Tivat and the Bay of Kotor

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May 16th 2013
Published: May 18th 2013
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After the walk up the mountainside yesterday we were happy to do a little less exercise today and as the weather had turned on us and was overcast and drizzly at times we had a good lie in and didn't emerge for breakfast until 9am,very late for us.

Lunchtime seemed to arrive very quickly after relaxing with the kindle and catching up on banking,blog and all the other admin things that have to continue while we are away.

The weather by now had cleared to partly cloudy and we needed to get out and stretch our legs so we headed off to Tivat about 5km down the road towards one of the numerous inlets of the Bay of Kotor.

Our apartment is on the flight path to Tivat airport which we discovered is served by small jets from Montenegrian Airlines and a number of charter companys and small European airlines doing tour packages.It has been interesting at times watching the underbelly of the planes coming in on the last approach to the runway and we found that as we drove towards Tivat that in fact the runway started only about 3km down the road.In fact the security fence was right next to the road into the town and the runway started right there too.

Landing at Tivat would have some likeness to Queenstown we decided with towering granite looking mountains close on one side and a lush green moderately sized hill on the other while the approach was down the narrow valley.Taking off would have similarily dramactic with mountains dead ahead and a need to take a sharp left hand turn towards the sea shortly after taking off to avoid the rock face.

Tivat was a quiet small town but had a lot of development underway and had probably been chosen for development over its neighbour Kotor as at least here there was flat land for new buildings.

On the waterfront there was a swish new shopping precinct called Porto Montenegro with what looked like unoccupied apartments 5 or 6 stories above.Beyond the original wharf area where a three mast barquentine sailing ship named 'Jadran' used for training by the Montenegro Navy(there you go you probably thought that a country of this size had no need for a navy)was tied up.The ship built in 1931 was in excellent condition and had had a colourful history including being captured by the Italians in WW2 and renamed the Marco Polo.It came back under the Yugoslavian government in 1946 and took back its original name which relates to the Adriatic sea.

Further along however were a line of super yachts on a quay that had been especially developed for them and in the middle was an 8 story hotel and apartment complex being constructed with completion due for May 2014.The largest of the super yachts had 3 decks and although we wanted to get a bit closer for a look we were kept at bay by security guards and a barrier arm.

The area used to be a naval shipyard in Yugoslavia days and in 2006 was purchased by a Canadian businessman in partnership with reportedly Russia's richest man and a couple of guys from the Rothschild family.This might also explain the private twin engine jet that was on the tarmac at Tivat airport.We guess the super yacht or should say small ship was probably owned by the Russian involved in part owning and financing the project.

On our way to our apartment after the our experience on 'The World's Deadliest Road' we had driven around one side of the Bay of Kotor.To give you some idea of the length of its coastline we had to drive over 20km from where we came down from the mountain road to the bay to reach Kotor.The total length of the coastline is just over 107km so you can get an understanding of the extent of the area and its number of inlets and bays within the fjord like bay.

From Tivat we planned to drive around a good portion of the bay's coastline to Kotor and then back home through the tunnel.

The road to and through Tivat had been a very good two lane carriageway.However on leaving the town that was obviously where the developers money had ended as the road narrowed to basically one lane with the odd passing area available where old style houses were located.As yet the money hasn't come this far and the people who live and own these prime bay side properties have a future of being very rich one day if someone comes along to build the sort of homes you would normally find with prime seaside locations with the most amazing views of water and towering mountains still topped with snow alittle further back from what we had been able to see previously.

The traffic was relatively light but it was a stop start drive as we gave way to opposing traffic,mostly cars,and hoping not to meet a bus!We had a number of photo stops as the scene changed as we travelled along and although we were hoping for the sun to emerge it never did.

At one point we noticed that across the water and up on the mountainside was the outline of the 'World's Deadliest Road' that we got to drive on as we arrived into Kotor and so took some video from afar to remind us the time our adventure stepped up a cog!

We were about 4 or 5 kilometres from Kotor,having travelled about 10 kms from Tivat when our plans were dashed by roadworks.On the road were three workmen clearing broken up tar seal from the stripped road.One of them gestured to us that we couldn't proceed any further and that we would have to turn around and go back to Tivat and access Kotor by the tunnel as there was a big machine tearing up the roadway ahead and there was no way we could get past.Well at least that is what we think he said in the local lingo.

So another 6 point turn(Gretchen is really good at these now even though the C4 is a heavy beast and not that responsive to these tight turns)and we headed back thinking should we be telling all the cars now opposing us not to bother with their journey as they would soon be doing what we had had to do.Why there hadn't been a road closed sign put up somewhere on the road from Tivat we will never know.So we ended up seeing all the scenery twice.A couple of other quick facts about the amazing bay is that at its widest it is 7km and at its narrowest just 0.3km.It is little wonder that the cruise passengers we spoke to yesterday on our mountain climb were hugely impressed with their passage through the narrows.We thought it would be similar to what cruise ship passengers experience coming into Tauranga with the Mount on one side and Matakana on the other except here the scene is much more dramatic with mountains both sides of that narrow gap.With all the turns a ship has to take once it leaves the ocean to reach Kotor it is little wonder it took 2 hours to arrive at the dock.

Back home we tucked into pork steaks we had purchased in our last shopping expedition in Niksic(we are getting brave with our meat purchases now forgetting all about the 'horse meat' scandal that was in the news before we left on the adventure.And we cleaned off the 2 litre bottle of beer as we felt it wouldn't keep all its fizz another day....well that was our excuse anyway.

By the time we were ready for bed the rain had returned,heavier that before and accompanied by thunder and the odd flash of lightning.We can be pleased though as again although the weather hadn't been fine and sunny at least it hadn't sopped another day of local exploration and an opportunity to take in more of what is a quite unique part of our world.

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25th April 2018

Tivat is gate to miracles
Tivat is gate to Montenegro - nice town, but Kotor I like more.

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