Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Montenegro Reflections

Sunrise journey through the Bay of Kotor's narrow inlet.

A floating chapel in the Bay of Kotor.
Where in the world is Montenegro? East of Italy, across the Adriatic Sea, just south of Croatia.  It's a little hard to get to if you don't have a boat. Luckily, we were on a cruise ship and Kotor, Montenegro was one of our ports.  We entered the Bay of Kotor early in the morning, our ship maneuvering slowly and carefully through a narrow passage.  As we cruised by small scenic villages the morning's rising sun provided perfectly mirrored reflections on the bay.

There is evidence of a settlement in this area dating as far back as 2500 B.C.  Nestled against steep cliffs and ringed by a fortified wall built in the 9th century, Kotor seems well protected but it has been ruled by varying invaders, countries and kings during its long history.  Montenegro became an independent state only recently with the break-up of Yugoslavia.  Today Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site.   

We followed those old town walls and found ourselves at the foot of the trail leading up to an ancient fort.  We say trail, but in reality they were stairs.  1350 stairs to be precise!  As we ascended, Kotor grew smaller and smaller in the distance but the rugged mountain backdrop loomed larger, steeper, and more impressive.  

Shoreline views from the Bay of Kotor reflected in the water.
It's easy to see why development here hugs the shoreline.

Small island in the Bay of Kotor reflected in the water.
Seems idyllic doesn't it?

Shoreline views reflected in the Bay of Kotor.
Those perfectly mirrored reflections we mentioned.

Fortified walls reflected in water, Kotor Montenegro
Kotor's walled fortifications.

postcard style views of old town Kotor Montenegro
Kotor's "Stari Grad" (Old Town)

A quiet little courtyard early in the day.

Looking up at the old fort above the city of Kotor.
Gazing up at the fort above the old town.

Stairs, stairs, and more stairs.

Kotor gradually recedes as we ascend.
The Cathedral of St. Tryphon was built in 1166.

A view of the Bay of Kotor from high above with cruise ships and old town.
Looking down at the Bay of Kotor from the old fort....

....and looking up at the limestone mountains rising beyond. 

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