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3:28pm on Saturday, 8th September, 2012:

Knights of the Old Republic


Day five of our cruise takes us to Kotor in Montenegro.

Why does this sign on the ship have a Braille translation?

So, Kotor is an old, walled town at the end of Europe's most southerly fjord. I guess there must be another fjord further south in some non-European part of the northern hemisphere. The setting really is beautiful, though:

Of course, it was less beautiful for the three cruise ships that arrived after us, on account of how we were parked slap bang in the middle of this vision of scenic wonder.

We came through a narrow gorge at about 6am. Those of us who were awoken by our wives trying to get their camera out of their bag then proceeded to the uppermost deck to get the best view. It was quite windy, but as one woman said, "at least it's not as cold as Norway". Yes, that's true, but cold doesn't make my hair come out so on the whole I prefer it to wind.

I overheard this snatch of conversation:
Him (hushed, awe-struck tones): It's magnificent!
Her (loudly) : why are you whispering?

See this?

Hmm, you probably can't. Well about half-way up is a fortress. The walls of Kotor extend down from this, left and right, until they reach the sea. It's really impressive and is 1,300 steps up. We did set off to go there, but the surface was too rough for my wife (as in, you couldn't tell one step from the next in places) so we didn't get far before turning back. Judging by the postcards on sale, the view of Kotor from up there wasn't all that great anyway. Mind you, the view of the rest of the bay was probably spectacular.

This woman was on the tender taking us from the ship to port

I asked her if there were zombies on her lawn but she just looked at me as if I were weird.

One of the other ships that arrived was small enough to be able to dock. Here it is:

Its entire passenger roster was made up of German cyclists. There were hundreds of them. Some looked to have such high performance bikes that you have to be a level 80 cyclist to ride them. There was a lot of my-bike-is-more-precision-engineered-than-yours going on, too.

This chap is just above the main gate:

I think he must have just noticed the cyclists heading his way. It's OK, though, they didn't go into town.

Well, here's someone doing his best to attract people to his pizza restaurant:

Looks as if he eats there every day. Judging by the teeth of the woman we bought ice cream from later, she eats little other than ice cream, too. I'd have taken a photograph but she was surrounded by dozens and dozens of bees. No, I'm not making this up.

Here's a painting inside the cathedral:

When I get home, I'll have to look up which Orthodox saints were Chinese so I can figure out who it is.

I took this photo of a typical street in Kotor:

See that little dog on the bridge there? I had my camera ready to take the photo then the dog came out with a ball in its mouth. It stopped on the bridge, looked at me, then dropped its ball. The ball rolled off the bridge and into the street below. That's when I took the photo. Here's an enlargement of the dog:

"Oh, and I was so happy..."

These were outside one of the shops:

I guess they must have a crow problem.

Dogs aren't the only wildlife in Kotor. There are also cats. This one had just swatted a butterfly:

The cat kept letting the butterfly drag itself away a little before batting it again with its paw. Cats are great at torture, but I don't think the butterfly was going to talk.

This image of snakes crawling out of a skull is on the wall of one of the palaces in Kotor:

Apparently, the people who had the place built based their coat of arms on the signs used by pharmacists. I suppose this means that the entwined snakes emblem you see sometimes for pharmacists these days is a little watered-down from the original version.

Here's another cat:

It was advertising a souvenir shop, Cats of Kotor. We didn't go inside Cats of Kotor, as cats didn't appear to feture in its collection of objets d'art. It was as if the entire shop only got its name because someone knitted a large cat and dressed it in clothes.

Finally, here's one last shot of the beautiful bay:

Hmm, yes, it would definitely look better if we weren't there.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).