of Cetinje, is located only 32 km from Budva, but the road is steep and narrow, and it winds with many switchbacks through the mountains.
The road was also under construction due to a major rockslide, and they were only able to open one lane, to service the busy traffic going in both directions.
The rest of the way was picturesque, and after a few climbs up the mountains, we descended into the town of Cetinje.
Cetinje’s main street is not ancient, but it is a pleasant pedestrian walkway lined with cafes, shops and interesting architecture.
It was once the Capitol of Montenegro, so it still has the remains of the old palace and embassy buildings that used to be located there.
Now these buildings serve other purposes, but their beauty still adds to the charm of the street.
Notable is the British Embassy built in 1912 but with Georgian sensibilities,
the French embassy built in an art nouveau style, covered with glazed tiles, the Blue Palace built in 1895 for Crown Prince Danilo, and the Cetinje Monastery. A large music conservatory is now located in the former French Embassy, and teenagers with their instruments strolling to and from classes add an additional flair to the mix of locals and tourists who sit at one of the many outdoor cafes, or walk the streets themselves.
The municipality is doing its best to attract tourists to the area, but the access roads are narrow and there is not enough to see beyond a slow stroll by the charming buildings of the past, and the nice, well-manicured parks.
The highlight of the day was not the town of Cetinje, but the narrow road that we took from there back to Kotor.
We did not want to reverse our steps and go back the way we had come, towards Budva.
The road had suffered major damage and the line of cars waiting in both directions was very long.
We continued on along the old road that circles around Lovcen National Park.
It started out like a simple drive was in store.
It was a narrow road, but the tar seal was good and there was almost no traffic.
The road quickly deteriorated, however, into a narrow mountain corridor with old asphalt and barely any room for two cars to pass one another.
We had to plan every turn and every switchback, to make sure we knew where we could back up to, in case a car or bus came from the opposite direction.
We crossed paths with a car coming from the other direction, and stopped to chat.
They were a British couple and they assured us that the road ahead was rough, but passable.
We assured them the same.
The road we were coming from was also rough, but open and passable.
Right before we reached the narrowest part of the drive, approaching kilometers of hairpin curves and switchback turns, the road was closed.
A man with a bulldozer blocked the road, and the Foreman explained that the road was going to remain closed until 4PM, almost two hours away.
They were using explosives to widen the road and clear up fallen boulders.
He suggested we go back and either cut through the national forest or return to Budva.
The road through the National forest was not showing on my map, but he assured me it was open and passable.
Jules decided he rather wait for the road to open, rather than go back and start over.
We parked the car and ordered some hot drinks and a sandwich, the only thing the nearby cafe had to offer.
Little by little more cars started arriving, lining up in front of the bulldozer-turned-roadblock.
We had just finished paying our bill, when the Foreman came running, saying that we would have only moments to drive through.
Apparently one of the locals was late for a funeral, and they were willing to open the road to allow all of us to quickly squeeze through.
Now started the real adventure.
It was a beautiful but very stressful drive.
The road was very high up the mountains, and truly narrow, often with no guardrails and steep, steep drops.
The views were breathtaking but the stress of managing the hairpin turns and switchbacks with oncoming cars and buses made us both sigh with relief when we finally reached Kotor.
Arriving back in familiar Kotor felt like coming home.
As travelers, the definition of home constantly changes.
Some say that home is where your heart is, where your loved ones are, where you lay your hat….
Those are all true, but what if your loved ones come with you?
And you take your heart with you anywhere you go?
I got the answer in a shop selling t-shirts.
It is true for those of us who live on the road for more than half of the year…
The wise t-shirt said:
“Home is where your WiFi connects automatically.”
So there in busy Kotor, where we knew where to park, where to eat, where to drink the best fresh juice, our WiFi connected automatically.
We did stay in a different hotel this time, having chosen the renovated Villa Duomo in the Old Town, with spacious suites and modern amenities.
Wishing you warm blessings,