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Kotor is a fortified town on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, in a bay near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovcen. Characterized by winding streets and squares, its medieval old town has several Romanesque churches, including Kotor Cathedral. It’s also home to the Maritime Museum, which explores local seafaring history. Sveti Dorde, on of 2 tiny islands off the ancient town of Perast, features a centuries-old church. Considering the fact that at that time Kotor was a battle field, the period until 1797 is thought to be the most dramatic and the hardest in the history of Kotor. from NCL Daily Report

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Kotor was a short ride away from our previous destination so it was an early wake up in order to beat the lines to the port. Given the topography of the city, the Cruise ship is too big to dock so it uses smaller boats to tender to and from the ship in order for guests to get to shore. We had no plans here so decided to explore on our own when we got there. As in most tourist destinations, there is never a lack of guides and tours offering to visit the highlights and attractions of the region. We quickly opted for a private van to take us on a three hour tour with some stops to enjoy some of the surroundings.

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It was an interesting place to visit as the bay is surrounded by mountains which I found beautiful! It is as if it was hidden from the rest of the world as the bay was surrounded by these enormous formation. However, it was sad to hear about how much this region of the world suffered because of civil wars not too long ago. While most have since rebuilt as the region has become more stable, many continue to struggle to move forward. Even the tour guide himself was a police officer who takes days to guide tourists because it pay better as the average salary in the region is 450 euros. This, besides the fact that cost of living seems to be high in the bigger towns. I saw gasoline over the equivalent of $5 USD per gallon which is almost double what I spend back home in a city that is also higher than the national average.

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However, this has gotten me thinking of my future and the potential for me to maybe retire one day and move to Europe and be mobile. The public transportation here has never ceased to amaze me in both network and cost. Only 3 days into the vacation and we are already thinking of our next trip being back in Europe to get the more inner cities in the agenda and move around by train to enjoy the views. Still have not convinced my daughter to study here, but we can keep trying. We saw some great places like Stefan island which seems to be the equivalent to Miami Beach’s Star island where only the wealthy live. It made for a great picture but the ambition could not get there.

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We also stopped at the Old Town of Budva which I overheard a guide (not ours) saying that it was built by the Greeks around 500 BC! Quite impressive to see much of the original structures lasting so long and a big city growing around it. I have to admit that I have enjoyed taking pictures of these fortified towns and the stone roads! We headed back to spend a short time in the Old Town of Kotor which was only across the street from the port. However, as we approached the entrance, our tour guide explained the wall fortification around the Old Town and that it is possible to visit the path and hike it up to the highest point which I measured to be over 800 feet high!

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I knew that the family was tired and the signs themselves did not recommend for young children going so we decided to split up and as I headed up the path, they went back to the ship for lunch and rest. My original goal was just to get a good picture but every time I got one, I turned around and looked up to see that an even better one was waiting for me ahead. When I got half way, I figured that I had water and needed to burn some calories as I was lacking my morning workout; so I kept going and committed to reaching the top. It was quite fulfilling to feel the sense of achievement although it may hurt the next day. I brought a rock from the path for my daughter and as reminder of the journey that like many others is more important than the destination.

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