After arriving back last night on the Belgrade to Bar train, today we head to another apartment between Budva and Kotor. On the way we’re going to check out the 2,000 year Old Olive Tree Of Mirovica, the oldest olive tree in Europe.
We’re both feeling a little sore after our fall in Belgrade two days ago. I’m feeling better however, Michele isn’t improving which is a concern.
We decided to check out the Orthodox Church under construction, known locally as Saint Putin’s, due to Russian donations are helping to build it. It’s a pretty impressive building on the outside with massive golden domes on the roof. Inside it’s still a building site complete with scaffolding and drop sheets.
The ceilings have been covered in a beautiful fresco and on some of the walls faces have been drawn in readiness for painting. It really is so interesting looking at a church being constructed after seeing so many old ones throughout Europe. In the entry a large canvas painting of Jesus on one side and Mary on the other flank a saints picture where locals come to pray. We’re hoping to be back this way when the church is finished to see the results. Judging by the work so far it’ll be magnificent.
Strangely enough there’s also a Catholic Church also being built on the other side of Bar.
In the middle of the city three flying saucer like buildings look out of place amongst the apartment buildings around the city centre.
2,000 year old, Old Olive Tree Of Mirovica
Our next stop was the 2,000 year old olive tree of Mirovica. The oldest olive tree in Europe. A few days ago we dodged rain clouds to try and find it unsuccessfully but today it was a little easier. Heading out on the road from Bar to Ulcinj we spotted a sign which read “Old Olive Tree, Stara Maslina” where turned left. The road came to a T-intersection where we were looking for another direction sign, however all we needed to do was look up for it was across the road just to the right. The tree wasn’t what we thought it would be with multiple trunks and a large stump in the middle, however they all share the same root. It was a big tree supposedly 10 metres in diameter.
The main trunk has been dated at between 2473 and 2007 years old and the tree is still producing olives. We read a few of the stories associated with the tree, including how this tree was the place where people met to end arguments (extending the olive branch). Important meetings were held under its branches and decisions made over its long history. In the past men weren’t allowed to marry unless they’d planted a certain amount of olives and families would meet here to discuss marriages. These days in November, it becomes the site for an international festival called “Meetings Under The Old Olive Tree” for young children of preschool and elementary school age to submit written, oral and artistic work.
Heading south from Bar the last stop on the coast before Albania is the town of Ulcinj. Riding into town there’s a definite Albanian influence with tradition clothing quite visible. Also road etiquette is quite different with drivers just stopping to talk to friends wherever, and angle parking with one tyre up on the kerb. We stopped for lunch at the small beach, at a great restaurant called Cruisers. After -4 celsius in Belgrade it was nice to be soaking up the sun in glorious 21 degrees. The view was great with the ocean in front and the old town off to the right.
It was a magnificent lunch of Skenderbeg schnitzel, cheese, prosciutto, wrapped in veal and covered in bread crumbs. As there were no pictures we expected something along the lines of a Cordon Bleu to arrive. When it arrived instead of a flat schnitzel , it was in fact rolled into a long sausage shape. It turns out that the Karadjordjev schnitzel I had a few nights ago in Bar, is called a Skenderbeg schnitzel in Ulcinj. So what was the difference? Well supposedly Karadjordjev was a Serbian hero hence the name in Montenegrin Bar and Skenderbeg was an Albanian hero so hence the name in mainly Albanian Ulcinj. It also has another name in Montenegro which roughly translates to Maidens Delight (due to its phallic shape)
Anyway Ucinj, was a great place for lunch and the service at Breakers was exceptional. The town suffered a blackout as Michele headed down tot he toilet, thankfully her iphone’s light came in handy. It seems like a regular occurrence judging by the generator outside the restaurant and in a few spots around the town.
We headed along the coast until the end of the road, which was just that, a two lane road which suddenly went into a one lane track. We’ve heard there’s not many roads in Albania and this might confirm it.
Heading north we headed for our accommodation which after arriving at the first place is covered that we were 30 km’s from the right address. The satnav really struggles in Montenegro and we are regularly being detoured off the main road through a little suburb. Today was no exception as we found ourselves being detoured over the hills behind Budva. It was quite annoying travelling over rough roads before getting back on the main road for 100 metres before being sent up over the hills. After a few km’s we had enough of the rough road which didn’t seem to be going anywhere so we turned the satnav off and headed back to the main road. Sure enough a few km’s up the road we arrived at the apartment where a few other travellers were taking photos. After saying hello, we settled in for the night.