Thursday, May 30, 2019
Today a full day of Kotor and no travelling, so we slept in a bit and took our time. At breakfast we met Royale; her plans were to climb the mountain stairs with Tracy at least up to the chapel. Eke felt like she could do that and decided to join them. Brian decided to take it easy and get wine and grapes for the afternoon boat tour.
Eke and Royale walked to the old city, which is already a half hour walk. They met Tracy there, paid their 8 euros and started climbing the rough stone stairs that have been there for centuries. The stairs were narrow with most of the time a low stone wall beside them. The higher we got, the steeper the stairs were which raised our heart rate and quickened our breath. We stopped at several places to calm the heart rate down and slow down our breathing – and to enjoy the view! Eke started to practice regulating the breath while climbing and that helped a lot.
We reached the chapel and the views from there were amazing: looking over Kotor and the bay. The water of the bay was a nice blue. It was a sunny day with a nice breeze. The chapel was very small and very plainly decorated. We were told that the chapel had been a pilgrim church. People made the pilgrimage to the chapel for protection against the plague for instance or other personal calamities.
The three of us felt like we could continue further and on we went! Just to let you know that the number of steps to the fortress is 1500 going up continually and the whole climb takes about an hour depending on how fast you climb. The chapel is a little less than halfway.
Tracy started to feel her bad knee and decided to go down again. Royale and Eke went on and admired the views off and on. At several places along the way was an opportunity to buy a bottle of water – which Eke did. About three quarters of the way up was a wide area, almost like a walled patio, where we stopped and took the opportunity to take some more photos. There were lots of wildflowers which Eke really enjoyed. Royale decided to stay there while Eke felt she could go on to the fortress.
The last part of the climb was quite steep and the stairs wound through some ruins of the old fortress with some narrow “halls”. It was a challenge and an adventure to reach the top where the flag was planted. Eke made it and looked around. There were ruins of “rooms” and the views were very clear – a long way down to Kotor! Eke met Christine and Gay there and had her picture taken at the flag – proof that she had made it to the top!
The three of us decided to tackle the 1500 steps down together. We saw some nice lookouts on the way down and then we met Royale going up. She had decided that she would regret not going all the way up and felt that she could make it. Eke offered to go back up with her; Royale said that she was fine. Going down was also not easy; easier on the heart rate and the breathing, yet not so easy on the legs. We met lots of people going up of course and there was always a kind of silent negotiation re who was going to step off the stairs on to the loose rocks. Eke decided that if the person coming up was older or a child she would step off and let them use the steps. Others who are the “in-between” adults did not get the same right of way! We came down again in the old city. Eke was surprised how good she felt and had no trouble with her legs.
In one of the narrow streets we saw a couple treating a (street) kitten who had infected eyes and feeding another one. A little further down were four cats having their “lunch” – someone had fed them. These are street scenes that we don’t see around us at home.
We decided to walk back to the hotel (another half hour). Eke met Brian at the hotel, freshened up a bit, changed out of sweaty clothes, ate an apple and then it was time to walk to the dock for our boat tour.
Brian had had a good chat with Dusan at breakfast, enjoyed the extra time and had picked up the goodies for the afternoon.
Our local guide Slobodan went with us on the boat tour through the Bay of Kotor. It was sunny most of the time, a breeze, and we had nice views of the shore; small villages with lots of churches on the shore or halfway up the mountain. There is one small village that has 22 churches! We all had brought lots of good finger food, wine, beer, soft drinks so the mood was a happy one!
We stopped at a man-made island with a small church called the Lady of the Rock. Part of the church was made into a museum. Slobodan gave us a tour of the church and told us about the history and decorations in the church. Eke found that during the talk she had trouble keeping her eyes open and didn’t succeed! She nodded off a few times – sitting on a bench after a glass of wine, food and a good climb in the morning, church was the perfect place to nod of don’t you think so?! She hopes that Slobodan forgives her!
Back on the boat! We travelled to Perast – a small village on the coast where we had a drink on an outdoor patio on the water. We also admired a very old Wisteria tree that had formed a roof over another patio. If Eke is right, she heard Slobodan say that the tree was 2000 years old. Back to the dock and getting ready for dinner. This meant again a half hour walk to the old city. This was our last dinner together with the whole group as Christine has to leave right after we arrive in Dubrovnik. We had soup and salad which tasted great. Most of the group had seafood. Eke had a nice chat with Jenny.
Then it was walking back, packing and getting some sleep!