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Published: August 4th 2019
Four ports in Four days.
We stepped out on the pier and into a wooden boat for a short sail to the Old Town. There are now hotels along the coast as tourism continues to grow in importance here. The old town is walled against invaders but during the Balkan war it was besieged by the Yugoslav troops and it took weeks before the siege was broken. Bullet holes are visible on the walls as a re I dear of that dreadful time.
In 1666 a massive earthquake devastated more f the Romanesque architecture and the town was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. I would love to show you the wonderful pictures I took but (Drat, Damn, and Oh Sh-t) I deleted them by mistake. That was a first.
After a walk around in the hot midday sun we stopped for a porter and the cooling boat ride back to the ship.
The sun wiped us out so it was nap time, happy hour, dinner and enjoying the music at the Rolling Stone Rock Room. The band here is quite good.
Today we road up a narrow winding road to a not quite deserted village in the mountains. Recently the population has doubled to two permanent residents. A fellow from the city opened the old Catholic Church for a look see. On holidays like Christmas and Easter Mass is still celebrated here. Around the corner was a restaurant where we were entertained by local musicians who seemed to actually enjoy playing for us.
We were served donut hole sized donuts with local honey. Yum. Then smoked ham and cow cheese that I enjoyed but Joe didn’t care for. We had local grappa (think moonshine or rocket fuel) wine, Coke, apple juice or water. I, of course, tried everything but the Coke. Thus fortified we headed down the same narrow road to Old Kotor Town.
We passed through the main gate and began our walking tour when I spied a sign for the Cat Museum. Unable to resist, we left the tour and entered. Kotor has lots of cats, so they say, and although free to roam they are not feral and are respected by tourist and local alike. The “Museum” encompassed two small rooms filled with cat pictures, cartoons, coins, stamps and all kinds of print material related to felines. I took lot of pictures but see fore mentioned whoops.
The sun was very strong and radiated from the stone walks and walls. We decided that is was time to head back. The rest of the day was pretty much the same except I was finally able to see Bohemian Rhapsody on the big screen. The sound wasn’t great and there was noise from the pool but since I knew much of the dialogue by heart I just sat back and enjoyed the music.
It was another clear blue skied day and our bus picked us up on the pier. The harbor welcomes cruise ships as well as numerous ferries to Italy or the Croatian Islands and the traffic was beyond describing. We were off to the village of Srijane and our guide Bobo owns a home there. It usually takes about 45 minutes to reach the village, today it took about an hour longer.
We were greeted by some grappa and then homemade brandy served by Sonia, Bobo’s wife who makes it herself. We sampled plum, orange, walnut but the best was lemon, sort of like lemonchello. Least you wonder, each sample was served in a small shot glass.
Bobo explained how life was in his Great Grandfather’s day when he owned the farm, how horse power was used to winnow the wheat and the grain was brought to the mill and the chaff fed the animals in the winter.
We proceeded to tables and watch d Nadia make a local speciality. Unleavened dough was rolled thin and then a second. Chopped Swiss chard and onions were spread evenly and the second crust was placed on top and the edges pinched to seal. The “pie” was placed on a hot stone in front of a fireplace and covered with burning ashes. When cooked the ashes were brushed off and garlic and olive oil spread on top. It was delicious.
There was much more. Just when we thought the meal was done another course appeared. Salad, smoked ham and cheese, roasted chicken, pork and potatoes and those delicious donuts all served with wine or water.
It was a wonderful look into Croatian life. Did I mention that we were entertained by authentic Croatian folk music? The food, the music, the host and hostess made us feel more like family than tourists. It was one of the best tours I ever enjoyed.
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