Tag Archives: Montenegro

Monday Washing Lines – Kotor in Montenegro

 

Welcome to my latest theme. Monday Washing Lines.

Monday: Wash Day. Tuesday: Ironing Day. Wednesday: Sewing Day. Thursday: Shopping Day. Friday: Cleaning Day. Saturday: Baking Day. Sunday: Day of Rest.

Someone has taken a lot of trouble to get the presentation of this washing line right in Kotor, Montenegro…

I do believe that whoever pegged this load out has made a very good job of it.  My only slight criticism is the unnecessary coloured dress or whatever it is.

It is a Challenge.  Do feel free to join in…

On This Day – Kotor in Montenegro

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 13th June 2010 I was visiting the city of Kotor in the Balkan country of Montenegro…

Kotor Postcard

The border crossing between Croatia and Montenegro is not without considerable difficulty and lengthy delays because these two are uneasy neighbours (Montenegran Troops were responsible for the siege of Dubrovnic) and it all a bit officious but once through in front of us we could see the black mountains and after we passed through the busy and rather untidy outskirts of the city of Herceg Novi the road reached the sea and started to follow the winding coast line of the picturesque Bay of Kotor.

Once in this new country the first stop came quite quickly at a lay-by with a good view both east and west and looking across to the Italianate town of Perast, once an important independent Venetian ship building town but now rapidly becoming a modern tourist trap.

There was a small market and a jewellery stall in one corner of the lay-by and while Kim looked at sparkly things on chains I examined an information board about the Bay.  In the middle were about twenty clear holes about the thickness of a pencil and on closer examination I realised that they were bullet holes.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end because whoever had been using the sign for target practice was clearly a very good shot and it occurred to me that I could be in the cross-hairs of someone’s rifle sights even as I stood there.

I was beginning to become aware that Montenegro might be rather different to anywhere else that I had been before and I wasn’t inclined to hang around any longer than necessary so I encouraged Kim to hurry up and leave without a purchase and we carried on  without further delay around the bay.

There are strict driving rules in Montenegro but these don’t seem to apply to local people and my use of the road was continuing to irritate people and several times I was tooted and invited to pull over by motorists using hand signals that you won’t find in the Highway Code but I didn’t let this intimidate me and I continued sedately on, pulling over whenever I could to let agitated motorists pass me by.

Kotor 02

Eventually we arrived in Kotor without further incident and I found it much bigger than I imagined it would be from the descriptions in the travel guides and there was a six deck, two thousand passenger cruise liner tied up at the dock which was so huge it dwarfed the town and looked sadly out of place.  I may have mentioned this before but I really do not like these cruise ships.

At 35º centigrade it was extremely hot so we were pleased to go through the main gate of the old town and into the shaded cooler streets inside, Kim because she was out of the sun and me because she had stopped complaining about it.

It was busy inside because Kotor old town is quite small with a population of about five and a half thousand and it was playing host to the holidaymakers from the cruise liner and hundreds of others as well which temporarily more than doubled the population.

Once again there was a distinct Italianate feel because the old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by an impressive city wall that was built by Republic of Venice and the Venetian influence remains dominant among the architectural styles around the main squares and up and down the tight twisting streets.

Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site and inside the walls the narrow sinuous streets took us past little picturesque shops, cafés, bars, antique monuments and cream stone buildings, balconies overflowing with billowing flowers, washing lines full of immaculate laundry and the overwhelming smell of laundry powder and fabric conditioner.

Kotor Washing Line

The old town of Kotor is wedged in between the rugged Bay and at the foot of the imposing Lovćen massif mountain range directly under overhanging limestone cliffs of the mountains Orjen and Lovćen.  At the back of the town there was an entrance to a demanding walk up the vertical mountain to visit the city walls but today it was too hot for us to even consider tackling it especially in flimsy sandals on slippery stones and paths with warnings of danger clearly signposted.  So we made do with admiring it all from sea level and then slipped back into the maze of streets and looked for a bar away from the blistering heat of the unrelenting sun which was reflecting off the buildings and radiating around the paved squares and open spaces.

Kotor wasn’t quite what we were expecting it has to be said and we found it untidy and scruffy, the cruise ship spoilt it in a way because the old town was overcrowded and the hulking mass of the ship destroyed the charm of the seafront and the harbour.  The cafés and bars were more expensive than I imagined they would be, certainly pricier than in Croatia, but I thought the old town was nice enough and we sat in the shade in a corner of one of the small squares and drank  a Montenegrin beer called Niksicko, which despite its rather unpromising name was really quite nice.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

Croatia Montenegro Border Controls

Border Controls – Croatia to Montenegro

First of all we had to get out of Croatia and this involved a fifteen minute wait while the only man on duty was dealing with traffic coming in the opposite direction before a second man finally arrived to deal with traffic going into Montenegro.

And then after a couple of kilometres we had to stop again and be processed by the Montenegrin border guards.  These guys were really thorough and although there were only two vehicles in front of us this took another fifteen minutes of passport and hire car details scrutiny before we were allowed to proceed.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

By the time we had walked underneath the walls of St John’s Tower and into the old harbour I was beginning to understand why in 1929 George Bernard Shaw described Dubrovnik as ‘Paradise on Earth’ and thankfully the post war reconstruction has restored the old town to its former splendour.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Abandoned Hotel, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The water taxi left from the little harbour in the village and we waited in the already hot sunshine until it arrived at ten o’clock and then selected seats on the upper deck and sat and sweltered while we waited for it to leave.

Eventually the crew cast off and followed the coast towards the city and then we saw something unexpected and nothing like we had seen before on previous visits to Croatia, a string of war damaged bombed out hotels at regular intervals all the way to Dubrovnik.  This we learned later was the legacy of an invasion by Montenegro during the secessionist wars of the 1990s.

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Montenegro, Hercig Novi and return to Croatia

After the squares we climbed a stairway of worn shiny steps to get to the entrance of the fortress which stands at the top of the town overlooking the harbour below.  Inside there were walls to walk and views to admire, nothing like Dubrovnik of course, but pleasant all the same and worth the small admission fee.  It didn’t take long to complete the visit to the fortress so we walked back down and had a welcome cold drink in a bar in the main square next to the town’s old drinking fountain and the Serbian Orthodox Church in the centre.

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Montenegro, Hotel Casa del Mare

The Casa del Mare it has to be said was a curious hotel; a bizarre mix of excellence, comic and incompetence.  This had started the moment that we arrived when a paperwork mix-up (their description) had led to confusion about room allocation, which turned out well for us because we had to be upgraded to one of the best rooms in the small eight bedroom hotel which we didn’t mind at all.

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Montenegro, Sveti Stefan and Budva

The next stage of the drive took us through and out of the National Park and on to the city of Cetinje, which, for a big city, had a curious absence of helpful road signs and we drove around the same streets several times looking for the main coast road.  Cetinje didn’t look especially exciting on a lazy Sunday afternoon, an old-fashioned sort of place with wide, tree-lined boulevards and grand public buildings, many of them fallen into disuse.

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Montenegro, Lovcen National Park

We had another busy day planned today and quite a long drive so we woke early and after breakfast set off in the car towards the National Park of Lovcen with a plan to go from there to the coast and visit Sveti Stefan and Budva.

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Montenegro, Kotor and Perast

It was busy inside because Kotor old town is quite small with a population of about five and a half thousand and it was playing host to the holidaymakers from the cruise liner and hundreds of others as well which temporarily more than doubled the population.  Once again there was a distinct Italianate feel because the old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by an impressive city wall that was built by Republic of Venice and the Venetian influence remains dominant among the architectural styles around the main squares and up and down the tight twisting streets.

Read the full story…