Perast is perfection!

Trip Start Aug 27, 2009
Trip End Sep 17, 2009

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Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Perast -- September 8

Today we slept in and after breakfast did some chores. Efren got a haircut for 10 euro (a pretty good one, too), and Craig went to the Montenegro Airlines office to confirm our flights for the next day to Pristina, Kosovo.  We went to the market to buy some fruit, and noticed the local bus to Perast sitting right there.  Since we planned to go to Perast anyway later in the day, we decided to jump on the bus and make the 20km trip to Perast.

Perast is a beautiful little town that was a mighty power back in the day.  The city fell into decline once the Austrians took over, and as a result little was built here in the past 200 years.  The final product is a wonderfully preserved little slice of Venetian history.  We visited the Church of St. Nikola right on the waterfront and were impressed with the apse and museum.  We then climbed the pigeon-poop encrusted bell tower for fine views across Perast and the Bay of Kotor. 

The main draw for Perast are the 2 little islands sitting out in the bay.  The first is Lady of the Rock Island, which is man-made (more on that below), and the other is the Island of St. George.  Both have churches on them, and Lady of the Rock Island is open to tourists.  To get there, you must hire a boater to whisk you out there.  For 5 euro/person, we got a ride to the island across the blue waters of the bay.  The views of both the islands and the town of Perast were amazing from the water.  Once on the Lady of the Rock Island, we had about 30 minutes to tour the impressive church and museum there.

Legend has it that a long time ago, fisherman noticed a strange glow coming from this part of the bay.  They later found a religious icon in the water, and the site became holy.  To pay respects, locals would drop a rock or other item into the water at that spot.  Well, after years of reverence, an island appeared out of the water from all those rocks, and today that is the Lady of the Rock Island. This part of the world is just full of so many interesting stories…

After our boat trip back to Perast, we walked down the road to an inviting little café with beach access.  We planned just to stay for a beer, but the atmosphere was so pleasant that we ended up spending the entire afternoon here.  The name of the place is "Piratebar", and lounging at this happening place is worth the trip to Perast.  The locals were friendly and the water very soothing and gave Efren a chance to practice his swimming and diving.  As usual, Craig didn't want to go into the water and just tipped his toe into the Adriatic.  Several beers and cappuccinos later, we made our way back to Kotor.

We spent the evening wandering the streets of Kotor some more and then heading back to the apartment to do some laundry.  Tomorrow we have a good bit of free time to try and pick up some souvenirs (we'd love to find someplace that would ship us a case of wine!) before we head to Tivat Airport for our flight to Pristina.  Drezen is going to pick us up at 5pm and bring us over to the airport.

After several days of completely enjoying the Adriatic resorts and atmosphere, it will be very interesting to see how we find the environment of our next set of destinations.  Tomorrow we’re off to Kosovo, and we are both nervous and anxious as to how we’ll get along in the newest country in the world.

For now, we have a few more hours to soak up the relaxed energy of Kotor and the Adriatic Coast.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit Montenegro – TAKE IT – but be sure to bring the sunscreen and mosquito repellent!

A few departing thoughts/observations about Montenegro --

1.  Contrary to what were were told, things are NOT cheap here.  In fact, food is more expensive than Croatia.  Maybe that is because we are in the "resort" of Kotor and things might be cheaper in other parts of the country
2.  The people here are probably the most beautiful we've ever seen.  The men look like they spend all day at the gym (although we haven't seen a single health club since we arrived in the country) and the women look like they simply don't eat -- is it genetics or just something in the water?
3.  If Montenegrin fashion is a barometer for fashion trends for the rest of the world, purple is the next big color
4.  Speaking of color, old ladies in Montenegro really do have blue hair
5.  The pizza here is very good. Despite that, Montenegrins love their pizza covered in ketchup and mayonnaise
6.  The wine was a surprise here -- the stuff we tried (Vrasac) was better than the touted wines in Croatia, but significantly cheaper.  We tried to find a place that would sell us a case and ship it to the US, but we had no luck.  A business opportunity?
7.  The beer is excellent.  In Bosnia we had Sarajevscko, in Croatia it was Karlovacko and Ozujsko, and here it was Niksicko.  People here drink a lot of cappuccino and an when ordering an iced coffee, be prepared for a lot of whipped cream and chocolate syrup
8.  Anything called "Hawaiian" in a restaurant is the typical food with pineapple on top
9.  Pomegranites grow wild everywhere, but it is difficult to find them in the markets.  Maybe they aren't season yet?
10.  The best apple I ever ate was purchased at the produce market in Kotor
11.  Warning -- water is shut off across the town between 11pm - 5am
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