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Presenting the Coast of Montenegro

We sit and stare at the Adriatic Sea. A few months ago, I had never even heard of the country of Montenegro. Seven countries and five weeks later, we sip beers in the city of Bar, Montenegro, and enjoy a fresh dish of mussels and grilled squid.

sipping-niksicko

Sipping Niksicko, the local brew, with a friend

This meal gives a delightful palate change from the “meat rules” menus of previous stops. (Delicious meats, by the way)

mussels-and-squid

Mussels and Squid

A relatively small city (pop 40,000), Bar presents a mellow pace for the travel weary. While we love big cities, with their fabulous architecture, behemoth buildings, countless domes and monuments, this change to a more “laid back” atmosphere, with lighter food and more temperate climate comes at a perfect time. Who would argue with hanging out on the shores of the Adriatic eating fresh seafood?

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Strolling along the pedestrian walkway in Bar

Montenegrins don’t give out random smiles. They greet each other with cheek kisses and pats on the back. Their language sounds like a mix of passionate Italian and indifferent Russian. There’s just enough English for us to get by.

new-bar-from-old-bar

Views of New Bar from Old Town

We cook breakfast in our twenty-dollar room and finally get to drink morning coffee in our underwear. The bus system here is cheap and easy. For one Euro, we hop a ride to “old town” atop a mountain. Folks still live in some of the surrounding 1000-year-old buildings. I light a candle in St. John Vladimir church.

lighting-candles

Lighting candles…

I may not attend church, but knock on wood and light candles. I have been lighting candles in many, very old churches along the way. Do you realize how many churches we have seen in seven eastern European countries the past five weeks? Odds are favorable that my desires will manifest into reality!

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Sveti Stefan, a walled village between Bar and Kotor. Now a luxury resort

After several days, we head north on a bus twisting around the Adriatic coast to the city of Kotor.

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Wall of Kotor. Can you see the trail to the fortress above?

This place makes both of us feel like royalty. Especially while staying in the “Duchess” room at a 600-year-old guest house located in old town.

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Our 600 year old room in Palazzo Drusko

Full of antiques along with modern comfort, Marilynn is petrified that I shall break something. The “Palazzo Drusko” costs $200USD nightly during the season. Traveling in the off-season pays off again, as the cost drops to $39USD.

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Old Town Kotor in the off-season

“You don’t want to stay in old town during the summer,” Vladimir from the guest house says. “It’s noisy and too crowded to walk. On top of that, we get four cruise ships a day.”

climb

How many steps?

A heart-pumping set of 1350 steps lead to the top of a fortress above the city. Sweeping views of the bay and towns surround us. On this sunny day, we have the trail, and the view, to ourselves as opposed to “knees and elbows” during the summer season.

views

Views from the fortress above Kotor

Mountains resemble the fjords of Haines, Alaska. Some (including guidebooks) mistakenly refer to this as Europe’s most southern fjords, when in fact it is a ria, which is a submerged river valley.

perast

Perast

Outside the old city walls, we hop a bus to tour some nearby sites. The tiny town of Perast again transports us into a royal fantasy. We sip beer along the shore on its one roadway, before hiring a quick boat to Gospa od Skrpjela, “Our Lady of the Rocks.” Legend says that a rock simulated a figure of the Virgin Mary, so in the 15th century villagers started adding rocks and materials until an island was formed with just enough room to hold a church. Of course, I lit a candle.

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Sveti Dorde and Gospa od Skrpjela

A Benedictine monastery sits on a nearby island, which was built on a natural reef.

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Octopus

Let’s indulge in local, fresh, organic Montenegrin food! At Konoba Akustic restaurant, we start with an order of breaded paprika stuffed with cheese. We’ll follow with some Riblja corva (fish soup), jagnjetina ispod saca (lamb cooked with potatoes under a metal lid covered in hot coals) and octopus. I sip the powerful rakija (domestic plum “brandy”), while the Duchess enjoys krstac (indigenous white wine). One more rakija and I may bum a smoke from the guy at the next table.

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Reflections in the Bay of Kotor

Alas, it’s time for the Royal family to hop a bus and head north. Who knows what fantasyland awaits?      Ron Mitchell

 

 

 

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Douglas Wagner #

    You are on a GREAT ADVENTURE this time, My Friend!

    February 13, 2017
    • No doubt, Doug. Keeps getting better and this travel is one of our easiest adventures!

      February 13, 2017
  2. Skip #

    THANK YOU RON AND MARILYNN… YOU ARE CORRECT…I HAD FORGOTTEN THERE WAS A COUNTRY CALLED MONTENEGRO!
    GREAT PICTURES, AS USUAL… I AM TOTALLY ENJOYING YOUR “ADVENTURE!

    February 13, 2017
  3. ma & pa #

    Such beauty you guys have experienced!! Keep lighting those candles..one for grandpa today on the anniversary of his death. He is so proud of you and and Marilynn.

    February 13, 2017
  4. Julie #

    Absolutely wonderful!

    February 13, 2017
  5. Winter all the way baby!! It’s now my favorite hiking season (between skiing) because the trails and parking lots are not crowded – usually. Loving the vicarious trip as usual. Thanks for sharing your entertaining prose and Marilyn’s wonderful photos.

    February 14, 2017
  6. Alice Chambers #

    Enjoyed Montenegro, as we only saw a little of it years ago. We had a St. John’s student from there a few years ago, but I don’t know what town. Love your reports.

    February 15, 2017

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