Well, sailing into Kotor through the fiord would have to join my wow list. Even better I think than the New Zealand fiords and the Stockholm archipelago, dare I say. Okay, they are pretty spectacular in their own right, but this was stunning.
I was sitting the in cabin catching up on work, Alan had gone to the gym. I looked up from my computer and what had been the usual sea, sea and more sea view had changed to really, really high mountains and the smallest of houses on the shore. I jumped up, thinking ‘where did that come from?’ and discovered we had just entered the fiord. For the next couple of hours, we were treated to the most spectacular of views as we glided towards Kotor. After I collected our tender boat tickets (number 29 – sad I thought until I discovered later that they went into the 60s), I went to the gym because the views there are at the front of ship and uninterrupted, and it got better.
I finished my session – short, because my cold is still making me get breathless very quickly – and joined Alan on the deck outside the gym. I raced back to get my camera, raced back to the gym again to get some photos. The sides of the fiord change to grey rock face as we neared Kotor with quite huge rock formations. Small houses on the shore, old churches nestled higher up the hillside, and then newer buildings as we got closer to Kotor. It’s easy to see why tourism is rapidly become the major industry.
After we anchored in the Bay of Kotor, we headed back to the cabin, showered and then had some lunch while we were waiting for our tender boat number to be called. We could see the tenders at work from where we had lunch, although it’s taking a long time to get to 29. Still we have until 8pm here tonight, so there’s no rush. We are doing our own thing, wandering and seeing what we can see.
The tender process was a bit silly – they have lots of tender boats, but for some reason, it was slow, slow, slow. We got called about 1.45pm, and I think we got on the tender maybe 45 minutes later. It seemed to take forever because there were three wheelchairs to be loaded, with people still in them – that was a bit scary, watching four staff carry them in their chairs down the stairs and then heft them into the tender, but all went well, and we were off.
About five minutes later, we were on land, and heading the old town. This is a really compact old town and easy to walk around. In the main square was an impressive clock tower; we then found St Tryphon’s Cathedral, which cost 2 Euro to enter but worth it. There was a museum upstairs which had some original artefacts. Then onto the city wall and fortress of Kotor – this had 1350 steps to rise about 1200 feet to a bastion on top of the mountain. I got 3/4 of the way up, Alan of course went all the way. There are some amazing views from up here, and it was instructive to see how this wall was built. Right now, however, there are sections of it that are missing or falling down, so walking up it is…interesting. There’s some obvious restoration work going on, but equally as many missing steps. There are signs all the way up saying that this is a high risk area, but it you take it slowly, and watch every footstep, it’s okay – but it wouldn’t meet any occupational health and safety standards in Australia.
Going down was possibly harder than going up, but we arrived at the gate to find a group of cats and kittens to greet us. Heading down the narrow lanes past the houses of locals where were sitting on their steps as we passed, we headed back into the old town. We ended up in side streets, and came across of square with a cafe that wasn’t very busy, and a very small kitten drinking water from a puddle. We decide to look for somewhere to buy Kate’s paper, and head back to the ship – primarily to avoid a long line to get on a tender. Luckily there was a paper stall outside the gate of the old town, although choosing one of the many on offer was fun – cheap to at 50 cents.
The line for the tender wasn’t long, but the ship tender filled up, so we were put on one of the local boats that were helping out – that proved to be a good thing, because it was quicker than the tender. We stopped for a cup of tea and some pastries, and then headed back to the cabin. Dinner, movie and bed…lovely…until the lightning started. And the seas got just a little choppy. Nice light show and not too rough ; it seemed like we were sailing away from the storm, as it never seemed to get any worse.