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Published: July 23rd 2013
We chose Kotor because the photos of the bay looked extremely inviting, and also because of rich cultural heritage and a possibility to swim.
We flew with JAT Airways from Beograd to Tivat, took a taxi to Kotor Old Town for 15 Euros (rather expensive for such a short distance – quite reachable by foot but there is a long tunnel through the mountain), and, having grasped a map at Tourist Information Centre, entered the fortress gates while following the printed hostel directions which proved helpful – our feet came directly to its door within no time and not a single deviation from the correct path. The old town immediately left a deep impression on me, it felt so cozy though narrow and with lots of outdoor cafes and crowds of tourists, but nevertheless, as soon as we were shown our double room (in a separate building from the hostel reception), which had an uncomfortably low ceiling making us bend almost from the very entrance, I suggested our going for a walk and swim. By the way, Alexey remained sleeping in Novi Sad, his flight home was in the evening, so he did not need
to hurry to the aerodrome with us. We immediately connected to wifi, sent some emails, and set off, the intention being just to observe the sights encountered during the way to the beach and to devote the post-swimming period for a more detailed tour. And all this despite my having only two hours of sleep. Without having seen much of Montenegro, I suppose it is safe to say that Montenegro is at its best in Boka Kotorska. I may also affirm that the place is not actually so much an area for beach-lovers, because there is only a narrow strip of pebble along the perimeter and the water was cold, the more suitable beaches are definitely located further along the coastline. Cruising ships also honour the town, we saw two huge ones on anchor. I didn’t get much swimming pleasure during the stay, except perhaps a short expedition to Herсeg Novi (Igalo) where water was warmer (read further).
Above the town we noticed the walls and a church, so naturally after the swim and a bite we went there, paying a fee of 3 Euros for the entrance to the fortress. Though, indeed, one might go there
for free, because no inspectors were met during the ascent or found hidden on the rocks in the bushes. The fortifications were built during the Venetian period. On the left side of the panorama rises the majestic rock, making the view really unforgettable (I’m not sure whether it’s Lovcen). The ancient walls stretch for 4.5 km directly above the town. It was rather tiresome to ascend because of the steepness and the heat of the day, but all sweat was rewarded a thousandfold. There were men at several locations offering cold drinks, and visitors ascending or descending in twos or threes. The walls were built by truly ingenious people, because it must have been strenuous working on rocks which might slip under you any minute. I could not figure out whether the enemies attacked them from the water or from the mountain side, but definitely that was not an easy matter. The location provided excellent control over the bay. I imagined mediaeval knights in armour clambering with terrific noise of clashing metal, while town defenders poured hot tar and shot arrows at them... The ascent trail is rather dangerous, there being two distinct parts of it in some places: one
of good stone stairs, the adjacent one simply a path of boulders. From the top, you can really see the grandeur of the place, with majestic rocks rising almost out of the water and enclosing the town and the bay on all sides. We descendedafter having reached the St. John’s fortress.
We wanted to find a travel agency to arrange an excursion to Albania and generally have an idea of “the market”; the tourist info centre gave as two addresses: we found one office, but I was immediately shocked by the prices – they offered only individual tours, and the prices ranged from about 150 to 250 Euros per person for almost any excursion, so I quickly said good-bye, thank you, we'll perhaps come later, and thus the dream of our visiting Albania was demolished for the moment. Actually, there are so many offered excursions to any place in the vicinity and neighbouring countries, but you need to be a large group to split down the price to a reasonable amount or be a rich daddy. While there are bus connections from Kotor to Dubrovnik, Montenegro has no bus routes to Albania. Nevertheless, Albania
stays where it stays so I suppose to see it next year probably because next year I’m definitely not going to Crna Gora, in spite of all my love towards it. I also discarded the idea of visiting Dubrovnik because, first, Vasily could not join me because he had no Schengen visa, and, second, I received a piece of work. Third, that tour would anyhow be too hurried, which I did not want for the time being.
Vasily went to swim while I went to see a couple of other notable buildings within Stari Grad, including a church; huge pants hanged on rope with socks, apparently belonging to a giant or Gulliver, and the remains of a monastery. I then joined Vasily on the beach and we had lunch when I suggested going to Herсeg Novi today instead of tomorrow. It was a great idea and we immediately went to the bus station; the bus came some 10 minutes late and we were soon winding along the coastal road passing an almost uninterrupted chain of settlements and making many stops to add or disembark passengers: Dobrota, Perast, Risan, and plenty of others. The journey took some 1.30
hours. From Herceg Novi bus station, we went the wrong way (in the direction opposite to Stari Grad), found a crowded narrow beach (the area called Igalo), with water pleasantly warmer than in Kotor. Also, more of the sea revealed itself. What I don’t (or do?) like on beaches is the beautiful sexy female buttocks and legs passing to and fro. Shortly afterwards, we asked the tourist information centre for directions to Stari Grad and were sent to a local bus station, but I thought it more prudent to take a taxi – time was of the essence (taxi cost 5 Euros). We visited the old town with its Kanli Kula fortress offering guess what? - Stunning sea views.
I stayed at home while Vasily went to Perast (a coastal town very close to Kotor, with churches on Sveti Đorđe and Gospa od Škrpijela islets) alone, making me somewhat angry because it was I who provided him with the data about Perast and first suggested going there, but was myself unable to go and became envious.
On July 18, we came to Beograd at about 5 pm. Having had
a lunch at McDonalds, we were going outside and then a magical thing happened right in front of the door - I saw a folded piece of paper, bent down to collect it and, glancing, quickly pocketed it because it was a One Thousand Dinars note. Somebody might have been upset that evening or might have failed to purchase a Big Mac, but I was glad. I spent the whole thousand on books – we found an excellent choice of cheap old books both in Serbian and other European languages in a street sidestepping from Knez Mihailova Street.
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