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Thursday, September 22, 2016

9/12: Kotor, Montenegro: Day Trip to Resort City of Budva

Another shot of Gulliver and the Lilliputians!
On the way to the bus station to go on a day trip to the nearby city of Budva, we passed a small market outside the town walls. 
There were masses and masses of mushrooms.
And, also what looked like blueberry cheese.

Interesting fish sculpture.
We got the 10:20 bus to the coastal city which is immensely popular as a resort getaway with Russians and Ukrainians. From the bus station, it was about a 30 minute walk to the old town and nearby beach area. We walked through the city gates and wandered through the old town. Like many of the old towns we’ve visited, this is a lovely, trafficless warren of small streets with lots of cafes, souvenir shops and, of course, its fair share of churches!

Parts of the Catholic St. John’s Church possibly date from the 9th century. 
The church is most famous for its 12th century icon of Madonna of Budva which is revered by both Christians and Orthodox Budvars alike.

Nearby, the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, with its appealing pink and honey-colored stripes, was constructed in 1804.

Next to the church is the Citadel. Perched above the coast, it's a 19th century Austrian construction on top of Venetian, Roman, Greek - you name it - foundations.

It was an easy climb/walk. We got a great sense of history up on the walls knowing that the Citadel was the defended part of the old city.
There were virtually no crowds here unlike the city walls in Dubrovnik as we wandered the battlements and staircases.
Great views of the sea from the walls.
Views from the Citadel terrace to the town’s beaches and the nearby island known as Hawaii!
What a picture-perfect day to enjoy the beautiful views and the clearest green water imaginable.

The charm of the citadel was in the ambiance of the library with its eclectic collection of books and artifacts. 

The library was supposed to have been full of rare books and maps. Some of the books were not so rare though!

We read an altogether different version of the story of Captain Bligh and the HMS Bounty. You know him from the movie Mutiny on the Bounty. According to the information at the Citadel, Captain Bligh was one of the greatest naviagators ever. Using only a sextant and his pocket watch, he was able to navigate the longboat on a 3,600 mile journey to safety. Only 1 of the 31 men died on the long journey and that was from being stoned by natives on the first island they attempted to land on.

Another part of the historic square by the Citadel and churches.
Just outside one of the city wall gates, we walked toward the marina and the beach area.

It was obviously very popular for the beach crowd but the beach was rocky and didn’t look very appealing to me. I was able to find a bench in the shade and Steven laid out in front of me just over the beach wall. It was great just hanging out for a couple of hours since there was no compelling reason to rush back to Kotor.
There was lots of Cyrillic writing in both Kotor and Budva as the latter particularly attracts so many Russian and Ukrainian tourists.
Steven normally carries both my kindle and his ipad in his backpack when we go out for extended periods of time just in case we have opportunities like these to relax and do nothing. The advantage of my not carrying other than a tiny camera bag and my ultra small bag that is only big enough for paper to write notes for the blog, a pen and a chocolate chip granola bar from home, means that Steven has become as my friend, Suellen, calls him, the de facto sherpa on these long trips always lugging our rain ponchos, snacks, a bottle of water, an ultra thin and small towel and other assorted necessities. I used to carry my own small daypack but Steven ‘persuaded’ me to leave it at home this trip. I must say I didn’t put up too much resistance!
We got some quite decent food at one of the many cafes along the waterfront and were amazed at how cheaply you can eat in Montenegro. Hamburgers, for instance are only about $1.50. Fries – the only cooked vegetable seemingly available - were equally dirt cheap.

We got the bus back to Kotor in the late afternoon after walking by this unusual sculture called 'Jedro' built by a company in Belgrade called Straegic Art.

Steven and I both felt while there we hadn't really wowed by the town and wouldn't recommend it to others. It had a pleasant old town, lovely old churches and gorgeous views but there was nothing that made it stand out. Upon further reflection and with the passgae of time since we were there, Budva was perfect for what it was. Namely, a beach resort with lots of highrises on the outskirts and, for us, a nice interlude from the small towns we had been and would be touring.

Posted from Skopje, Macedonia on September 22nd, 2016.

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