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The medieval town of Kotor

Between the very early start in the morning to catch our flight, and the heat that we were yet unaccustomed to, F and I struggled to stay awake during the hour-long bus ride from Herceg Novi to Kotor. I think I gave in to a few minutes of nap but as I jolted awake, I looked out the window in amazement. The Bay of Kotor was breathtakingly beautiful.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

A World Heritage Site, Kotor sits at the farthest pocket of the bay, backed by steep, rocky and grey mountains on its rear. Its medieval centre is enclosed within impressive city walls, filled with small streets that form a labyrinth of sort, and perfect for exploration by foot. Having been under the Venetian rules for several centuries, traces of this old empire are easily, most notably the relief of the winged lion at multiple locations within the stari grad.

On the seafront, rows of small boats were parked in ordered lines, but they paled in comparison to the larger cruise boats that come in daily to the bay and the town. In the three days that we were there, two were noticeably commercial cruise boats while one was a large private yacht, perhaps the holiday home of a wealthy Russian oligarch? Tours to other parts of the bay can also be had, by hiring skippers that operate in the area.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Something else very noticeable – cats. There were cats everywhere. And they were plenty of shops selling cat-themed souvenirs and items. Some of these kitties were adorable, but during our first dinner, I was startled as one tried to jump up from under the table and when I had a clearer look at it, I was also disconcerted to see it staring back with one eye and one blank socket! A little creepy…

We peeked into a couple of the orthodox churches in town, but not the famous St Tryphon’s Cathedral. There’s something jarring about it being a paid-to-enter church, and it’s not something that we see often in Europe. Other smaller churches do not lack charm; if anything, we liked the simplicity within these houses of worship, the feel that they still serve much of the community in their daily lives, rather than being ones where groups of tourists are being herded in and out constantly.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

We walked, we walked, and we walked some more. F was impressed that, after a couple of turns around, I’ve somehow figured out my bearing without the benefits of a map and we even found alternative gates to get in/out the old town. No matter where we went though, it seemed like every restaurant had a terrace area, and everyone of them offered free wi-fi to attract (more) costumers who were already being shamelessly courted by competing waiters.

While we were there, Kotor was certainly a very busy town as it was hosting a children’s festival. There were stages set up in different corners of the walled town for performances and activities and the festivities went on till late in the evening. As we needed to get up very early in the morning for other activities, we did not linger to watch the singing and dancing and even plays! Hint for the next post: can you see, in a photo below, the trails on the mountain which we were due to hike?

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

We had opted to stay in a kind of homestay near the main bus station, mere minutes walk away from the old town. Our hosts did not speak any English but Montenegrin and smatterings of Italian. Luckily their daughter and granddaughter were here for their summer break, so they helped in terms of communication. We had no internet access and that did not bother us one bit. Instead, we sat on the porch (with a view of the bay!) and read, while drinking home-made orange juice, or mint and camomile tea, generously offered by our hostess. :)

Kotor: full photoset on Flickr

 

All posts in this series:
Montengro: Postcards: Herceg Novi | Flickr Photoset
Montengro: The medieval town of Kotor | Flickr Photoset
Montengro: Up, up, to St John’s Fortress | Flickr Photoset
Montengro: Postcards: Perast
Montengro: Kayaking the Boka Kotorska
Montengro: Kayaking in Lake Skadar
Montengro: In search of the Walnut Valley
Montengro: The ruins of Stari Bar | Flickr Photoset



Category: Europe, Montenegro, Travel

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4 scribbles & notes

  1. medca says:

    Beautiful place indeed ;) dirty cat? hehehehe

  2. Selena says:

    very nice indeed!

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