23 and 24 Nov – Kotor and Dubrovnik 

Here’s a glorious wee corner of the world!

Yesterday – Kotor in the tiny country of Montenegro. This completely walled city is tucked in under rugged mountains at the end of a sort of fiord. I say sort of fiord because it is actually a drowned river valley, but it looks like a  fiord. Ships need to negotiate a lengthy and at times very narrow passage in from the sea. In times of old, this passage was well defended and so Kotor has never been damaged by enemy forces. The people of this once important Venetian strong hold were (are) very proud of their city so when enemy forces did on occasion overwhelm them (Nepolion was one such scallywag), they sensibly handed over the keys with various stings attached. So what we have today is a city looking much the same today as it has for hundreds of years. Thus as one walks through the narrow, winding, pedestrian only, cobbled streets, history breathes as a living thing.

Extensive fortifications and walls climb up the mountains above Kotor and quite a number of us made to steep hike up to the view point in a ruined fortress high above the pretty red rooves below. My kind of outing! The other perfection of Kotor is that our ship was docked within a three minute walk from the town gate. It could not have been any better!

Montenegro beer – excellent by the way.

Today  – Dubrovnik in Croatia. A different story here. I’m sure many of you have heard of the siege of Dubrovnik that took place during the bloody Balkin war of the 1990’s. This beautiful city and its inhabitants suffered quite severly during those hostilities and the only reason things didn’t go worce for them was due to UN intervention. That intervention was partly to protect this historically significant UNESCO place. One of the things dad and I did was to visit the museum commemorating that time. The slide show of what this town endured was moving. The lovely buildings we were busy taking pictures of and the beautiful street we were walking along had been severly damaged. The people of Dubrovnik spent that year with no running water – they used the ancient town well, no electricity, therefore no TV or radio news of what was happening. Their homes and shops and churches were under fairly constant bombardment. Yet they held on and finally help came. There has been considerable financial assistance now too to re roof the roofless buildings and restore most of the damage. Many of the buildings still bare witness to the siege with the pock marks of mortor and shell fire from the hills above across their facades. The enemy had sat up in those hills and simply fired down upon the town at will. But those gates never opened and Dubrovnik did not surrender.

Today we had our first rain. It was very heavy first thing but during our walk about it wasn’t too wet at all. It did make for low light photography conditions – but didn’t detract from our enjoyment of this stunningly pretty historically significant old town.

Croatian cherry brandy  – smooth and deadly!

Pictures coming on a separate post….. Internet being what it is.

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