Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Montenegro chapter Bay of Kotor has to say about Kotor’s setting and famous town walls:
“Wedged between brooding mountains and a moody corner of the bay, the achingly atmospheric Kotor is perfectly at one with its setting. Hemmed in by staunch walls snaking improbably up the surrounding slopes, the town is a medieval Middle-Ages maze of museums, churches, cafe-strewn squares and Venetian palaces and pillories. It’s a dramatic and delightful place where the past coexists with the present.
The main entrance to the town was constructed in 1555 when it was under Venetian rule (1420–1797). Look out for the winged lion of St Mark, Venice’s symbol, which is displayed prominently on the walls here and in several other spots around the town. Above the gate, the date of the city’s liberation from the Nazis is remembered with a communist star and a quote from Tito.
Žuta Plaža - Private swimming platforms take up much of the waterline, but this pebbly stretch closest to Kotor is open to everybody. It’s a beautiful spot for a swim, with the sheer mountain walls looming above, but it should be noted that there have been problems with water quality here.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
It had been a few days since we arrived in Kotor and we had decided we would take things really slowly before heading into the busy Old Town area. When we learned that a large farmer’s market sets up on Saturday mornings, we felt that was the perfect time to see the port area and pick up some fresh provisions for our apartment.
As we drew closer to the port we walked past a rocky beach that appeared to be quite popular with swimmers and sunbathers despite the proximity of the massive cruise ships. I was surprised to see a father with his two children, busily covering them with the small pebbles.
I had the thought that perhaps this is all the children know of beaches; that they don’t know the sweetness of fine sand like the beaches in Southeast Asia. Still, it didn’t surprise me when I read that the water in the area was less than ideal; we’re told that during the summer months the bay hosts as many as four large ships at a time.
I know it’s an optical illusion, but when we reached the town walls at last it looked like the bow of the gargantuan cruise ship was almost reaching across the square and touching the ancient walls. To me, it was quite alarming, not a beautiful sight at all. There is talk of prohibiting cruise ships from entering the lagoon at Venice, perhaps they should keep the ships out in the Aegean as well and use small tour boats to bring tourists into Kotor instead of letting them literally roll off the gangway and stumble through the narrow gate.
We managed to steer our way through the throngs of tour groups and around to the far side of the walls where the market was set up. We loaded up our backpacks with a variety of vegetables and I even managed to find some olives stuffed with almonds for a treat. As soon as we’d done our shopping, we snapped some photos of the eastern gate and then headed back to the peaceful confines of nearby Dobrota. We decided that we’d return one evening when the passengers were having their dinner on board their ships and the streets of the old town would be more peaceful.