Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I had arranged a 7.30 am pick-up from Cheap Dubrovnik Tours to pick us up at the apartment to be taken to Montenegro with a guide – for 165 euros for the 3 of us – which was an excellent price and enabled us to see another country. The best part, it wasn't a tour bus, but a car driven by our wonderful guide - Dino, who stopped in all the great places for photography, and was able to tell us some of the history.  Our first stop was just out of Dubrovnik to give us a chance to look back on the old town...

We then stopped at Strp.. The coastline in Montenegro is beautiful...

The colour of the water was amazing..

Little houses in the hillside - I'd love to live in one like this...

A stray cat very much worse for wear. I'd love to nurse it back to health!

We stopped next at the Rimski Mozaics Rimski Mosaics in Risan which was really interesting. In the 1930s a wide area of mosaic flooring was uncovered close to the sea. It was neglected badly until a few year ago when they built a visitors centre for it. One section depicts Hypnos the god of sleep, elegantly reclined.

The mosaics cover the floors of four rooms in the west part of the villa and another two in the east. The western floors are made of local grey and black stone incorporating the motif of a labys which is a Cretan battle axe. The eastern floors are more colourful with floral patterns. Traces of the other rooms include sea creatures such as cuttlefish and squid. The mosaics have suffered somewhat since their discovery in 1930 from souvenir hunters and from the 1979 earthquake. They date back to the 2nd Century.

Leaving the mosaics, and around a few more corners, we came across an old abandoned house. Dino kindly stopped for us to take photos!

It must have been magnificent in its day, and it overlooked the sea  - it was in absolute prime spot!

We then visited a small monastery nearby.  I cannot remember the name of it but it was small, simple, but still beautiful.

As we left, the nun was kissing the priest on his hand.

Ostrvo Sveti Đorđe: The Island of Saint George is one of the two Islets off the coast of This one is a natural island unlike the Lady of the Rocks The island contains Saint George Benedictine Monastery from the 12th century and the old graveyard for the old nobility from Perast and further away from the whole Bay of Kotor.

Our Lady of the Rocks is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in the Bay of Kotor. It's an artificial island created by a bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. It is the largest building on the islet; it has a museum attached. There is also a small gift shop close to the church and a navigation light at the western end of the islet.

According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fašinada in the local dialect, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place.

The first known church was built on the islet in 1452. It was taken over by Roman Catholics and in 1632 the present Church of Our Lady of the Rocks was built. It was upgraded in 1722.

An image showing both to show how close they are together...

Our next stop was Kotor where we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant where Steven and I had the Negrev steak – a veal steak with layers of bacon and cheese inside. It’s a local dish and was very yummy and very filling. After lunch we wandered around the alleyways of Kotor, finding lots of things to photograph. It was most enjoyable. 

Kotor is a coastal town in Montenegro located in a secluded part of the Gulf of Kotor. The old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period.Some have called the southern-most a fjord, but it is actually a ria, a submerged river canyon. Together with the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs Kotor and its surrounding area form an impressive and picturesque Mediterranean landscape.

Kotor is part of the World Heritage Site.

Kotor, first mentioned in 168 BC, was settled during Ancient Roman times when it was known as Acruvium, Ascrivium, and was part of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

Kotor has been fortified since the early Middle Ages when Emperor Jusinian built a fortress above Acruvium in 535, after expelling the Ostrogoths. The city was plundered by the Saracens in 840.Kotor was one of the more influential Dalmation City-States of romanized Illyrians throughout the Middle Ages, and until the 11th century the Dalmation language was spoken in Kotor.

In 1002, the city suffered damage under the occupation of the First Bulgarian Empire, then he following hyear it was ceded to Serbia by the Bulgarian Tsar Samuill. However, the local population resisted the pact while maintaining its republican institutions and its right to conclude treaties and engage in war.

With the fall of the Serbian Empire, the city came under the Serbian Despotate. The city acknowledged the suzerainty of the Republic of Venice in 1420. In the 14th century, commerce in Kotor (as the city was called until 1918) competed with that of the nearby Republic of Regua and the Republic of Venice. The city was part of the Venetian Albania province of the Venetian Republic from 1420 to 1797, except for periods of Ottoman rule in 1538–1571 and 1657-1699. Four centuries of Venetian domination have given the city the typical Venetian architecture, that contributed to make Kotor a UNESCO orld heritage site.

While under Venetian rule, Kotor was besieged by the Ottoman Empire in 1538 and 1657, endured the plague in 1572, and was nearly destroyed by earthquakes in 1563 and 1667.

I found a moth sitting on one of the doors...

While photographing the moth, I noticed a cat run into the door where it's broken at the bottom..

I poked my camera through the broken door and this is what it found.  I could smell strong smells of cat pee.  Poor thing!

This is the main entrance of Kotor.  I happened to just take the photo as a tourist walked past with an itchy back, picking his nose!!  Not the best timing I guess!

After wandering around Kotor for about an hour, we headed further down the coast to Sveti Stefan – a private hotel which we couldn't enter but beautiful all the same. It’s another old town fromr the 17th century but to enter you must either make reservations for lunch and dinner (expensive), or stay there for 100 euros a night! We opted just to put our feet in the water and walk along the beach!

The old town had been bought by wealthy Russians and turned into a hotel resort.  I feel quite sad about that, as such historic places like that should be preserved and kept for everyone, not just the people that can afford to stay the night!

Despite not being able to go on the island, we wandered around the park looking at unusual trees..

Took a photo from the causeway...

And put my feet in the ocean.  If I had had my togs, I would have gone for a swim.  The sea was amazing and it was quite a hot day!

The colour of the water was quite something - but it was also crystal clear!

From here we took off to Budva, another walled old town to explore, but much smaller than Kotor.  we arrived to see some cars being towed away...

Budva is a coastal town is the centre of Montenegro's tourism, and is well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife, and examples of Mediterranean architecture. It's 3,500 years old, and there is vast archaeological evidence that places Budva among the oldest urban settlements of the Adriatic coast. Substantial documentary evidence provides historical references dating back to the 5th century BC.

A legend recounts that Bouthoe was founded by Cadmus the founder of Thebes, Greece, when exiled out of Thebes, finding a shelter in this place for him and his wife, Harmonia. Two other civilizations also left innumerable traces: the Greek and the Romans. Upon the fall of the Roman Empire and its division into east and west, the defensive barrier which separated the two powers happened to run across this area, subsequently making a lasting impact on the history and culture of this town. In the Middle Ages Budva was reigned by a succession of Doclean kings, as well as Serbian and Zetan aristocrats.

The Venetians ruled the town for nearly 400 years, from 1420 to 1797. Budva, called Budua in those centuries, was part of the Venetian Republic region of  Albania Veneta and was fortified by powerful Venetian walls against Ottoman conquests.  Most of the population spoke the Venetian language until the beginning of the nineteenth century.

In the very turbulent years that followed, Budva saw a change of several of its supreme rulers – Austria, France and Russia. A union of Boka Kotorska with Montenegro took place for a brief period (1813–1814), but from 1814 until 1918 Budva remained under Austrian Empire. After WWI, in 1918 Serbian army entered Budva abandoned by Austrian forces and it came under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Later, in 1941, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy..

During World War II many people of this area died in the fight between partizans and Axis troops. Budva was finally liberated from Nazi rule on 22 November 1944 and, after belonging once again to Yugoslavia, is now part of the newly independent Montenegro.

An earthquake struck Budva on 15 April 1979. Much of old town was devastated, but today there is little evidence of the catastrophe – almost all the buildings were restored to their original form.

Dino then drove us back a way, then cut an hour off our travel time by using the car ferry – which only took 10 minutes.

Our last stop of the day was just a quick one to photograph Kanli kula. This is a Turkish word and means bloody. This Bloody Tower was built by the Turks when they occupied the town from the Spaniards in 1539. The lower part of the fortress was eventually used as a prison. The damage from the big earthquakes in 1667 and 1979 has been corrected. The last restoration was finished in 1988. The main entrance is to the north, and to the south there is the "Donkey's Gate" leading down to the old town. These gates were constructed by the Austrians when they occupied the town in the 19th century up to First World War. From 1966, the fortress has served as an open-air theatre, and for many years being the main arena for the International Film Festival in July-August. It started in 1987, and this year (2013) there will be the 27th festival. The theatre has more than 1,000 seats.

We arrived back in Dubrovnik at around 7pm – a 12 hour day.  Amazing day, amazing scenery and wonderful weather! Steven popped out and bought wine, chocolate, bread, and a few things for dinner and breakfast the next morning.

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