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Kotor - Montenegro

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Contributor:
Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy
Kotor Sares

Dubrovnik was magnificent, but it was time to head further south. Unaware and unprepared we were told the bus went all the way to Ulcinj, on the Albanian border. Nobody really knew, the Croatians don’t really like to talk about Montenegro, (bullet holes remain of that particular travesty) and our guide book didn’t have much information.

Budva was reluctantly recommended to us by the woman with whom we stayed, so we decided to take her advice. Departing at 10.30am for the grand total of 120 Kunas ($21USD) each we got tickets to Budva. (At the time there wasn’t much online but since then I have found www.libertasdubrovnik.com/polazak.html which has local and international departures from Dubrovnik)

The journey from Dubrovnik to the border is pretty much unexceptional, after all what can compare to the marbled city we had just left?
 
All this changed once we were on the Montenegrin side. The gasps of tourists and clicking of cameras awoke me from my slumber. As the bus wound around the Bay of Kotor, the scenery made me remember why I took the bus in the first place. Sometimes miscalled the southern-most fjord in Europe, the Bay of Kotor is in reality a submerged river canyon that gives an impressive vista.We drove past the ancient walled city of Kotor, a place of traders, sailors, tall tales and medieval history. Above it the cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen towered like lofty guardians.
 
The bus pulled over, some tourists got off. We looked at them enviously. The bus started and we lumbered off. We talked the driver into letting us off at the Kotor bus stop and walked back. He told us there was enough time to see Kotor and catch the evening service to Budva if we wanted. So bags and all we trudged back to the city that looked so captivating.
Built beneath impressive rock and cliff faces, between the 12th and 14th century is the walled city, complete with narrow streets and squares. Nestled amongst all the antiquity are bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, the Church of Saint Luke, the Church of Saint Ana, the Church of Saint Mary, the Church of the Healing Mother of God, the Prince’s Palace and the Napoleon’s Theatre are all treasures that are enfolded within the 4.5 kilometers of walls.  Its mind boggling really. Numerous preserved examples of medieval architecture and monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO listed ‘World Natural and Historical Heritage Site’.
 
We were too early but apparently in the summer months carnivals and festivals are organized. The Summer Carnival (Bokeljska Noć), is the most notable with over 30,000 people flocking to the ancient city to enjoy the carnival atmosphere. Jesters, clowns, sailors, noblemen and fairy tale characters make up the rowdy public celebrations.
 
We took the time to scramble around, people still live in the hillside dwellings. The sun was hot, our bags were heavy. We bought a cup of coffee and decide to head back to the station to catch the next bus to the Budva Riviera, no more than half an hour's drive away.

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