Woke up at what felt ridiculously early (it was 7.30am) and said goodbye to the adoptive parents. Talking on the way to the train station, I think we both felt slightly forlorn at the thought of leaving Lake Skadar-would we ever be anywhere so beautiful and tranquil again?
Stepping off the train in the sea town of Bar I certainly didn’t think so. The place felt more like a city than Podgorica and with the packs and the heat it was all a bit overwhelming! We ran into some Brits at a cafe by the station though; they’d been on the plane here with us and the train to Virpazar. What can I say? Small country! Luckily the route to the Vila Jadran, our next night’s sleep, wasn’t difficult so we soon found our way.
The ruined city of Stari Bar, situated at the foot of Mount Rumija 6 km away from the current city of Bar, existed as part of the Byzantine Empire since the Medieval period. In 1877 the citadel was besieged by pro-independence forces fighting for autonomy, with much of it being destroyed by artillery fire. As a result of this the principality of Montenegro was recognised in the Berlin Conference of 1878. The city was further damaged by an earthquake in 1979 and since then efforts have been made to restore the area.
We spent a good two hours wandering through the ruins, generally not following the signposted arrows and sunbathing (luckily I had cracked out the geography teacher shorts). There were some jaw-dropping views of Mount Rumija and out across Bar, the camera got plenty of use! We had the ruins pretty much to ourselves as well so it felt very secluded and almost like an exploration.
For food this evening we spotted a little vegetarian restaurant, Kaldrma, I’d seen in the guidebook while researching at home. I had the ‘local vegetarian plate’ with some herbal tea and my vegan friend had rice stuffed grape leaves. I would definitely recommend the place and the staff were very friendly and helpful with searching out vegan options.
Anyway, we must have walked about 20 km today, 8 of which with the packs so it’s another chilled night in for me.