Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kotor, Montenegro: Climb Every Mountain


“Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every highway,
   Every path you know. . .”

As the steps grew more uneven – actually missing in places – and the town below looked like a miniature toy land, I started humming those lyrics from the “Sound of Music.” My mental musical mantra carried me upward as we conquered one of those ‘travel bucket list’ items we’d had since a cruise stop in Kotor, Montenegro back in 2004:

SilhouettePt22012 168

We were finally climbing the walls that zigzagged up the sheer face of the Hill of St. John to the remains of a once mighty fortress high above this town of some 26,000+ people. It had been on our list  since July’s triple-digit temperatures during that previous cruise  kept us from tackling it.

SilhouettePt22012 120

Last fall we’d again arrived by cruise ship, this time aboard the Celebrity Silhouette.  The October visit, on a cool crisp sunny day, didn’t provide us any weather-related excuses.

SilhouettePt22012 159Kotor, is a UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site” and its Old City, (that triangle of red roofs you see on the photo above) built between the 12th and 14th Centuries, remains a delightful warren of narrow streets and squares.

It is located on Boka Kotorska, the Bay of Kotor, at the far end of the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean.








SilhouettePt22012 109

Upon paying the 3-euro fee to walk the walls, we were provided a brochure with map showing color-coded zones: ‘relatively safe walking path, zone of increased risk and high risk zones’ and a brief history of points along the way. It also said, in bold red letters: You are advised to use caution on the trail and consider your physical condition.

SilhouettePt22012 115

After all, it is a climb of 1,350 steps with an ascent of 3,947 feet/1,200 meters. (And once up there, you will need to come down). It began quite easily on somewhat uneven steps that lined a sloped cobbled path, which once had been used to move cannons up to the fortress.

Steps along our route continued to be uneven, many broken or missing in places, yet fine in others. Low borders in places and others not. (There were places you didn’t want to make a misstep. )

SilhouettePt22012 137

This somewhat rickety metal bridge, spanning a deep crevasse, led into what remains of the fortress.

SilhouettePt22012 134 We explored its nooks and crannies, which were often accessed by tiny openings. (I am five feet tall, by the way).






SilhouettePt22012 118

Venetians built the walls and a reminder of their presence remains today in the image of the winged Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of the then Republic of Venice, just above modern- day graffiti.

SilhouettePt22012 122

From the fortress we had spectacular views back over the city and bay and into valleys on the other side of the hill, like this one that revealed the remains of an ancient church.

SilhouettePt22012 143

From the fortress mega-yachts appeared to be  the size of row boats.

SilhouettePt22012 123Not everyone was able to make it to the top. Those of us who did photographed each other to celebrate the feat. We felt pretty smug during our descent when half way down we came across a group of red-faced, 20-somethings sucking air and declaring that they had gone far enough!





We had two major chuckles on this outing.  The first was the “No admission” sign near the fortress that cordoned off a sheer drop of several hundred feet:

SilhouettePt22012 139

And the second was the young woman we encountered along the way, who obviously had decided to dress formally for this outing:

SilhouettePt22012 140

If You Go:


Map picture
By water:
There is nothing better than arriving in Kotor by boat traveling through the fjord that cuts through the towering cliffs, passing intriguing small hamlets along the way. If you have an opportunity to take a cruise with Kotor as a port of call – we recommend taking it!

Ferries from Bari, Italy and Bar,Montenegro also travel to Kotor.
By air:

The nearest airport is Tivat, eight kilometers away and is served by several airlines.

More information:  http://www.discover-montenegro.com/

It is time for Travel Photo Thursday so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travel! Hope to see you back here Sunday for WAWeekend!

30 comments:

  1. Beautiful place to visit. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like an outing I would love. Definitely worth it for the fabulous views at the top!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought of you as I was writing this one and thought it would be right up your alley, errr, make that up your hillside!

      Delete
  3. Had to laugh at the formal dressed tourist. Reminded me of a hiking trail that we went on several years ago where we encountered a woman wearing heels. On a hiking trail? Hmmmm....okay. We had a chuckle about that too.

    Looks like the view from the top was worth the tricky ascent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I think high heels trump the formal gown; you win with hiking trail oddities!

      Delete
  4. What an interesting adventure! The views are amazing. I can see that arriving by sea would be wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fjord is fantastic, both in the early morning and in the late afternoon. Only problem is that we were tempted by the many villages we simply sailed past. . .one day we must stay longer.

      Delete
  5. We may be over that way in May/June so I will keep this in mind. I am not sure that I would make it to the top! The boats in the harbour show just how high it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't have to go very far before you have spectacular views of the town and the harbor, so give it a try!

      Delete
  6. Wowee! The views from the top are phenomenal! I can see why you did the hiking required to get there.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fantastic and what a hike! Love walking, well done for getting to the top :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was so spectacular that I am glad we forged ahead and got to the fortress. Thanks for commenting today Johanna!

      Delete
  8. Glad you could enjoy the view.

    Did the Silhoutte have a lawn on it's top deck? We cruised on Celebrity and that was my favorite part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it did! The Silhouette is part of their Solstice class ships so we could enjoy the lawn. They now have cabanas to the side of the lawn (that they rent for an additional charge) and we also ate at their new Lawn Club Grill - it replaced the hot glass show place. I wrote about that experience on the blog, you should check it out if you get a chance.

      Delete
  9. Hahaha! That's a WONDERFUL sign that I'm sure you had no trouble obeying ... but it's a pity there was no warning against inappropriate clothing!!! But ... I guess she made it to the top, so must have been doing something right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd thought the same thing about the sign, "As if I would have stepped further. . ." Next time I'll dress up a bit for the climb - at least a fancy tee-shirt or something! Thanks for commenting today.

      Delete
  10. What beautiful views, Jackie. I wonder what that woman was thinking when she dressed for the occasion? or maybe her hiking shorts were in the laundry :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that's an idea. . .or her suitcase was lost? I guess you never know do you? :-)

      Delete
  11. The climb and dangers along the way are definitely worth the trip to see those amazing views. What an adventure! I guess the climb is a good form of exercise to work off all that delicious cruise food :) Love the sign and the girl who dressed to impressed. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary you are correct about that . . .you need these kinds of hikes to keep those calories from overtaking you!

      Delete
  12. This looks fabulous. We're hoping to make it to Montenegro in 2013 so I'll certainly add this to the places to visit. I think I had better start training now!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny, I am envious of your upcoming trip. We keep having little tastes of these wonderful places as our cruise ship visits and we've got so many on our 'must come back here' list that I hope we live another 50 years to get it accomplished.

      Delete
  13. Would love to do that climb and see those views -- well worth the 3 euros. Glad you had the opportunity to do it on your second visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the best mornings of the entire trip. . .and yes, well worth the three euros!

      Delete
  14. The Mediterranean - it is on my list! Sounds like a fantastic (& hard) walk/climb. Congrats to you for making it to the top - it looks like the views were worth it! I can never decide whether it is the going up or the coming down that is the most difficult!
    ps - I've had a laugh a few times the way people dress for sight-seeing that includes clambering/climbing/walking - don't they read the brochures?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jill - thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope to see your photo among the Google Friends list soon. Your blog is lovely - I enjoyed seeing those beautiful beaches!

    ReplyDelete

Glad you stopped by today and took the time to leave a note. Hope we'll hear from you often!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...