Sunday, November 29, 2015

3 Days in Kotor

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are no bus stations or designated bus stops in Albania. You pretty much just have to ask a local and hope that their information is up-to-date.

Fortunately, my hostelkeeper Florian knows the area very well, and he was able to get me a taxi to take me to the right roundabout in downtown Shkoder.

So I hopped aboard the furgon, we waited a while for the vehicle to fill up, and then we were headed northwest—passed giant Lake Shkoder and across the Albanian border into…

(drumroll please)

Montenegro! (Yay!) (Hooray!)

First stop: The coastal town of Ulcinj (which, according to some Germans I ran into, is quite a nice place—too bad I didn’t have any time to look around.) The bus drops us off at a somewhat bleak bus station, where—rather than waiting several hours for a bus, I decide to join up with two Ukrainians (?) and take a taxi to my destination city.

My first impression of Montenegro is a positive one: The minute you cross the border the landscape becomes very green. You drive through some small mountains, and then arrive at the Adriatic Coast. We then spend most of the rest of the journey riding along green coastal cliffs and through beautiful towns and cities.

Soon enough we’re traveling along a very pleasant fjord, and then here we are: the city of Kotor.

(“Kotor? What? Never heard of it.”)

[Clears throat. Puts on tweed jacket.] “Ahem. Kotor is an ancient city and World Heritage site founded in Roman times along the Gulf of Kotor. Surrounded by picturesque cliffs and a defensive wall, it’s one of the principal tourist attractions of the nation of Montenegro. Over the centuries, the town has been occupied by Romans, Bulgarians (never underestimate the Bulgarians), Serbians, Italy, and Ragu Sauce. …No, wait. [squints] Ragusa, not Ragu Sauce. The Kingdom of Ragusa—aka, Dubrovnik. Kotor flourished in the Venetian period when merchants…”

According to Wikipedia, someone named Constantine Porphyrogenitus had something to do with the place - which is completely irrelevant, except I think Constantine Porphyrogenitus is an awesome name and I wanted an excuse to write it. Constantine Porphyrogenitus.

Carry on.


Side note: You may notice fewer selfies from this point on (at least until I get back to Germany) - that's because I joined up with my friend, Chris, in Kotor and traveled with him through the rest of the Balkan countries.

Ok, I’m dragging this out because there’s not really much to say about Kotor. It’s in a beautiful setting. It’s a fun place to wander. Three days was probably just a bit too much time to spend there.

It’s like Dubrovnik’s cheaper, quieter, pleasanter little brother. The tradeoff is that there isn’t quite as much to do—but there’s a lot of fun to be had just walking through the narrow, winding, labyrinthine alleys and getting lost.

The hostel we stayed at - Old Town Kotor Hostel - was excellent, and clean, and cheap.

In fact, everything was cheap—the food, the hostel, the museum and church admission prices.

If you do go, be sure to visit all the accessible churches and to hike up the defensive walls—though be warned since the walls are built into the mountainside, the path can get quite steep. The view from the top is well worth the somewhat strenuous hike, however.

("Just show us some pictures, dammit!")

Ok, fine. Pictures. Here you go.

It’s really an immensely photogenic city, even if I inexplicably only ended up with a few dozen photos from here.

We spent three days here, sleeping in late and then wandering among the medieval buildings.

We even had the opportunity to do a photo shoot inside an old abandoned defensive structure built along the wall.

I got a chance to practice my nighttime photography skills:

And then there's the modern part of Kotor, which isn't quite as nice. But that's all right.

It was fun. You should go.

Constantine Porphyrogenitus.

The End.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Place..Love the name, Kotor, reminds me of the name of the town in Thomas,the train. Another place with gorgeous views, cliffs, and water. Like the pictures of you in the defensive structure with the cyrillic writing behind you. The ceiling does seem like its only about a foot taller than you. So happy I get to read about all your adventures ans see your amazing pictures. Live it vicariously so to speak.