From Vrbanj I went down to the sea. To Herceg Novi. With pain in my heart I skipped Subra’s amphitheatre. Too much wind. A warm wind, but still too windy to go for an exposed klettersteig-hike-climb. At mountain hut Vratlo I was in doubt, maybe I could try to go from there. But no, that wouldn’t be the same. I mean, I could hike to the peak of Subra, but I would still miss the spectacular climb and that’s what this stage is all about. This will be another place I sooner or later come back to.
Herceg Novi surprised me. A lovely old town with narrow streets, beautiful facades, heaps of hidden alleys with stairs, nice bars, restaurants, churches and of course the fortress at the sea. Unfortunately no campsite, hostel or other cheap place to stay. Turned out that you have to find someone who has a room ánd a big heart. When I was about to give up, I met Jasna. She saw me and asked if I needed help. I told her I was looking for a room or a place to camp. She asked what I was willing to pay. I got the room or apartment actually. The apartment was fantastic. I had a kitchen, a bathroom and a balcony with a view on the sea. Couldn’t wish for more.
The next day I tried to be a tourist. I walked through town, sat down to have coffee, filled my stomach with burek and hanged at the beach until the weather changed. Rain. And more wind. There was a storm predicted, but I had no idea how serious that would be. Apparently it wasn’t the Bora, but a strong wind-bad-weather thing from the south, Jugo they called it. So happy to have a roof above my head. First I thought Jasna was doing me a favour, but she was happy to have me and even happier to have me stay longer. “Every Euro counts when you have kids” she said. So I did her a favour as well and waited out the stormy weather in my awesome room in Jasnas awesome apartment.
When I left Herceg Novi the sky was still grey, but the wind calmed down a bit. I walked the boulevard, then the road up to the border checkpoint from where I made my way to the Blue Trail, the Via Dinarica Blue Trail in Croatia. There are several border checkpoints, but not all of them are open for everyone. To avoid the risk of being sent back I choose the detour on the Jadranska magistrala, the big road. Boring, but fast.
On to the Blue Trail
After the border I went up to Dubravka. Still on a road, but a quiet one. Olive trees, fruit trees, palm trees even. So holiday-ish. And the sun came. Only for a short while, because the days don’t last that long. Around 5 I found a church and asked if I could camp on the field just outside. I could. Feels good to sleep in my tent. To be back on track. The days in Herceg Novi were nice. It was good to get some rest, catch up with writing and stare at the sea. Doing nothing but staring until the hunger to explore returns.
This is the last stretch. The last part of my Via Dinarica journey. Next few weeks I’ll be hiking the Blue Trail in Croatia. It follows the Adriatic coastline all the way to Slovenia. I try not to think about the distance too much, but enjoy the miles I get to hike. Day by day I make my way. I hike as long as I can. When it’s done it’s done. When I’m done, I’m done. We’ll see.