|Streets such as this make walking around Kotor a delight -- at least when|
they're as free of tourists as this one was at this moment.
For us, the attraction was that it was in Montenegro, a country we knew little about other than its appearance in "Casino Royale," the 2006 James Bond film. And it is the homeland of Rex Stout's fictional detective Nero Wolfe. Our 2019 trip to the Balkans started in Greece, but Croatia was always the primary destination. Montenegro was a stop between Thessaloniki, Greece, and Dubrovnik, Croatia.
For our Balkans itinerary and hotel information, click HERE.
For our visit to Athens, click HERE. Delphi, HERE.
Santorini, HERE. Heraklion, HERE. Chania, HERE.
Hydra, HERE. Thessaloniki, HERE.
Dubrovnik, HERE. Hvar, HERE. Split, HERE.
Zagreb, HERE. Ljubljana, HERE. Piran, HERE. Trieste, HERE. Venice, HERE.
We flew to Tivat, Montenegro, via Belgrade on Air Serbia. From Tivat it was a short taxi ride to one of Kotor's medieval gates. Our taxi driver could take us no farther, so we dragged our suitcases along the stone street to our hotel, Hippocampus, which it turned out was pretty much a straight shot from the gate.
Kotor has much the same charm as Chania and other medieval walled towns. Narrow, strone-paved pedestrian streets, often with flights of stairs; sidewalk restaurants; plazas that allow a sudden blast of sunlight; and shops designed for tourists, not residents. Like most of the places we visited in Greece, there were a lot of cats, tolerated and even catered to, we think, because they keep the towns free of rodents. What makes Kotor special, though, is its location, squeezed almost literally between mountains and the Gulf of Kotor. Whenever you look up, there's a mountain.
As for the gulf, it is deep enough for cruise ships large and small to visit. Indeed, we were told that most visitors come by water. We got out on the water once, taking a boat up to the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks. Supposedly, a sailor centuries ago found a rock in the sea with an image of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Sailors then began depositing rocks in that place as they returned safely from sea. Eventually, the rocks created an island, which now has this church on it. It's a popular excursion from Kotor, along with diving and snorkeling trips. On the way back we stopped to walk around the little waterfront town of Perast, which looks like a place for people who want something akin to Kotor but without the tourists.
Here are some photos.
|Our room at Hippocampus had windows on three sides.|
This view of a neighborhood pub was taken from our room.
|Another view from our room shows a different|
street. The semi-circular roof is part of a church.
|Looking through the West Gate. The harbor is just beyond the parked car.|
|Part of the harbor has been permanently partitioned for swimming. Notice the|
giant cruise ship in the background.
|Smaller vessels crowd the southern end of the harbor.|
|A relatively small cruise ship.|
|Incense rises inside a Kotor church.|
|Walking in Kotor often involves stairs.|
|The city wall and the 13th-century Kampana Tower.|
|The Church of Our Lady of the Rocks attracts boatloads of tourists.|
|The interior of Out Lady of the Rocks.|
|The ceiling of Our Lady of the Rocks.|
|Seaside dining in the little town of Perast, just up from Kotor on the Gulf of Kotor.|
|Even though the country is Montenegro, the mountains|
look white. Montebianco, maybe?
|The walls that go up the mountain are illuminated at night, making them|
more visible than during the day.