Life inside the walls.

The old fortified town of Kotor is on the UNESCO world heritage list. We’ve learned that this old town is one of the most well-preserved towns in Europe and has survived many regimes and natural disasters. As you enter the town, you see a plaque with these words inscribed describing the history and attitude of the town.  Translated version, “What belongs to others we don’t want, what is ours we will never surrender” – President Tito of Yugoslavia.

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In our very first ” post” on Kotor, we posted many photos of the Bay. The bay with its scenic views is located just outside the fortified walls of the old town. The range of mountains completely surrounds the bay and the old town.

When we first arrive at the fortified walls of the town, the first thing that caught our eye was a small “billboard” which identifies the people who have recently passed away. This is viewed many times a day by the local people passing through.

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Our airbnb apartment (reviewed at the end of this post) was located within the walls of the old town. The town’s fortified walls are more than 4 kilometres long. In the photo below you can see a stone bridge leading up to the walls. At the entrance is a small stone archway. If you look closely, Bernard is standing there at the archway and will lead us inside the walls to the old town.

fullsizeoutput_27b6.jpeg Follow the “ yellow red brick road” to what we’ve called home these past few weeks in Kotor.

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Home sweet home!

On our first morning walk in the old town, we encountered what you see in the photo below. Yes, your seeing right, “ladies leather undergarments”! What are we in for? 🙃

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But as we kept walking, we discovered little stone arches, beautiful cobblestone streets, stone buildings & alleyways.  There are also two churches, one Catholic and one Orthodox. This makes for a lot of church bells ringing throughout the day. We will not miss the very loud one that rang forever at 7:30 each morning. 🔔 😡

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In Portugal, we saw clothes hanging out from windows on clotheslines,  in Kotor we see them hanging out on shutters …👚

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Going out for a stroll in the evening was peaceful. You are just barely illuminated by the old lanterns lights that guide you through the small alleyways.

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A cat is a man’s best friend in Kotor.

So if you are not a cat lover don’t come to this old town. Well, that isn’t really true. There are a lot of cats but they don’t seem to bother anyone unless you want them to come to you. They are stray cats but locals and tourists feed them so they are nice and healthy. We were told that many years ago sailors came to this town and cats would come off the boats with them. Many of the cats would end up staying. The locals also noticed that by keeping the cats here it got rid of the rodents. So for many reasons the cats have partial ownership in this little town so you need to respect them. 😺

IMG_4197Even from within the walls you are never very far away from those imposing mountains. You just need to raise your head and you will eventually see them looking down at you over the walls.

fullsizeoutput_2408.jpegIMG_4146Don’t be worried about where you will eat, shop or enjoy nightlife if you are staying inside the walls. At each corner, you will see a little restaurant, a wine and jazz bar with tons of small clothing boutiques.  We found the charm and the pace of this old town to be quite restful. We wonder though if this is the case during the other months of the year. We were told that last year 3 million tourists passed through the little country of Montenegro. You can be certain that a lot of them came to Kotor.

Here’s a few of our recommendations for going out  –

Many restaurants have outdoor seating. This restaurant below is called Restaurant city. It’s one of the restaurant you are immediately attracted too in the old town for its cozy outdoor seating. We ate here a few times. The prices are reasonable and the food is nice.IMG_5736.JPG

Our favourite little wine bar. This little wine bar is called Old Winery Wine Bar. Staff here are great and can get you in a laughing mood in no time! 🤭

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Below, Bernard is having a beer at a quaint little pub that has great decor, yummy pub food & local craft beers. Paparon 

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This is Evergreen Jazz Bar below. They have live jazz entertainment every second Saturday. Can’t beat that!

fullsizeoutput_279e.jpegThis place below is not located inside the walls of the old town but we have to mention it as it was a special place for us to enjoy great views on the outdoor terrace, good food, drinks and soft jazz music. The name is PORTUN, and it is located in Dobrota which is about a 30-minute walk from the old town.fullsizeoutput_27eb.jpeg

Hey, you two, move over, those seats are taken!

On Saturday mornings just outside the walls, you have of course your outdoor open market, full of fresh fish, cheese and produce.  This lady below proudly displays her Njeguši sir (cheese)❤️. This cheese is kept for 3 months in a cold and dry place before serving. Special taste and aroma comes from the wooden barrel where the cheese is kept, called a “kaca”.

All this beautiful cheese, the local prosciutto and the breads often made it on our menu for our picnics by the bay with our p’tite nappe. Oh yes, I want to explain the rose in the photo below. So the day we had this picnic was on the same day as  “International Women’s Day”. You would have thought it was actually Valentine’s Day here in Kotor.  Flower stalls were set up everywhere. I don’t think we saw one woman without a flower. This is a rose I received that morning at our café from one of the servers.  Must say it seems to have taken on a significant meaning here. Next year on this same day my mind will be wandering to Kotor. 🥀

Just outside the walls, only a 5-minute walk away you have a small shopping centre. This is the “nerve centre” of the town. It’s where you’ll find the activity of everyday life. You have your grocery market, a daycare, beauty salons, banks and much more, all compact in this little mall. This is as well where we found our fitness gym that became part of our daily routine. Beware, the temperature in the gym here is 20 degrees Celsius! You don’t need to work hard to bring on a sweat! 🥵

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Montenegrin food 🍽

The food here has a Mediterranean influence so lots’ of fish and shellfish. You see their special cheese and the prosciutto everywhere. One specialty is also the black risotto that gets its name from the black colour of the cuttlefish ink. There is a drawback however, you need to have a lot of confidence to eat this dish in public. The intensely black ink turns your teeth a ghoulish black colour. Bernard, no kisses, please! 😁

This is all good, but what I want to get your attention on is this- there is almost no pastries here. Yes, there are some, but I don’t think we ever got asked, “would you like a dessert?”  Pastries are around but not to the same degree as in other European countries. No reason for us to gain any weight here. ♎️

I have to share this little story… so one morning this week we went out for breakfast.  We were graving a bit for something sweet, so we were on the hunt for a croissant or a muffin… we finally sat down at the “City Restaurant” which I mentioned above and ordered breakfast. On the menu, they had what was called “sweet breakfast” so we thought here is our chance to get our sweet fix for the month. Bernard ordered pancakes.

Here is what I got, 😩 jam, honey and Nutella with mini toast. Bernard had two choices for his pancakes, marmalade or Nutella.  The breakfast menus often consist of omelettes and pancakes. The joys of travelling and learning about new cultures😊.

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It’s people 👥

We must admit when we first arrived in Kotor it either took us a bit of time to warm up to the people or maybe them to warm up to us, we’re not quite sure. 🧩 As time went by we got to understand them better. We observed their interactions between themselves and they always showed signs of affection & fellowship towards each other.

We really believe that part of the issue here is that they entertain so many tourists that they are indifferent towards you initially. You are just one more “passer-by”. Once however, they see you often enough they become engaging, open, kind and welcoming.

 At times their look can appear stern, however, it just makes their smile that much more special when it happens. 🥰

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Oh yes, ladies, if you want to “fit in” here in Kotor don’t come wearing your baggy jogging pants. 😊 Women in Montenegro are dressed to be noticed at any time of the day. Something else I should mention, single ladies bring your high heels 👠, men here are for the most part 6 feet or even taller.

If you google “Kotor for all seasons” it brings you to an official promotional tourism u-tube video that definitely illustrates this beautiful area and the pride the people here have for their country.

What we enjoyed about Montenegro-

  1. Breathtaking Beauty. These majestic mountains will forever be engrained in our memories.

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20190313_182157 (1)Total relaxation. We absolutely slowed down here. However not sure this would be the case any other time of the year. This last week more tourists have arrived and we got a small glimpse of what the Montenegrins will have to deal with within the next several months. For people back home think Shediac traffic in the summer times fifty more. Montenegro is a small country of 600,000 people and their infrastructure right now has limited capacity.

3. The local bus system. We were worried about this before we came here but we were pleasantly surprised. Montenegro is a small country and has no metro or train service. However, the bus service is efficient and dependable.

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4. We felt very safe.

5. The Montenegrin wine and especially it’s Rakija 😊

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6. Weather- was it just pure luck! ☀️

7.  Admiration for the sense of community & friendship we observed here. As well as seeing many young families living & working here.

 

What we didn’t find here?

1. The quaint cafés– what we mean by this is that you go for coffee here in beautiful quaint hotels, restaurants and pubs. Their main purpose is not coffee.

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2. PASTRIES 🧁😊

Hvala, Kotor… we hope we can come back and visit your beautiful country again someday!🌺

Apartment review– apartment is in the old town.  Modern but with character. Very clean & comfortable. Affordable. Close to everything, including the central bus station. The only setback is that for a whole month it would have been a bonus to have a place with a view. If we came here again for a month we would probably stay in Dobrota in an apartment with a terrace and view, Dobrota is just 30 minutes walk from the old town.

Next bus stop 🚌  Dubrovnik, Croatia! 🇭🇷

 

7 thoughts on “Life inside the walls.

  1. Nice! Tu nous as dessiné un très beau portrait de la région. Les photos sont superbes, ça nous donne des idées pour le futur. Amusez-vous bien à Dubrovnik, nous avons beaucoup aimé notre séjour dans cette belle vieille ville.

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  2. On a été chanceux incroyable je pense une journée de pluie durant le mois. La température entre 15 et 19 alors comfortable avec un p’tit manteau. Sa donne du beau temps pour Dubrovnik aussi, on part ce matin. Le temps passe très très vite. Cheers!

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  3. What a great recap of your time there. Looked like another beautiful leg of your incredible adventure. The no pastries part does have me a little concerned but hey there is wine and cheese and prosciutto. Guess I could cope! Oh and Gio pointed out that that bartender looks like he is holding your hand in the one picture. He said for Bernard to pay more attention!! Hahaha

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    1. Ha! You are too funny! Great hearing from you. It’s going fast here so many places to see and things to do. We are enjoying every minute. We have just arrived in Zagreb . We will be here for a month. Cheers!

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