Kotor, Montenegro – April 2010

Kotor is in Montenegro, one of the newest countries in Europe. I visited in April of 2010. It claims to be in the southernmost fjord in the northern hemisphere, though I also read the fjord isn’t actually a fjord, just a flooded river valley. It looked like a fjord to me. I’ll leave it to the geologists.

The main feature of Kotor are the city walls. Instead of just enclosing the city by the water, the walls extend all the way to the top of a hill behind the town, and reach a fort. It’s a pretty crazy setup, and lead to one of the most interesting walks I’ve every taken.

For a start, you get a map, and there are various routes marked. Some say “moderate” and some say “hard”. It doesn’t even pretend any route is easy. I decided to go up the moderate route and back down the hard.

And it’s a good job I did, because if I’d have tried to go up the hard, I simply wouldn’t have found my way up. It turns out that everyone takes the moderate route. The hard route was totally overgrown with grass and bushes, and it was obvious that I was the first person to try it that year. If anyone else had given it a go, they had turned back right away, as there were no signs of passage anywhere.

I wore shoes totally unsuited to hiking down a slippery path, meaning I slipped and landed badly on my elbow. And then, when I got to the bottom of the path, it just emerged into the back yard someone’s home. Even if I had wanted to, there’s no way I would have found that path unless I emerged from it.

The view from the top of the fort is spectacular, and sailing out of the fjord is an event in itself. There are two islands in the fjord, one natural, and one man made. A local ceremony each year has people throw rocks onto a reef, and they’ve done it so long they created an island big enough for a chapel.

On the walk up the hill I took a photo at every bend in the path, to show what it was like to climb to the top. Maybe I’ll share them on the blog one day, but for now I won’t overwhelm you with another 71 images. I just wish I’d take a photo from every bend of the path on the way down, as that became far more interesting.

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