Hills and Mountains

Albania

Gjirokastër

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The castle from below

Won’t harp on it too long. Only stayed for one night but was the most beautiful view I’ve seen and the most tranquil place I’ve been so far. The castle on top of the hill was entirely empty except for about 30 construction workers doing maintenance and me.

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The workers. I was afraid that I was going out of bounds when I’d pass them doing masonry or something important looking but no one ever told me to stop so…

The castle had no guardrails or areas off limits and was a joy to explore. You could climb and hang your feet off the edge and sit and ponder for hours. A million times better than any other castle. It was the openness and freedom of nature but with the architecture and views of a city. Since it was more of a 360-degree experience, the pictures can’t do it justice. No pictures of me since I’m the only tourist there.

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View of the north
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View of the east through a tunnel that ended on a ledge with a 50m drop

Pulled Over

A cop standing outside put up a red sign and beckoned for the car to be pulled over. I opened my window and started speaking English and right away he let the car go. My silver tongue…

Montenegro – it’s a country fyi, means “Black Mountain”

Ulcinj

Didn’t really do anything. This was the longest drive of the trip so needed to find a place on the way to stay overnight. It’s nice when your pit stop looks like this.

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Kotor

A really weird shaped bay entirely surrounded by very big mountains. On all sides of the lake, there was only about 20-100 meters to work with for development before it got too steep. Every home had a lake front view. The road was the barrier between the homes and the lake.

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Mirror to help get out of narrow driveways
The view from the apartment
The view from the apartment

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Um…I heard Hotel California playing as ambient noise in Kotor…maybe I wasn’t the first person to listen to God Bless the USA in Macedonia like I assumed in a previous post.

Taxis only cost $2ish here.

At one point, because I slept in too late for breakfast and since the restaurants were cheap and recommended steak as their best dish, I had steak for 6 straight meals.

Not sure if Kotor, Montenegro is related to the Star Wars app in the Google Play store.

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Another Fortress

This was just another fortress but it didn’t have guardrails so it also had great views. It was 1,300 steps (1.2 km elevation up) from the Old Town. Having a pint and ice cream beforehand wasn’t the best idea. I got up and down it no problem but the next day I had issues going up the one flight of stairs to my room.

I’ve been having 1-2 beers and 1-2 ice creams a day but I’m also walking a lot so I’m not sure if that’s unhealthy.

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On the ledge
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The ledge from a different angle – this one’s for you Dad
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The steps visible from across the lake

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Lovćen National Park

See those pictures of the Kotor Mountains above? Well, Lovćen National Park starts higher than them. This was all about the drive and was actually too stressful to really enjoy, since most of it was too narrow for two cars and sometimes you’d have a truck coming down right towards you and you’d have to stop and reverse down the mountain pass until you’d find a space big enough to let them by. 18 straight hairpin turns in a row (more if you include before and after).

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FUN
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Corresponds only to the very left of the above map, not the actual twisty part
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Hairpin example

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Then once you got to the top, Lovćen National Park starts and there’s another road that keeps going to the peak of the mountain.

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When I was looking at the map, I was wondering why they would need two parking lots about a kilometer apart at the summit of the mountain. One was at the very top and the other was a little bit down the road. Then, it became very clear by the time the car made it to the lower parking lot.

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They didn’t feel like plowing all the way to the top

Lost Day

I woke up at 7a to the sound of a foghorn, which is one of the worst ways to wake up. It’s almost to the uncomfortable-ness of the crashing of symbols. I look outside and the fog is so dense you can’t see anything, even the house next door. I can’t imagine a cruise ship trying to sail but I guess they have places to be and I’m all for it if those places are away from me.

And then the power goes out, which isn’t bad unto itself, but then they send a repair crew and the saw buzzing starts right when the foghorn stops. No more sleep…

And then it starts raining for pretty much the remainder of the day. So that’s when I wrote all of the previous posts and just sat in bed and watched tv.

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