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Published: September 13th 2021
Our last and final day in this beautiful country. We had breakfast (bacon and eggs!) before loading up the bus one last time. We had a three hour drive down to our last stop: Bay of Kotor. This place is probably what most people think of when they hear "Montenegro". It's like a fjord, with two large bays and narrow access to the Adriatic Sea. It is very mountainous, so the internal bay at least has one narrow road that winds between the mountains and the bay, and a few little villages dotting the coast. It was already beautiful. We had had only one short stop on the way down for a coffee for the others and bathroom break because we were on a strict schedule to make our boat ride at 11am.
We had some amazing views from the road above, but eventually made our way to the base and along the coastal road, finally stopping in the small town of Perast. While waiting on half the group to use the restroom, we got some nice photos of the village. Approximately 200 of the buildings are protected to preserve their historical status, but much of the buildings are empty
with people leaving for jobs. Then we quickly boarded the boat and were soon circling the two small islands in the Bay: Saint George and Our Lady of the Rocks, which was apparently created due to sailors starting to throw large rocks at a small outcrop on return from their journey to sea and are now thrown for luck. After circling the two islets, we then made our way to the Old Town of Kotor. It was a pleasant ride, sharing our last bottle of the delicious homemade wine (we had to stop another boat for a corkscrew!). There were many beautiful little villages and churches at the base of the high mountains. Milan told us there was a hiking trail at the top of the mountain ridge, which sounded somewhat tempting... for another time - I cannot get over the beautiful hikes here!
We arrived at a small jetty and made a short walk towards Old Town. Milan got us our tickets at the entrance as well as giving us each a large map of the town. The most incredible part is that there is still a stone wall encircling the town, going all the way up the
hills, that you can still walk up. It was very cool and I wish we could have hiked up to the top, but Milan said it would take about 90 minutes, which did not give us enough time to have lunch and then go to the airport. So at the entrance, we split ways and toured the old town. It was so nice and reminded me a lot of Diocletian's palace in Split, where so many buildings and shops and such were built within the walls. Luke and I decided to wander about, though we encountered the other people throughout the day. Milan had told us there was craft center, but we were very disappointed with it as I did not see any thing resembling homemade crafts for souvenirs.
Our first stop was the Church of St Nicholas, built in 1909. It was simple but lovely. Just outside were the ruins of the Dominican Monastery and then a beautiful staircase that seemed to be popular as a photo op. Then we made our way to the plaza where St Luke's is because... you know, but did not go in. We wandered through the narrow streets and alleys, and then
came to the plaza in front of Grgurina Palace (1732), which was also photogenic (like everything here). Next to that was St Tryphon's Cathedral, built in about 1166. More wandering about, then were infant of Pima Palace, which was lovely but had a tour group in front so no good photos. Luke and I had been a bit disappointed in that we never got pizza on this whole trip and even though we knew we had a nice lunch waiting for us at 2pm, we were still craving it - if you've read my Croatia blog, you'll know that I love Croatian pizza and we knew it would be similar. So, we stopped at a little shop (had to wear masks inside!) and got one slice of cheese pizza and water, then found a spot to sit: a stairway near an open part of the main entry plaza. We split it down the middle and it was just as good as we had hoped! Then we wandered around the southwest part of the walls of the town, starting at the Duke's Palace, walking along the outside taking pictures of the bay from there. Then we walked along the Kampana Tower
to the Bembo Bastion, which was under construction, then down the stairs toward the northwest end of town, near the River Gate. This brought us near to the Church of St Mary. While walking here, we had noted an American couple, the guy taking photos and said "isn't this beautiful??" Without looking up, she was tossed her hair and said "Yeah, totally. Where are the shops?" We both knew what was coming as soon as the guy asked the question and it did not disappoint. And now, this is a running theme "Yeah, totally."
Then we wandered some more throughout the town, looking for some souvenirs (little luck). I had been wanting an Italian leather purse for a while and hoped I could find one here, but it did not look promising. As we walked by one shop and I slowed to look in the window, the guy said "come in! they're almost real!" Luke and I burst out laughing - "almost real" made it real easy to move along and that was that. And that became the second running joke of the day. Such as I bought a cheap little ring from one of the shops, and later
that day I noticed that my finger was getting stained around the ring, and Luke was like "well, I guess it's almost real."
Anyway it was getting near to two so we headed towards the restaurant at the hotel at Duke's Palace, where we ran into Milan. He suggested he join us up on the terrace where lunch was about to be set out. Soon, everyone joined us. Luke, G and I ordered a bottle of Serbian white wine - it was yum. We had previously made our orders the day before as it was a set menu with three options: Vegetarian, Fish or Meat. They all sounded great, but I was alternating between the first two, finally settling on the fish. The selling point for me was the octopus salad; I had never had octopus before so I wanted to try it. Plus it sounded light. But the vegetarian dish actually looked delicious as well. The octopus salad was interesting, but the octopus was a little heavy for me, but Luke loved it. Next was a fish stew, which was nice and light. And then the grilled fish with cauliflower and broccoli - very yum. And finally, there
was a milk cake which had a good flavor, but I am not a sweets person, so Luke finished that off.
After this, we met Beco at the bus and headed to the airport. We said goodbye to our guide and driver - they were absolutely amazing. Hands down, the best guides I have had on my trekkup trips (though I have had some good ones before too!). It was quick and easy to get through customs, but the flight looked very full. There are only like 3 flights and the departure lounge was busy. But there is nothing to do there. At all. Not even a little restaurant or takeaway. They have a narrow, tiny duty free shop with a very small selection. So.. the airport is functional, but not at all fun. I mostly sat on the floor listening to my audible book and looking at the great scenery. Then we walked to the plane, squeezed in and flew home. Bye Montenegro - this is one of those countries that I do plan to return to and highly, highly recommend!!!
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