Tuesday, 27 August 2013

K'otor, Blimey!

Montenegro was always on my list of must visit countries when backpacking through Europe. While in Sarajevo we looked on the Montenegro tourism website and decided Kotor looked like the best place, it has an old walled city like a mini Dubrovnik. We had settled on Kotor when I decided to check if I had written anywhere down for Montenegro, guess what was there - Kotor. If i'd remembered to  look in my book I'd have saved us a bit of time making that decision.

The next battle was finding somewhere to stay, none of the hostels on hostel bookers.com were suitable, they were either too expensive, too far away from the centre or the worst of all - no air conditioning - Yikes! I remembered my favourite blogger Adventurous Kate had blogged about a hostel in Montenegro and although it had bed bugs when she was there she still recommended it. I looked up Kate's post and found Hostel Montenegro, all looked great so I booked it, only 13 euros each a night which is reasonable. I did this in Sarajevo when we weren't quite over the cock up of travelling in the wrong direction, we weren't in great moods or really talking to each other so imagine how I felt when I realised I had booked the wrong hostel - I had booked the hostel in Podgorica not Kotor. Oops! I e-mailed them and not realising it was 9am on a Sunday morning I panicked and called them. If this couldn't be resolved I reckon I was getting divorce papers - we couldn't handle another Cat cock up. Anyway, the lady was lovely even though I had clearly woken her up "don't worry I fix it for you, I fix everything", and she did. She sent me an e-mail confirming our booking at the hostel in Kotor.

To get to Kotor we travelled to Herceg Novi in Montenegro then needed to catch the bus to Kotor. When we got the the bus station we saw there was only 1 more bus that day to Kotor and as I was ear wigging I realised lots & lots of people were going to Kotor so I was a little worried we wouldn't get on the bus. Luckily I've got lots of gig & festival experience, I can get my elbows out when needed so I knew we would get on somehow. I asked about a ticket and was told to buy it on the bus for 3 euro - I asked where the cash machine was as we had no euros and was told it's in town. Town? That seemed like quite a walk away especially with 12kg backpacks on your back. Just as we were about to set off a Dutch guy asked if we were also walking into town to the cash machine, I said yes because we don't have euros. He was shocked to learn the currency was euros and also pleased he didn't walk into town when he had plenty - and he was happy to lend some to us so we didn't have to walk into town. How nice is that? As it turned out the bus wasn't even full - trust me to worry for nothing. 

We arrived in Kotor in the dark (the first time we had arrived anywhere in the dark) and quickly found the hostel thanks to their excellent directions. The hostel had a great location and the air conditioning was good but I wouldn't rave about it. 

As it was pretty late we got showered and had a quick walk around. We had a corn on the cob each for tea & sat on the harbour marvelling at the massive yachts including a huge yacht lit up in bright blue lights called Lucky Me - what a way to make everyone who notices your boat want to smack you in the face.

That night we were very thankful to our friend Karl for the ear plugs he gave us as we were sharing a dorm room with the loudest snorer. I don't know how anyone would have slept without something to drown him out.

I woke up the next morning determined to climb the Fortifications of Kotor. This climbs 4.5km above the city and has 1350 steps. On the way up it is easier to walk on the rocky slopes than take the steps. This took us 2 hours in total and was quite a trek but the views were brilliant. I even noticed that the birds were flying at the same height that we had climbed to. 

What to do after a 2 hour 4.5km trek up a mountain? Go to the beach of course! The beach in Kotor isn't anything to write home about. Another pebble beach but these weren't even like pebbles, they were big bits of gravel. It was like sunbathing on someone's driveway. It did the job anyway, we relaxed and had a swim but I can't help wondering when I'm guna finally see a nice beach.

For tea than night we had some packet mix pasta we had bought in Mostar with left over Bosnian currency, we ate it on the balcony of the hostel with a big bottle of cheap and pretty horrid local wine. The plan for that night was to find some night life. We looked online but didn't find anything, we asked the guy at reception who's advice was to walk around and listen for good music?! We walked the whole town and found nothing. The best place we found looked like a working men's club - we sat outside with cheap beer and chatted with a local who was really funny but turned out to be a bit racist. Really? This keeps happening to us.

Our hostel with the balcony where we ate our Bosnian pasta 

As we were in our hostel one night we got talking to a girl in our dorm called Katrinka, when she told us she was from Boston I asked if she read Adventurous Kate's blog (Kate is from Boston), not only does she read it she knows her and a recent post from Kate is about exploring the Asian side of Istanbul with Katrinka as Katrinka lives there. We had lots to chat to Katrinka about and we are hoping she can give us some tips for our upcoming trip to Istanbul. Katrinka also has a blog -

The rest of our time in Kotor was spent on the beach, walking round taking pictures and searching for a veggie pizza for Russell. We eventually found one.

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