kotor, montenegro

half a day tour in Kotor

One of the great things about my job is the traveling. And in the past few years I got to travel a bit, and to some places that didn’t originally belong to my “go-to-list” and should’ve!

The last of them was Montenegro. 

I had to travel there for a two day meeting, so just added an extra day to the trip so I could take a quick look at Kotor. 

Montenegro is an off-the-beaten-track country for most Europeans, but it’s becoming more and more well known, and the Bay of Kotor is becoming specially interesting for summer holidays, not only because of the “beaches”, and Mediterranean feel along the lake, but also due to the gorgeous sites specially of the old town of Kotor.

We took a gorgeous route all the way to our meeting, passing by lots of mountains, coast, the beautiful Sveti Stefan, and all around the amazing Bay of Kotor, that feels like some sort of fjord rather than ‘just’ a bay.

Even though I only stopped for a quick photo, Sveti Stefan is a fisherman’s village turned into luxurious apartments in the 50s by a group of architects and artists. In the 70s was popular to celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Kirk Douglas.

In 2007 Aman Resorts leased Sveti Stefan for the next 30 years, and now operates the island as a private resort. Proud to say that the renovation project and design, was designed by the office I work for now! 

In the Bay of Kotor there are several picturesque towns, one of the most amazing is Kotor itself, as well as two very small islands in the middle of the Bay – Our Lady of the Rocks. This whole area has been part of UNESCO World Heritage, for its unique history and richness of architecture. 

As for Kotor, I was first drawn to it because of the fortifications along the mountains, our driver told us that we can climbed steps of several old fortresses all the way to the top, researching a bit in the hotel, I decided this is what I was going to visit in my last 8 hours in Montenegro!

I was a bit jet lagged, which was actually perfect, because I woke up at 6AM, and by 9AM I was already in Kotor to start my tour! I dropped my luggage in the train station, they have a small room in the station, and for 2euros they kept my bags the whole day.

I walked through Kotor’s Old Town, a beautiful medieval town, with stone wall buildings and pathways, with surprises in every corner, including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, built in 1166.

To start the 1350 steps steep climb you have to pay a small sum, and then you can go all the way up till San Giovanni’s Fortress. Kotor’s fortifications are since 1979 an UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can see beautiful architecture with styles varying from Illyricum, Byzantium, Venice and Austria. Which include ramparts, towers, citadels, gates, bastions, forts, cisterns and a castle.

Needless to say it was freezing, this was October 2016, and I have been living in Malaysia for more than 4 years, so any temperature under 24°C is enough for me to start complaining. I had 4 layers of shirts, cardigans and a trench coat, which were progressively striped out, because with all the climbing and the bright sunlight, it was enough to keep me warm!

I won’t explain much more, or show too much, because no photo will make justice to the fabulous views throughout the climb, just two words: WORTH IT!!

Once I reached back to Old Town, I was starving and had an amazing lunch at Luna Rossa, that has the cutest terrace ever.

After lunch, I didn’t have much more time, so it was a matter of grabbing my luggage, hailing a cab, and driving to the strange Tvrđava Goražde, or Fort Gorazda, an Austro-Hungarian fortification near Kotor. A newer structure was built between 1884–86, replacing an older building.

The fort was used not only in the First World War by the Austrians, but also by the Yugoslav army until early 90’s. Now its abandoned, although I did see some kind of very minor renovation works going on inside.

In the roof you can also see an odd looking feature, a 100-ton Gruson rotating turret, that was used for the last remaining example of its type – for a war ignorant like me, this is basically a big rotating gun (image below!).

Rotating Turrent section from: https://www.911metallurgist.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Cross-Section-of-Turret.png

So if you can, wonder around, and climb up to the roof to see this weird looking piece, and for an amazing view of the whole Bay of Kotor and the Adriatic Sea.

After this, it was time to drive back to the Airport for another long flight back to Southeast Asia. 

Not bad for 8hours in Montenegro!


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