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New Europe

Day Twenty-one: Dubrovnik to Durrës

Neven on the Adriatic Paradise 
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Neven, opera singer, captain, cook, takes a sunset supper with me on the Adriatic Paradise as Montenegro, the newest country in Europe, slips by on the horizon.
Michael Palin - New EuropeMeanwhile the task of raising the sails proves impossible and the shot is abandoned.

The captain glowers at the crew and takes it out on Albania.

'Albania is for us like some kind of black hole,' he scowls. 'There is no need to go there and for them I think the same.'

I try to tell him it's the secrecy and isolation that attract me to the country, but he isn't impressed by such romantic nonsense.

It's clear, even at this late stage, that the captain will try anything to avoid going to Albania. He suggests at one point that we should put into Montenegro to see their independence celebrations. (On Thursday last week they voted in a referendum to secede from Serbia, making them Europe's newest country, despite a population little bigger than that of Sheffield.) There should be a good party, he says, the Montenegrins being famously lazy.

He recovers his natural ebullience over a glass or two and as the sun quietly sets, cooks us a superb mussel risotto with Turkish spices - 'Croatians don't like to use spices' - and becomes very jolly and relaxed.

Later I lie down below deck in my hot little cabin with both ports open and the only sound I can hear above the hammer-blow thudding of the engine is the captain, singing at the top of his voice.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day Twenty-one: Dubrovnik to Durrës
  • Country/sea: Croatia
  • Place: Dubrovnik
  • Book page no: 54

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