Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Kotor, Montenegro

A small village in the Gulf of Kotor
Montenegro was never a place I had thought about for a holiday. Although it is based around the Mediterranean and blessed with warm temperatures, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. Finding this country on the cruise itinerary was exciting, I didn’t know what to expect.

An early morning fisherman
The passage to Kotor was based down a huge fjord-like inlet of the Gulf of Kotor. This passage inland started at 5.30am and we go up to watch it.  We ordered breakfast to the side of the boat so we could eat and watch the huge cruise liner pass little costal towns on the path in. This was spectacular! All around us were huge rolling mountains and pretty villages. Many of these villages were likely fishing towns as there were lots of fishermen and equipment set up. The scenery may have been some of the best I have ever seen.

Old Town, Kotor
Kotor (like Corfu before) has been occupied by many other nations. It was founded by the Romans and stayed under Roman rule until the breakup in AD 476. Since then it has switched between occupation and being an independent republic. Many of the cities buildings were built during the 300-year Venetian rule from 1420 – this Venetian influence can still be felt today.

A view from the city walls over the Bay of Kotor

When we finally docked in Kotor – a World Heritage Site - at 8am it wasn’t a disappointment. City walls that encased the houses and snaked up the mountain bordered the old town. It was already starting to get warm at 8am and TripAdvisors top rated thing to do in Kotor is climb the City Walls. Not wanting to do this when it is too hot, we left straight for the wall climb, whilst it was still in the shade. 

The boat is the biggest building here!
Kotor Harbour
The walk was steep, there were two paths – one that was made of shingle and is quite slippery and the other was steps, 1350 steps in total (or 675 single leg squats per leg as I like to think of it). The views all the way up the climb were amazing. The huge cruise liner looked out of place settled in the beautiful bay and surrounded by mountains. When we finally reached the top we were able to take in all the scenery next to a Montenegro flag! The walk down was much simpler, but the sun was now overhead – I felt sorry for the late risers who were just starting this walk, it was hot enough without direct sunlight! After climbing the mountain, it was clear why this was one of the best things to do in Kotor.

Montenegro flag on the top of the city walls
Upon arriving back into the old town, we wondered round the old cobbled streets. Unfortunately I felt the town was highly touristy and now 2000 cruise passengers were wondering the streets, cluttering the town. We headed to Kotor’s “shopping mall” which was very small, but did have free Wi-Fi (which was amazing after not having it on the boat).

We popped back to the boat for lunch and afternoon tea (with it literally being parked in the town). In the evening (when it was cooler) we were able to explore around the town – there wasn’t much except residential housing, but we did get a beautiful shot of the boat in the bay. Many of our fellow cruise passengers jumped on a hop on hop off tour of the surrounding towns which they said was really good and easily worth the €15 price tag!
The boat from the shore

When leaving Kotor, it was dark so we were unable to see the beautiful scenery at night, but did get to see the glow of the small towns on the water.

The steps leading to the start
of the city walls!

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