Happy Birthday Mama--From Malta to Venice with the Family Day 11--Montenegro, Take 2

Europe » Montenegro » Kotor
June 20th 2016
Published: June 23rd 2016
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Two years ago when we went on our last family cruise, we went to Montenegro. Two years later, another family cruise and we’re stopping in Montenegro. Last time we visited Kotor, Our Lady of the Rock church and were on our way to Budva but the traffic was terrible and we were afraid we’d miss the ship if we went all the way there. Today, much more luck. For one, it was a Regent excursion so no worries about them leaving without us and, secondly, there was not a huge wedding in Budva which there was the last time we in country. Additionally, it was sunny and beautiful today which it was not two years ago.

We woke up early to watch the sail in since Kotor is located at the apex of a fjord. The sail in was indeed lovely. I had ordered room service for breakfast and Julie had said when you order 1 coffee they bring you 1 cup of coffee so I thought we should order more than we thought. Um, maybe not. We were on the balcony by 6:15 watching the scenery float by and at 7:00 on the nose, the door buzzer sounded. They brought in 3 trays of food. Now, it turned out that for ham and salami they had about 6 pieces total on the plate with a big plate cover so it really wasn’t that bad. We consolidated and fixed our individual plates and returned to the balcony, watching these charming coral-colored buildings with red tile roofs that clung to the shores of Montenegro. We saw ruins of monasteries and old walls and fortresses. The walls of the fjord are largely granite and, except for the distinct houses, it could almost be mistaken for Yosemite Valley in California.

The ship docked on time and we were soon cleared for going ashore. We were originally scheduled to be tendered but the captain had announced yesterday that there had been a cancellation and a berth had opened up. Yay! Much easier for all to just walk onshore. Our tour was leaving at 9:15 and our group was Mom, Julie, Steve, Liz, Brian, Katie, Mark and me. We were group 8 (same group number as in Albania—a good sign!) and we were called promptly after checking in. We walked outside and were greeted by Natasha, our guide, who was very friendly and spoke excellent English. Our first stop was Budva, a sea-side village resort with a beautiful old walled city. We walked around the walled city, with Natasha showing us the churches and the old wall. It is interesting how the walls defined place and space through the centuries. Build the walls and they will come? Maybe. That could be a good thing, or not…

After the tour, we walked down to see the coast and port which were beautiful and then visited a couple of the churches. We walked around the town for a bit and then holed up in a café across from our meeting point. We each ordered a local glass of vino (it’s a tradition—don’t judge) and in about 10 minutes the Watkins and Mom came in and joined us. They had less time so they ordered beers and Julie and Mom split a small bottle of wine. We bought a postcard of Budva to send to Nick. On the last cruise, Andrew and Erika were not impressed with Montenegro so we told Nick that when he was older, if he wanted to come visit here, we’d take him.

We met our group and walked to the bus and reboarded to head back to Kotor. Since we had been to Kotor before (that rhymes!), we opted to leave the tour at that point and just wander around on our own. Mom’s idea of wandering is going into all of the shops. Since Mark had done his Yeoman’s duty in Corfu, I told him, “Honey, as soon as you want to bail, bail.” We walked around for a bit, Mark went to the post office to get a stamp to mail the card to Nick (Note: Lines in the post office—the great universal equalizer) during which time I lost Mom and the Watkins and then found them again. Once we all reconnected, we unanimously said, “Mussels for lunch!” at which point Mark said, “Love you. I’m outta here.” There is one food in the world that I will eat and he won’t and that’s mussels. We found a place that said mussels and a glass of wine for €10 and we said SOLD! We wisely opted to order 3 bowls of mussels and 6 glasses of wine for the 6 of us. The mussels were local and cooked in a white wine and garlic broth. Several of the shells had flour stuck inside so it wasn’t the BEST preparation but what do you want for €10? They were huge and delicious. And ordering the 3 bowls was a great idea is even with that, we had probably a half a bowl left over. The setting was lovely in a little outdoor café and we had a lovely lunch.

After lunch I went to look for a hand carved Santa Clause (I collect Santas) and Liz knew just where they were. It was a different shop than the one I had gotten the last Santa from so that was kind of cool. We started wandering towards the ship and ran into Michael and he told us he had walked up the 1500 steps to the fortress above the town. He said it was really tough and he said, “Beth, don’t do it. Julie, think twice.” Thanks, brother. However, I had already decided not to do that so no real offense taken. Brian had gone back to the ship and to bed (these kids are staying out WAY later than us more seasoned folk!) but the rest of the Watkins said they were game. We came back to the ship, I told Mark they were going if he wanted to go and he said, “I think I’ll pass.” Julie had seen one of the dancers from the ship who had hiked the trail and said her legs feel like jelly. Mark said, “Peace out, brother.”

I went back to the room, worked on the blog, took a nap and relaxed a little. As Matt said, I never knew being on a relaxing cruise could be so exhausting!

Mark and I got to Galileo’s for drinks and there was no one there. Yesterday we were late and today, apparently, we’re blazing the trail. Wil came in a bit later and said that he had had THE BEST DAY. He is a fly fishing guide and loves all things nature. He decided to follow a little stream tributary and see where it took him. He said in no time at all he was seeing pools and then waterfalls and then pools and then waterfalls. He turned around, went to get Matt and together they explored. Haven’t seen the pictures but it sounds spectacular. They made it to the top (Matt is a rock climber) and had a ball. What wonderful memories our mom is creating through this cruise!

Dinner was fabulous—the main course was miso-glazed sea bass which was out of this world. I skipped dessert tonight and decided to head to bed early. Tomorrow is another full day. I haven’t been in Dubrovnik for nearly 40 years. Wonder if it’s changed? I’m thinking yes!


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