18 to 22 August, 24 to 29 August, 2 to 7 September, 9 to 15 September, 17 to 27 September 2018
Kotor’s position at the foot of the sheer Lovćen mountains immediately sent it straight to the top of the list of spectacular places Pintail has taken us to and a place we found very difficult to leave.
Between 18 August and 27 September we left Kotor a few times to anchor elsewhere in the bay but soon found ourselves back either at anchor or on the pontoon just outside the walls.
Never have we had such a view from the companionway. It never stopped making our jaws drop.
At anytime of the day or night the views were just incredible. One thing was for sure, killing time in Kotor was no hardship.
The high mountains were a towering backdrop to the Old Town.
Even the supermarket was dwarfed by cliffs!
Through the thick Venetian city walls
is a maze of small squares connected by narrow streets full of vast mansions dating back to the 13th century
and uniform green shutters and doors in every square and down every narrow alley.
There were some very quirky corners: giant seagulls, giant benches and giant’s laundry.
Of course it was too much to ask to have this beautiful town to ourselves and we shared it with the one, often two and sometimes three cruise ships who came in every day. We learnt to wait until they had left to go into town if we wanted to wander the alleys unimpeded by sticker wearing, I-pad brandishing cruisers. We also learnt that Kotor has had a stern warning from UNESCO about the number of tourists it lets in for fear of it losing its authenticity. It certainly felt as thought it had given itself over to tourism at the cost of its resident population more than other old towns we have been to.
Having already spent a month in Montenegro and having decided it was the best place for Stefan to stay with the boat while I returned back to London for my brother’s wedding party we needed to renew our sailing permit. So the morning after we survived the Thunderbolts and lightening we paid a visit to the harbourmaster to get our new red vinjeta giving us permission to sail in Montenegro another month.
Regular readers will know that if there is a climb The Rules dictate that it must be climbed and there has been no greater climb than that to St John’s Fortress above Kotor for the view back across the bay. Stefan made the climb twice. Once with the Sissies whilst I nursed a hacking cough on our very first visit to the town and again with Harry while I was in the UK.
I couldn’t leave Kotor without making the hike and so decided that my birthday was as good a day as any to do it. 1300 steps seemed a good start to my 48th year! With temperatures still quite high doing the climb in the early morning while the sun was yet to rise above the mountains meant shade all the way up.
Pretty blue flowers took my mind off the drops that got worse the higher I went.
The chapel Gospa od Zdravlja made a welcome rest stop about a third of the way up.
Heeding the warning about the increasing risks the higher I went I eventually made it inside the fortress walls.
But the best bit of the climb was getting an aerial view of the Old Town and the bay.
It being my birthday, having climbed back down, I treated myself to my favourite iced coffee in my favourite Kotor coffee shop for my efforts.
We were in Kotor so long that we firmly established not just our favourite coffee shop but our favourite (although very grumpy) baker, our favourite restaurant, our favourite pizza place and our favourite market stalls at the market a stone’s throw from the boat on the quay. We enjoyed olives from our favourite olive seller, fruit and vegetables from our favourite stall, too much cheese from our favourite cheese seller and best of all for Stefan an albeit intermittent supply of hot chillies from his favourite chilli man!
We would eventually leave Kotor with almost enough cheese, dried fruit, nuts and other goodies to sink a ship…