Thursday, September 4, 2008

I am sea sick from too many hours on the ferry. I still feel like I am swaying back and forth. Ew.

Boka Ferry Ride

This hostel is very communal. Dave the owner has been operating this place for 3 years. He's from Belmont, Ca, and his girlfriend (who also works here) is from Moscow. They are both really sweet. Nadya and I have been talking about politics especially the Russia/Georgia conflict. It's interesting to hear her perspective.

The best part about this hostel is that I feel comfortable. The beds and showers are clean and every morning the owners put out breakfast of cornflakes and coffee every morning. There are lots of wild fruit trees in the backyard. I am eating purple grapes that I picked from a tree. I like it here a lot and extended my stay for two more days. Tomorrow, I am going to Lake Skadar one of the largest lakes and bird estuary in all of Europe.

I went on a ferry ride around Monte Negro's islands. I am hanging out with a girl from Seattle that I met at the hostel. She is really cool and we have a lot in common. Last night we went out to eat. Rachel was funny trying to communicate with our waitress. She pantomimed that she wanted a small piece of chicken and made a swish noise to indicate she wanted it fried. What she got was a huge steak and greasy french fries. I stuck with soup because it was the only word I could make out on the menu and it was cheap. The food here is fairly good. I have mostly tried to eat produce and fish.

We went to a fortress on the cruise called Fore Mare. It was built by a Bosnian King in 1382. The king was famous for extracting salt from the sea and selling it. The fortress is gigantic and surrounded by sparkling blue water. After the Turks took over the fortress was known as Kanli Kula, which means Bloody fortress. There was a battle here and blood was dripping off the walls. After the Turkish took over they had 300 slaves expand it and reconstructed it into a military fort. Then the Austro-Hungarians took over and they held it in their power until the beginning of WWI. Now it is used as an open theater for music and theatrical performances.

At the next stop we jumped on a packed boat to the blue cave. While we traveled down to the cave there were more old military bases. I overheard some of the people on the ferry say that the islands here were owned by Russian mafia. It is well known that Monte Negro is currently powered by the mafia, but many Montenegrins believe this will change soon. The blue cave was amazing. The water inside it looked aquamarine. I jumped off the boat and the water inside the cave was freezing. I am glad I did it, even though I was really scared.

Two artificial islands lay right next to each other in the middle of the sea. One island was named Lady of the Rock it was very small and only large enough to hold a church. The church was very beautiful with a teal roof and Romanesque architecture. From a distance it looked like a model from a movie set. Inside the church was many artifacts from surrounding areas. The chapel itself had a painted ceiling that looked like the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

On the ferry I was talking to a girl from Belarus. She was shocked that I was all the way here from the US. Another couple from Belgium reacted similarly when I told them I was from Boston. I was surprised by their response.

Our next stop was Old Town in Kotor. Kotor is the 2nd largest fjord in Europe.There was a huge cement wall around the city. The city itself had many cathedrals dating back almost 2000 years.

Signing off.