Old town and blue sea
Budva Travel Blog› entry 5 of 9 › view all entries
One thing I always remember from Croatia is the impressive drive along the Adriatic coast. The view of the coast is just amazing. This is part of the reason I choose to go all the way to Bar instead of getting off the train in Podgorica from where it would have been easy to get a bus to Budva.
I get on the bus and before sitting down I am sure to consider where to sit. We are driving north and the sea is to the west. Ok I better get a seat on the left side of the bus so I can have the best undisturbed views of the coast.
Driving along the coast is spectacular and it is definitely worth the detour to go along the coast instead of the inland route.
Just before I am getting to Budva we pass a tiny island which is completely occupied by a group of houses. It used to be an old fishing village by the name Sveti Stefan. But the locals left and in 1951 only 21 people remained. It was clear there were no future for the village as a fishing village. Instead it was transformed from a poor fishing village to a high class resort island. Everybody who was anything used to come here. Politicians like Willy Brandt, sports superstars like the skier Ingemar Stenmark and movie stars like Kirk Douglas, Sylvester Stallone and Sofia Loren have all visited the island. But the most famous visit was probably when Bobby Fisher played the infamous rematch of the world chess championship against Boris Spassky on the island. This was at a time when the USA had imposed sanctions on what remained of Yugoslavia - hence Fisher as a US citizen would be arrested if he ever returned to the USA. Fisher won the match very convincingly - playing what Kasparov called world class chess of the 1970s - but not up to modern standards. Fisher made a lot of money on the match but he would never return to the USA and died abroad.
I am looking at the island and though the history sounds appealing and the tiny island looks like a nice place to visit. I figure I will not go there and pay the huge entrance fee of something like 5-10€ for none guest. I is simply too small to make it worth that much plus the travel from Budva. Later I am told the island is not even open yet because it is still so early in the year.
I get to Budva which is a pretty spread out area today with lots of hotels at the coast and more seems to be trying to get ready to open for the coming season. But there are not many guests at any of these big hotels - because the water is cold and walking on the beaches nobody is down there. The outer town seems pretty dead for the moment with only a few locals enjoying a bit of sports down at the facilities close to the beach.
But I am not here for the beach anyways - I am here for the old city and I am walking towards it. The old city is pretty tiny - much smaller than I had thought when I had read about it. You can walk across it in about 2 minutes. But the city is nice - though it is not really old. The city got destroyed in a big earthquake which hit the region in 1979. This earthquake destroyed most of the old city but it has been reconstructed in its original shape. I go to the edge of the old town down at the water. Here is a little citadel which used to protect the harbor of the city. I pay the 2€ to get in and have a look around the citadel. There are not that much to see but it is fine for a quick tour.
Afterwards I head down to the rest of the town and I go for the historical museum of the city. It is another 2€ entrance fee. But I got no more change hence I figure I will just pay with a 10€ note. I figure this should not create any problems. But I don’t think the museum have had a lot of visitors today. Or all the visitors have paid with big bills leaving the museum without any change at all. The woman at the entrance asks me what I have got for coins. I empty my valet for whatever I can find of coins. We soon establish it is nowhere near 2€ and it is not even 1. The woman just give up and say I can go ahead and look around without charge. The museum is spread out across a couple of floors and it is little interesting but it is not something which will keep me all day - so I son head down.
I get out to the old city and I finally figure out how you can get to walk along the wall of the city. Hence I take the short walk along the wall before I head into the new town and walk along the deserted beach.