Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kotor, Montenegro – October 24, 2012

Kotor, Montenegro – October 24, 2012

When I woke up, I noticed the engines of the ship change, and I wondered if the ship had arrived at the port.  Instead, it had entered the long fjord leading from the Adriatic Sea to Kotor.  When I opened my balcony door and stepped out, I was shocked by the cold temperature, and I decided to put on my jacket before going out to take photos.  As the ship slowly made its way along the fjord, I noticed the deep green vegetation on the mountains on both sides of the fjord, and I noticed the nice homes all along the fjord.  I also noticed many photo opportunities, particularly beautiful reflections in the still water in the early morning.  After a few moments, I decided to go “up top” on the ship so that I could see the scenes and take photos on both sides of the ship.  The temperature was quite cold, and for a while, I was one of only half a dozen people (all men) up there taking photos; after a while, others joined.  For almost two hours the ship made its way up the fjord before finally arriving in the small harbor of Kotor.  All along the way, I took photos of one beautiful scene after another.  What a beautiful place it is.  I had not expected the long fjord, and I had not expected the scenic beauty.

I had decided to take a taxi to the nearby town of Budva, a historic town dating back 2,500 years.  I negotiated with taxi drivers, and found one who had a nice car (Mercedes) and would take me to Budva, wait for me, and bring me back to Kotor for 60 Euros.  I looked for some other people to join me and share the cost, but after waiting for a while, I took off alone.  The drive was very pleasant, with several stops along the way for photos at scenic overlooks, including one place where Madonna had performed, followed the next year by the Rolling Stones. 

Budva is a very upscale tourist resort town, much like Malta, with high-rise hotels, shopping malls, high-end stores, and the general feel of moneyed visitors.  I was told that most of the visitors to Budva are Russians.  I walked through the old walled town with its narrow streets, and then drove through the downtown area.  I was very surprised at the upscale nature and the beauty of the town.  After an hour or so, I returned to the taxi and we returned to Kotor.

Kotor is much smaller than Budva, and far less upscale economically.  The only thing of interest in Kotor is the old walled city, and that is magnificent and far larger than the one in Budva.  I spent the afternoon wandering around in the old town, taking many photos.  It seemed that great photos awaited around every corner.  What a beautiful place Kotor is.  I had no idea that Montenegro was as beautiful as it turned out to be.  At the end of the day, I went “up top” on the ship and took photos as the ship slowly sailed back out through the fjord to the open sea.  It seemed that half the ship was out marveling at the beautiful scenery. 

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