Monday, October 27, 2008

Entering Montenegro
September 19, 2008

It was a quick drive from Dubrovnik down to Montenegro. As I turned the corner past the border crossing, the view of the Bay of Kotor opened up before me. I stopped in Herceg Novi for a couple of hours before proceeding on to Kotor town. Like Croatia, Montenegro has many charming old stone towns running along the coast. The mountains in Montenegro seem larger, however and are closer to the water, providing some spectacular backdrops.

After enjoying the view of the water from the ramparts in Herceg Novi I continued on along the coast to Kotor, the main coastal town in Montenegro. After checking in to an apartmani I walked to Old Town. The old city is built at the foot of a large mountain. The castle is perched on a cliff above and looks over the town.

I noticed a T-Mobile store in the town square, so I went in to pick up a new SIM card for my phone. It has been so nice to be able to easily switch my phone from one service provider to another as I travel. Five dollars and five minutes later I had a new Montenegro number!

I will spend a couple of days here in Kotor and then will take a tour of the mountainous region...

Herceg Novi
This is the first town in Montenegro that I stopped in.

Bay of Kotor
After stopping in Herceg Novi, I drove along the coast of the Bay of Kotor.

I stayed a few nights in an apartmani in Kotor and went exploring in the old town during the day.

For more photos you can see my Montenegro Flickr Page: Montenegro Photos

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

September 16, 2008

It was sad to trade my little scooter in for a car, but the scooter only went 50km an hour and therefore was not convenient for driving all the way to Montenegro and back. I put my negotiation skills to work and was able to negotiate a rate with Hertz that was about 60% off their regular price. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take the car into Romania, Bulgaria, or Hungary because they are "restricted" countries. This means that I will be cutting those countries out of my trip this time around.

While I am sure that Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria are beautiful, my partner made a good point that when you are starting a new fund and a new brand, it is better to develop in locations that are already perceived as large tourist destinations. (My current obstacles to obtaining financing for Panigram are a case in point.) I haven't written Eastern Europe off yet, I just think that any resorts that I develop there will be in my second fund...

Anyway, after a lovely drive down the coast I finally arrived in Dubrovnik. It is a very charming old town surrounded by crystal blue water. I walked around the wall surrounding the old town and got some great photos from above. Dubrovnik was hit hard by the war, but fortunately many of the buildings have been restored.

Drive to Dubrovnik
The drive on the way down was gorgeous. I stopped a few times to take pictures of the coast and the islands in the background.

Stone Village
This was yet another beautiful Croatian stone village that I found on the way to Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik Town
Here is a photo of old Dubrovnik. You can see the fortress wall and the gorgeous blue water in the background.

Remnants of War
Unfortunately Dubrovnik was hard by the war. Some of the buildings still have not been restored. When you enter the city, they have a map that shows where the bombs hit. It is amazing that so much of the city remained in tact after being hit by all of that artillery!

Roof Damage
While a few buildings (like the one above) were completely destroyed, most of the buildings just had severe roof damage. Unfortunately after the war the original tile maker for this city no longer existed, so they had to import the roof tiles from France. In this photo you can see the original roof tiles and the new French ones.

View from Above
I walked around the outside wall of the old town and got some great photos of the city below. Dubrovnik is definitely a charming town!

For more photos you can visit my Croatia Flickr page: Croatia Photos