Kotor and the 1300 Steps

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End May 12, 2012

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Flag of Montenegro  ,
Friday, May 4, 2012

It is mid-afternoon now and I am in the Hotel Kangaroo in my room with roommate Marilynn and I am blogging on Wordpad because I couldn't get an internet connection.

We were out early - 8 am to catch a public bus to Kotor up the coast a bit.  It was an absolutely gorgeous drive and I loved Kotor as much as the Stari Grad here in Budva.  I think the reason we went so early was to beat the tourists but once we came down from the fortress we couldn't avoid them.  Folks decided we should climb the 1300 steps to the fortress first thing to get it over with.  The youngsters wanted to go to the beach afterward and swim, but I don't think we more mature types were inspired by that so much.  The walk up was not so bad as I had feared.  It wasn't easy by any means but there were some nice, broad, shallow steps up most of the way that made it easier.  I walked with Marilynn and Doreen.  Estelle went on another path and then stopped mid-way.  There was a little church and a castle maybe that we passed on the way up.

There were various flowers along the way:  red poppies, purple iris, some other wildflowers - yellow and white, some blue campanula - bellflowers - too I think.  I could have stopped on every step to take a photo  - it was that scenic.  In fact, I may have.  I probably took every clump of iris that bordered the steps.  There were fantastic views of the bay with all the boats and the buildings of the town with their red-tile roofs.  I just loved the town itself.  Once we got down, we wandered around all the little alleyways with their own vistas.  There were pretty shuttered windows and grill work on the lanterns and balconies.  Lots of flowers - roses, geraniums on the balconies - just a plenitude of visual delights.
We stopped for some refreshment at a cafe as soon as we hit the last step off the path down from the fortress.  Then after a bit of sightseeing, we stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe.  I rushed off to the post office to get my stamps and change of smaller bills.  I got back just in time  to order a Greek salad  and then rushed off to get some postcards that I hadn't been able to buy because I didn't have any small currency.  I didn't realize how much the stamps cost.  It would probably have been better to send them from elsewhere but I didn't find any stamps before when I could actually use them.

After lunch and wandering the alleys and through the squares and into one church, we walked back out the gate and followed the main street until we came to the landmarks for the turns.  Estelle and I were very proud of ourselves because we knew the way back to the bus station.  We bought our tickets and were talking to some others who turned up at the same time and then someone told us that our bus was ready to leave for Budva.

I forgot to mention the exciting ride we had to Kotor.  All of us piled on with our tickets.  We had found the proper seat numbers and were expecting to go to our assigned seats....but the bus was filled.  An energetic blonde-haired woman told people to move back.  Estelle had gotten the seat up front and motioned me in so I sat down but most of the others had to stand.  Zoe was right in front and the driver and this blonde lady loved her.  The driver wanted her to stay in Montenegro.  The driver and blonde woman kept talking in Montenegrin, but of course we couldn't really understand.  The woman gave Zoe a cushion for her to sit on the step in front.  They were quite animated in their response to Zoe!  Then when we got off, Zoe had her photo taken with the driver with his arms around her neck.  She was smiling.  I think several of us have this photo.

It's now after 4 pm.  I will try the net one more time and then head for the old town, walk around and have dinner on the Adriatic Sea - maybe not too late so I can pack up for our big day tomorrow - monastery, 9 hrs of riding to Sarajevo.

As I left the hotel, I ran into Tee and so I tagged along with her - actually I think I made her do some of the things I wanted to do.  Anyway, mutually agreed, we walked to the old town and wandered around there for awhile.  She had loved her pizza dinner yesterday so as I became hungrier, it seemed like a good option to grab a slice of pizza and then go back to the waterfront restaurants for the big glasses of white wine I was obsessing over.  We got the pizzas and walked out of the old town walls to the beach.  When the pizzas were finished, we headed for the waterfront.  On our way, Tee convinced Patrick to join us.  He had a beer while we ordered a bottle of local savignon blanc.  By then all of my batteries for the two cameras I had were dead and I couldn't take any more photos.  It was frustrating for sure but a bit liberating.  I think I was OK until the end when there was a full moon and the water was a beautiful light blue with the bright red beach umbrellas contrasting against the water and sky.  Oh, well.

Back to the hotel to pack up and charge batteries for tomorrow.

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