Monday, 22 August 2011

The Wrong Song in Kotor, Montenegro

13 August 2011. Normally the first day of a cruise would be a day at sea. This allows passengers to get accustomed to any motion that there may be and also provides time for the lifeboat drill which is required by law within 24 hours of boarding a ship. All passengers are required to attend.

On the Adriatic Explorer however we have a port visit - Kotor in Montenegro - to look forward to. To accomodate the lifeboat drill we will arrive at lunchtime and sail away a bit later at 11:00pm. So a second day where we have a chance to see somewhere after dark!

To approach Kotor we have to sail along what they call the deepest fjord in southern Europe. It is some 28 kilometres long and as I hadn't realised we weren't sailing until after dark, I stuck my nose in a book on the sun deck and ignored it entirely... Duh...

The bits I did see - and we were in it a long time - were spectacular! It is our first visit to Montenegro. All day long the song Montego Bay is going through my head even though it's about a totally different country on the other side of the world and the word "Montenegro" does not fit into the same space as "Montego"...

Kotor is a medieval walled city with earlier roots. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Best of all the ship docks so close that we can just walk down the gangway and into the heart of the city in a couple of minutes.

Kotor is a delight of narrow alleyways, very worn marble paving and cobbled squares, surrounded by ancient palaces and churches. Scrawny cats stalk the alleyways that were made so that even two donkeys would have to be skinny to pass each other!

We come out at one side to the city wall and pond seen in the second photo. Walking away from the old city we come to a more ancient ruin but with nothing to tell us what we are looking at.

We re-enter the city and walk through a different route to the far side, passing again under the wall to a river and what looks like a leat, running from a building that must have had a mill as its predecessor.

The walls run up an almost sheer mountainside to a fortress far above us. The walls meld into the mountainside. Come dark we will see them far more easily so we'll have a look at them in the next entry.

Instead we'll take a look at the mysterious yellow floating umbrellas that suddenly confront us round a corner from the main square. As we pass into this small piazza people, looking upwards, walk into each other with tiny muttered apologies in a multitude of languages...

We head back out through the main entrance arch under the walls and are immediately faced by the bulk of the Thomson Spirit standing just the other side of the road.

Back on the ship we head up to the Horizons Bar where the irrepressible Aiza is practicing the phrases taught to her by some Geordies last week: "Why-aye man! Cheeky booger...." Priceless!

Large versions of the photos: all of the photos from this holiday will appear in this set at Flickr.

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