I was still tired when I woke up the next morning at Hippo.
Not sleeping and being in transit for nearly 40 hours can do that to a person.
But, I had a one-track mind: the Adriatic.
After a quick breakfast (Hippo gives you eggs to do up however you like), I grabbed a beach towel, a book and headed down to the water.
The day wasn’t perfect — puffy gray clouds hung low — but I didn’t care. It was the sea and I had a hot date with the water.
I laid my towel down on the pebble beach, slathered sunscreen and then bolted into the water.
It was just as I remembered it from last year. Delicious. Salty.
I laid my head back and enjoyed the weightlessness and the lack of treading.
It was perfect.
Then, the rain began to drop, so I rounded up my few belongings and headed back to the hostel.
It had been a long time since I had met other solo travelers. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time, so when I met Tristan in the TV room, I was thrilled.
A Canadian, traveling for a few months, in med school. He had been to the beach too, and like me, when it began to rain, headed back to shelter.
Then, I met Tana. And Craig. And Mat. And, suddenly, we had a solo backpacker group.
For two days, we were inseperable. Going down to the beach and drinking beers in the water after the clouds had cleared. Making a BBQ that night. Hitting some bars later in the evening. Then, the next day we took a day trip together to Sveti Stefan, a gorgeous little beach town a few kilometers from Budva.
Being with them was rejuvenating. We had our little group and kept meeting other cool people along the way.
The next day, Tana and Craig headed to another little town and Tristan and I went to Kotor to check it out.
I left him to climb up to the fortress — it was sick hot — and I walked around, sitting by the beach, marveling at the beauty of the old walled city, sipping a Coke Light at a cafe.
When the last of our little group parted ways, I was bummed. It had been nice to have a group.
Fortunately, my next stop was Sarajevo, and I had a good feeling about that city.