Montenegro is only a short distance from Dubrovnik but as we were required to check out of Croatia at Cavtat and then into Montenegro at Zelenika, it took us the good part of half a day to get to our first stop at the Bay of Kotor. We planned to spend one night on the water and one night in the marina in the town of Kotor. As these were to be my final two days on Izabela before I fly home, I was very happy to have one last night on the water.
As we sailed through the entrance to the bay we noticed thick smoke on the mountains surrounding the water. The weather is still unbearably hot, so it wasn’t a surprise to see bushfires. The effect was quite eerie as smoke enveloped the entire area. We found a mooring buoy in the north western end of the bay near the town of Morinj and the entrance to a small river. We’d read about a very good fish restaurant up the river so rang to make a booking. They even offered to come and collect us from our boat. Once dinner was organised it was time to cool down. The first person to jump into the water came up shrieking about how cold the water was. We thought they were joking until we followed. The water was freezing – but not everywhere. As you moved the water changed from very cold to warm. We learnt later that the water comes down the river from underground springs that are 6-9 degrees in temperature. It certainly cooled us down.
The restaurant was set in beautiful grounds with geese roaming around the lawn and cute little bridges crossing the river. The building looked like it was once an old mill. More importantly the food was excellent and reasonably priced. We’d also not been asked for any money to moor on the buoy. So far Montenegro was looking very promising.
The next morning after another freezing swim we headed to Kotor. We sailed past Perast, once a wealthy city, and filled with beautiful baroque style buildings. As we were unable to find somewhere safe to anchor we couldn’t go ashore to check it out, but it’s definitely on my list for a future visit.
Kotor has a UNESCO heritage listed walled section of the town. The marina is located right next to the old city wall but is very basic with no toilets and a small, dark, hot shower block, which I discovered is unisex when I accidentally walked in on a naked man. He seemed a lot less perturbed about it than I was.
The city has one of the oldest and longest walls in Europe stretching up to the top of the mountain behind it. You can walk the entire length of it, but again it was far too hot – another one for next time. The town is slowly becoming aware of its tourism potential and the old section is full of souvenir shops and restaurants. Many were empty and there was an air of desperation about the town. When we went back for dinner later it was much busier – perhaps because its was a little cooler. Again we had a very nice inexpensive meal and finished with a few drinks while listening to a band playing at the jazz club next door. Walking back to the boat we noticed that the wall was lit up, providing a beautiful backdrop to the city.
This will be my last post for this trip as I’m heading home after more than three months on the road and water. I’ve had an amazing time but am very much looking forward to seeing my family and friends. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts – I really appreciated your comments and feedback. I’ll be back on Izabela for more sailing next year. Until then – farewell!