This is my original blog for all our non-caravanning trips since 2009 and more recently posts about coming to terms with being single again having been widowed in 2018. And anything else too really!

My caravanning blog is (Get Your) Legs Down and all our trips in the caravan are there. My grog blog is The Ale Archive where I list every beer I’ve ever tried.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sojourn on the Solstice Pt 4

A nice relaxing day at sea today after visiting Kotor, Montenegro yesterday. I didn't think it could get any better than Venice, but I was wrong.

We went through the inlet from the Adriatic, a little before nine o'clock and the most beautiful scenery appeared before us. Soaring limestone mountains, their summits hiding amongst clinging cloud cover, the sun appearing over the tops of the lower peaks from the east, the little houses nestling along the waterside, just delightful.

Kotor 29-10-2011 (70) Kotor 29-10-2011 (85) 

We eased further in towards our anchor point in the Bay of Kotor. What first appeared as a gentle mist just hovering over the surface of the water became a full blown fog as we moved closer. Several long, penetrating blasts on the ships horn ensured any other vessels would be aware of our presence. Looking at the average age of the passengers, and the reaction of some, the ships doctor was guaranteed a busy morning too.......

Kotor 29-10-2011 (82) Kotor 29-10-2011 (87) Kotor 29-10-2011 (89)

As we reached our stopping point though, the fog cleared  and revealed Kotor in all it's glory. It really is the most idyllic little town, nestled at the base of the mountains on the waters edge.

We had pre-booked a tour - unusually for us - and were tendered to the shore a little after eleven. They do have a docking area here and indeed most cruise ships will fit. Our beast however is just too big and too deep, so had to remain anchored a little way out.

Our first stop on the coach was the little village of Njegusi, way up in the mountains. Each hairpin was numbered, and there were 25 in all, our tour guide proudly announced. The road was extremley narrow too, barely enough room for the coach never mind anything coming the other way. Some great views were to be had though as we wound our way up the mountain side. 

We've been on roads like this many times on our travels - Arthurs Pass in New Zealand (now sadly bypassed, dodging the falling rocks whilst constantly changing down gears was 'interesting') - and the road around the southern hills to Puerto de Mogan in Gran Canaria - made particularly interesting when the bus driver is more interested in his 'phone than the road ahead are just two that spring to mind. Some of our trans atlantic cousins - used no doubt to multi-lane highways down to the local shops - clearly weren't quite as comfortable with it!

We were over 3000 feet, or 950 meters up when we had our first stop. I hope the pictures give you an idea of just what a wonderful place this is.

Kotor 29-10-2011 (95)Kotor 29-10-2011 (39)

A short while later we were at the village of Njegusi, home to just 45 families. Locally produced smoked ham and cheese are the specialities here and we were given a plate of both at the local restauarant together with a bottle of the local grog - we settled for beer, but wine, and just about anything else was on offer too. The beer was good, the ham was really tasty and the cheese was just divine - and a pleasant change from the tasteless rubber they serve on the ship. A great shame too because the rest of the food has, so far, been excellent. Kotor 29-10-2011 (35)

A little further on, we stopped at a smokery to see where the hams are cured. Over  100,000 Euros worth of meat hung above and to the sides of us. It is cured, we were told, for a minimum of four months and usually six. Whatever, it tasted great. Sadly fussy EU laws prohibit it from being sold in Europe - such a pity.

Next up, was Cetinje and a stop for a stroll and coffee - just as well, as the beer and the sun through the window of the coach was having a rather soporific effect. A very pleasant place, once home to many foreign embassies, most now converted to museums and the like. Locals can be seen chopping up large logs in preparation for the winter.

Having began our descent, we were soon back at sea level - at the town of Budva, a popular seaside resort with stunning views from it's nineteen beaches. Development in Montenegro is pretty rampant, lots of money has been flowing in since the end of the war in the nineties, more so since Montenegro became independent from Serbia in 2006. Crippling inflation and plummeting of the local currency resulted them in adopting the Euro although they are not 'in' Europe as such (lucky them).

Tourism is the main industry and they are pretty serious about it, however between May and September no building or development is permitted around the coastal resorts. There's many a family in Britain who wish that had been the rule in Greece, Spain and the like I bet!

Soon it was back to Kotor. We said goodbye to our driver, who had done a great job seing us safely around the mountain roads. We had a short tour of the old town, which was just wonderful. you could just imagine staying in one of the hotels here sampling the fayre at the little restaurants in the squares. An excellent value tour made even better by a knowledgeable and friendly guide.

Kotor 29-10-2011 (116) Kotor 29-10-2011 (119)

Back on the ship we stood on deck as the light waned and the whole area took on a new beauty as - although by this time the batteries in the camera were well and truly exhausted. Soon after six, the anchor was raised and the ship slowly turned and headed slowly back to the Adriatic and on to Naples.

There was no need to add this place to 'the list' - we had done that already - many hours ago.

Good Bye Montenegro, will see you again soon - there's no doubt.

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