on the move with qings, Spring 15 travel blog


Here is another place you never expect to find yourself. So called black mountain due to the dark appearance on the very steep, fjord like rises on either side of a well hidden deep water port. Quite striking.

We have seen a lot of churches. The one today is singular amongst all of them. Founded because two fisherman in the 1500s found this painting of the madonna and child oooout in the bay....on a rock? WHile seemingly implausible, there is the painting, made on cyprus. The fisherman and town filled in around the rock with more rocks and then built an amazing church and it took...over 200 years! Fairly simple as far as churches go, but the gifts inside and the silver relief scenes of miracle and saves were quite amazing. The painting has been finally attributed to a specific artist but no one knows how it wound up there. A village that never forgot the story kept at this for 200 years. Many gifts have been left there. Perhapd the most amazing is an embroidery which took a local lady over 25 years to complete as she apparently waited for her husband/ship captain to come home, a scene with the madonna and cherbim. This lady actually embroidered her own hair into it as the angels hair. Over the 25 years, you can see how her hair went from brown to gray. The embroidery is more intricate than the chinese bowl embroidery we have back home which only took ...a year? Definitely one of the more remarkable travel surprises in recent memory. Nothing we were expecting to see today!

We had some impressive dried ham like prisciutto and local cheese. They make a homey wine which has about no alcohol and isn't anywhere near as sweet as the UK variety. This is quite nice and even kids can drink it. Like it!

Here is a surprising thing. Both this guide and the one yesterday both think ex Yugoslavia was better off before than now. It worked better. Now the corrupt politicians sell off the businesses and industries which are then ruined and sold for real estate. Same politicians, different economy, same corruption. Entrepreneurialism is blocked at every turn and any progressed needs to be heavily greased by bribes. These two guides were quite young and didn't live through shortages, etc, so I don't think have the full picture, but that's their stories. Seems there is a fair amount of nostalgia for Tito and a job for everyone. And big travel restrictions. That would be good how? My impression was there was never enough to go around and those promises were quite empty. Perhaps my impressions of Cuba and their modern day ration cards and black market are weighing in.

So the guide claims that the locals who were shelling Dubrovnik were manipulated by the closed government propaganda media and were made to feel threatened by the Croats as though they were coming to take Montenegro. It sounded plausible to me but sak was not buying it. Montenegro just got its independence from Serbia in 2006, population 600k, voted in by about one percentage point. Unemployment 25%. Tourism is down from 2.5 million to 1.5 million since Yugoslavia broke up. The eastern block like the Russians don't need visas to come there. If it joins the EU, they will need visas.

Another interesting sight as we sailed up the fjords were U boat garages cut into the hillsides. What?! Can't say I have seen those before...



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