Saturday, 17 May 2014

Herceg Novi, Montenegro, Day 6

Day 6, May 17, 2014

Our hosts in Herceg Novi arranged for a driver to pick us up outside the Pile Gate. We humped our bags through throngs of tourists pouring into Old Town from three cruise ships in port.  We were happy to be leaving the masses of international humanity for the quiet seaside in Montenegro.  It took us a little over 30 minutes and two border crossings through a beautiful countryside uniquely accented with extremely tall cypress trees that grow wild in the hills and valleys. It made us smile to see hazard road signs warning of wild pigs.

Our serviced apartment is stunningly beautiful and modern.  We were greeted and everything was explained by our super friendly host, Zeljka at the Mianiko Apartments.

First order of business was to get some Euros to pay for our place and buy groceries, which were available one minute away.  Stolichnaya vodka cost a mere 9 Euros and local beer, Jelen (500 ml) beer just .69 Euros.  I like it here already.  Oh and we also bought some food, local salami, cheese, wine vinegar, olive oil, olives, bread, lettuce and eggs. The weather is supposed to get better although inland they have had the worst flooding in 125 years.  After a brief downpour, we headed out on the 7km seaside promenade towards the Old Town where my father was born. 

We stopped for lunch at a taverna and I couldn’t resist ordering squid stuffed with prawns, a local specialty.  I am trying to beat this addiction to squid but am failing miserably.   

Prices here are all in Euros and cheaper than Dubrovnik. In the taverna, a half litre of beer was 2 Euros ($3). You gotta love it!

Where my dad first lived
We had a quick visit of Old Town and saw where my great grandfather and then his son, my grandfather, had their dry goods store just outside of the clock tower gate and where my father first lived before his father’s untimely death. 
The former dry goods store
We walked quietly back home on the upper road. 

Rudnik Hotel damaged during the 1979 earthquake across the street from the Mandic house
Mandic house

Mandic house

Mandic house

The road to Topla
One of the objectives of this trip was to put flowers on my grandfather’s grave on behalf of my Dad. All we knew was that he was buried in Topla. We saw a church on the street we were on with a graveyard. I stopped to ask if this was Topla and the lady said yes.  We entered the cemetery, but all of the grave stones were written in a Cyrillic script.  We asked two women sitting outside the church if they could help us but they could not speak English. Still they went from grave to grave and at one point called out the name Sofija Marovic, 1901-1997. Of course, the letters on the grave did not resemble her English name since it was written in Cyrillic script which is based on the Early Cyrillic.  It was a cosmic event since we were looking for Dusan Mandic who died when my father was 16 in 1938 or 1939.  These wonderfully helpful women had inadvertently found my grandmother’s grave who we discovered had chosen to be buried with her family using her maiden name.  
My gandmother's grave

The older of the two women made some phone calls which led to a grave with engravings no longer legible.  Tomorrow we will be back when a man will be at the church that has a written record of all who are buried in the cemetery. 

Views from our apartment when we got home


Jill made us a salad for dinner which went well with our $5 bottle of local unoaked Chardonnay.

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