Mountains in Montenegro

Kotor Travel Blog

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Kotor from above as we climb

Today’s going to be a long day so we had a 6:30 wake up call and were on the bus by 8:30.  We traveled to Kotor, a medieval walled town on Becci Bay.  Budva and our hotel are both on this bay which has a deep, narrow inlet which looks like a fijord.  Kotor is back in the inlet and framed by mountains.  The town’s walls disappear up the hillsides from both sides of the river flowing into the bay, effectively moating the town.  It’s an impressive sight and the town is constructed of a cream-colored marble that seems to be the bones and framework of this side of the Adriatic Sea. 


The major sights in the town were its three gates and two old churches.  The Cathedral of St.

Kotor street
Tripun is Romanesque and St. Nicola is Orthodox and contains old icons.  We walk through all three gates and a short portion of the town wall.  There are numerous narrow little passageways spiraling off, up and down, just asking to be explored.

 

Our day’s tour guide is Stephan, a native of Kotor, who is very proud of everything Montenegrin.  He informs us that the tiny country has four distinct climate zones and altitude from zero at sea level up to 3,000 feet.  We’re about to experience all this since we’re going up a mountain road with 25 switchbacks to reach Cetinje on the other side of the Montenegrain mountains.  Fortified at the top of the mountain by a snack that would be lunch under normal circumstances (wine, bread, cheese and prosciutto)  we continue to the old Royal city of Cetinje and its Palace.  King Nicolas ruled here in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. 

 

By now I’ve gotten the impression that Montenegro has survived pretty much by its wits.  King Nicolas wielded power and enriched Montenegro by marrying off five or six of his pretty daughters to the crowned heads of Europe.

remains of walled fields
  The current Tourist Board has managed to snare a Rolling Stones concert and Madonna is due here in six days for a concert also.  The country managed to base its currency on the Euro without actually having to join or abide by the EU rules.  Not bad for a very small, very new country with no resources other than mountains, seacoast and some Venetian relics.  This is not high culture but it is very clever marketing and survival tactics.

 

They have needed these tactics.  Given poor rocky soil and high mountains with a coastline easily invaded by Turks, Venetians, Austrians and anybody else with a navy, the Montenegreans have retreated into the mountains when attacked.  They survived there, independent, subsisting on what they could farm on tiny rocky plots.  The stone walls of the tiny terraces are still visible all through the mountains.  Seemingly no area is too remote for a farm.

 

We have “lunch” at 5:30.  Lunch seems to be any meal with more than one course and we are taken back to the hotel.  By now we’re not interested in dinner.  I stick my feet in the Adriatic sea which seems cold and swim in the hotel’s inside pool which is heated.   That was enough for one day.

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Kotor from above as we climb
Kotor from above as we climb
Stephan, our guide in Montenegro
Stephan, our guide in Montenegro
Kotor street
Kotor street
remains of walled fields
remains of walled fields
the hotel beach
the hotel beach
Kotor
Kotor
Kotor
Kotor
Kotor
Kotor
Kotor walls climbing up the mounta…
Kotor walls climbing up the mount…
Kotor gate
Kotor gate
Kotor gate
Kotor gate
Dino, our program manager, at the …
Dino, our program manager, at the…
the Royal Palace
the Royal Palace
the lunch stop
the lunch stop
Kotor
Kotor
typical church
typical church
Kotor
photo by: benwielenga