What is a Fjord?

Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Monday, July 11, 2005

Having never seen a fjord in my life the lure of another stamp and another walled town was just too much to resist, we had to investigate!

Our mates Tadek and Karin had mentioned Montenegro was great and the Kiwi we had met on Korcula had also mentioned it. So recommendations taken, off we went.

The scenery during the coach trip from Dubrovnik was breathtaking! Kotor had alot to live up to!

We were a little anxious about accommodation prospects but we didn't need to worry because when we arrived, there she was, our non-english/german/italian/spanish/french speaking hostess.

The room was huge with a fabulous view of the mountains, however memories of south east asia came flooding back when we discovered no running water! What I though was a huge rubbish bin was in fact a huge vessel of water to bucket flush the loo. I thought I'd stick to bottled water to brush my teeth!

We walked into town towards the main gate and were disappointed to find a bus load of tourists. We had a quick walk around the centre and noticed a few people following a path up to the old fort. This was obviously our next step. We followed some steps upwards and found a lone man selling tickets. We paid our euro and started our hike. We quickly gained height, tracing the steps of ancient warriors protecting their town. At the halfway point was a church - perhaps to pray for inspiration to reach the top! All I could say when we eventually got there was WOW! It was jaw dropping. Absolutely stunning. Dramatic mountains on either side leading down to beautiful, sparkling water with Kotor Stari Grad (old town) at the base.

So this was a fjord!

Standing on the roof of the 16th century fort and looking down the other side of the peak were the ruins of another settlement, but nestled within the ruins and amongst the pine trees was an operating farm with a resident herd of goats and a lovely stone church. It was all so gorgeous.

The fort had obviously been used in more recent wars too as some of it had been modified.

Whilst recovering at the top, we discussed whether it had been a mistake to take the room for the night as Kotor town was quite small and we had already walked around. So after a little more exploration of the fort and its ruins and a load more photos, we made our way down and decided to talk it over during lunch.

Sitting outdoors, brilliant sunshine, beautiful blue skies, cathedral facing us with a backdrop of the mountains and the fortifications above, we decided that Kotor had more to it than meets the eye and were satisfied to stay for the night! Lunch was great too! We continued to wander in and out of the old lanes and eventually came upon the entrance to the old city walls. We followed them as far as they could go when all of a sudden a finger appeared out of window followed by a voice. We headed in the general direction of the finger and found a set of ruined steps. We started to climb and realised that they were heading up the ancient walls. At points the steps looked in perfect condition, whilst in others we had to step over trees and hack through knee-high grass. Grasshoppers fled in all directions with every step! We reached St Stephen's Place, an ancient chapel surrounded by protective turrets (we know this because there was a sign)! It was a fantastic climb. We had taken the dodgy path and were completely alone - except for the grasshoppers! The path was petering out and we decided to turn back. Sandles aren't the best climbing shoes!

As the sun was setting the Serbian Orthodox churches opened their doors. There was a huge one and a tiny one that both had a kind of greek feel to them. The priests were there welcoming the locals who flooded in to light candles and fit in a quick pray before dinner.

It had seemed a fairly quiet village by day, but come night fall, everyone was out filling the outdoor cafes and bars.

Next morning I headed for the bathroom ready for my cold bucket shower, but to my surprise, when I tried the tap I got hot water! Bummer - I was so looking forward to that (not)!

We dumped our bags at left luggage at the bus station and went back into town to kill time before our bus. We considered re-climbing the walls and headed over to the entrance ready to part with another 2 euros and tackle the peak again, but after staring up at it we decided that our experience had been fantastic just the way it was and that's how we wanted to remember it. So we retreated to a nearby square and sat in a cafe people watching until we had to leave.

We had really enjoyed our stay in Kotor and wanted to explore more of Montenegro. The people were really friendly and eager to tell of other interesting places to visit in their country, but I couldn't figure out why they put sour cream on everything - even the spaghetti!

But we had to make our way to Budapest for our flight to Sweden and to Karin and Tadek's wedding.
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