Monday, November 03, 2008

Kotor & Budva

Mid-way through the week in Montenegro we took a day off and enjoyed an outing together to a historic city further up the coast to the north. The city of Kotor is located on a large inland port which is accessed through a fjord-like channel that the cruise ships navigate to arrive in this beautiful spot. For us, it was about a 1 ½ hour drive from Bar. Kotor is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. (I remember going to Wielicka in Poland – another World Heritage Site. That too was amazing so I think I will make it a goal to visit as many of these sites as possible!) Kotor’s chief attraction is the old city, enclosed in the historic fortress-like walls. At one time an autonomous city-state, it later (1490) put itself under the protection of Venice so the Venetian influence is seen in some of the architecture and d├ęcor. Its narrow alleys and well-restored walls contain many cafes where tourists (like us) can while away an afternoon with cappuccino and lovely cakes. The city’s fortifications are built right into the mountain that embraces it. The ambitious in our group climbed the 1,350 steps to the Fortress of St. Ivan and had a spectacular view from there. Those of us who were less ambitious get to enjoy their photos! As well as the pleasure of relaxing at cafes and exploring the narrow cobblestone streets and the car-less city squares, we were able to do a bit of Christmas shopping in the very nice shops conveniently located for visitors from the cruise ships. After spending most of the day in Kotor we stopped on the way back to Bar in another coastal town called Budva. I was tired and didn’t want to do a lot of walking around the old historic city so I asked Micah to show me where the beach was. She led me to an awesome beach, filled with cafes, next to the city wall and fortress. The waves were rolling against the shore and the sound of the waves and the breeze from the ocean and the sun gradually descending over the sea were such a balm to my soul. I found a seat away from the others and just soaked it all in, while I also did some reading in preparation for my next day’s teaching. Since that day I have looked for every opportunity I could find to sit on the shore and breathe in the salt air. Will I ever get enough of it? My Nova Scotia ocean blood is still pretty powerful!

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