Saturday, September 7, 2013
We can see one of Dubrovnik's cruise ship ports from our
balcony. There's been a different ship docked there every day, each
bigger than the last. Today's ship is ENORMOUS. I can't imagine
that being an enjoyable way to travel. Everywhere you visit would
be crowded just by virtue of the hoards of folks from your ship. We
were able to plan our visit to the Old Town around the cruise ship
schedule, thank goodness.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
One of the smaller
Today we visited the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, another good
day-trip from Dubrovnik. It was about 45 minutes from our soba to
the border. We'd read that sometimes there's a backup at the main
border crossing at Debeli Brijeg on Saturdays, so we went a little
out of our way to a secondary border crossing at Konfin, Croatia /
Kobila, Montenegro, and there was no line at all. Good choice! I
had 10 euros ready to give the Montenegrin border guard for the
supposedly mandatory “eco-tax,” and I even tried to hand it to her,
but she didn't take it. They did want to see our “green card”
(proof of insurance), though.
A couple of hundred meters past the border crossing, we stopped and
had a picnic lunch at a spot with THE PRETTIEST VIEW I HAVE EVER
SEEN. Just when I thought I couldn't appreciate any more
gorgeousness on this trip, the dramatic beauty of the Bay of Kotor
proved me wrong. I immediately claimed the bay in the name of
Bay of Kotor,
The Bay of
Montenegro is a young nation, having only gained its independence
from Serbia (what was left of Yugoslavia) in 2006. The gorgeous
coastline is now turning into a playground for rich Russians and
Saudi Arabians, but most of the Bay of Kotor remains undeveloped
It just doesn't get any
prettier than this
Perast, “The Pearl of Venetian Baroque,” (What does that even
mean?) is a pretty little town on the bay with a view of a couple
of cute islets. Tom inadvertently drove down the narrow,
waterfront, pedestrian-only street running through town, while I
ran along and took photos. Oops! We didn't realize we'd screwed it
up until we were at the other end of town. The signs weren't clear
(to us), but we got away with it, and that's the main thing.
Along the Bay of
The two little islands in the bay are Sv. Dorde (St. George) and
Gospa od Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks). St. George, a man-made
island which is home to a monastery, is closed to tourists, but you
can take a boat to Our Lady of the Rocks and visit the little
church and museum, if you wish.
Sv. Dorde and Gospa od
The Old Town of Kotor is a triangle-shaped fortification backed up
to a steep mountain face and surrounded on the other two sides by
the bay. The town is fantastic, kind of gritty, with lots of
decrepit old buildings, not overly restored and touristy. Go now,
before the cruise ships make this a regular port of call! This was
the best old town of the trip, no contest.
Gurdic Bastion, Kotor
Looking up from Kotor
Ruins of an old
The Gradske Zidine (Town Walls) of Kotor are unbelievably
impressive. They're three miles long, traversing very tough
terrain, and were built, off and on, over a thousand years, from
the 9th through the 19th centuries. The thickness of the walls
varies from 6 to 50 feet, and parts of the wall are 65 feet tall.
And, yes, of course, they call this "The Great Wall of Kotor." We
hiked up as far as Crkva Gospe od Zdravlja (Church of Our Lady of
Health), where we enjoyed spectacular views of the walls, the Old
Town, and the bay.
The Great Wall of
Bay of Kotor from high
on the wall
We continued through town, exploring all the nooks and crannies,
and eventually popped out an alley onto Trg Svetog Luke (St. Luke's
Square). Just then, a man came running toward us from the far side
of the square, stopped at my side, and turned to face the direction
he'd just run from. The man was a wedding photographer, and just
then a wedding procession came marching through the square and into
Crkva Svetog Nikola (St. Nicholas's Church). I'm glad we could join
them for their happy day! We left them to their nuptials and
entered the 12th century Crkva Svetog Luke across the square
After leaving the Kotor Old Town, we drove 30 minutes southeast to
Budva, an overbuilt resort town catering mainly to Russians, also
home to the infamous exclusive luxury resort of the super-rich,
Sveti Stefan, as seen on “Lifestyles of the Rich
and Famous.” The parking and driving around Budva was nuts! We were
lucky to get out of town with both side mirrors.
Back at the Bay of Kotor, instead of driving all the way around the
bay again, we took a shortcut across the 300-meter-wide Verige
Strait via ferry. The narrow strait has been a strategic entrance
to the bay for thousands of years. It's narrow enough to defend
from invaders but deep enough for even the huge ships of today to
Kamenari, at the Verige
We reached the border at Konfin right at 7:00 shift change, so we
had to wait about 10 minutes before they let us through this time.
We stopped in Cavtat to stock up on snacks and beer, then returned
to our soba in Dubrovnik.
We had dinner at Mama Mia on the pedestrian strip near our soba.
This time we shared a jumbo pizza, loaded with two kinds of ham,
onions, mushrooms, and pepperocinis. It was the best pizza thus
far, and we've sampled plenty! The beer, of course, was ordinary.
I'd recommend this place.
The Tomislav beers we got at the grocery store were actually good.
Yay! We also had some cherry flavored brandy that was pretty
decent, but not nearly as good as Slovenian blueberry liker.
Harder to spot than
Sign our guestbook