Reality in Kotor

By Rob Packer

My arrival in Montenegro was hardly glamorous: my bus pulled into Budva at around 4:30am after 8 and a half hours crossing the mountains of Bosnia and Montenegro: either the quality of the roads or the suspension combined with an inconveniently timed border crossing into Montenegro meant that I didn’t get much sleep and justified my lie-in that way.

I decided to spend the afternoon in Kotor, a city that saw its heyday under nearly four centuries of Venetian rule. The town sits at the head of the Bay of Kotor, a spectacular submerged river canyon that feels and looks more like a fjord. In winter, it’s almost deserted and you can enjoy getting lost as you wander around: the place is a maze, although the Romanesque cathedral with its frescoes and the sides of the bay are always there to orient you.

The postcard view of Kotor.

What will make Kotor forever special for me, though, was the lunch I had at the Stari Grad restaurant. The tagliatelle with prawns that I had was excellent, but I had the strange sensation of feeling like I was being forced to watch southern hemisphere versions of reality TV. On one table, Rich Bride, Poor Bride was playing with a couple discussing their wedding and then—seemingly out of the blue—the bride was almost in tears; meanwhile in Location, Location, Location a group of people were looking to buy second homes in Europe—apparently there are some real deals at the moment.

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3 Responses to Reality in Kotor

  1. leifhendrik says:

    Just finished enjoying your posts on Montenegro. Thanks for all those marvelous photos. Many of them, especially of Kotor, could be early 19th century landscape paintings. The light seems extraordinary. You’ve really given me some things to think about.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed them! Montenegro really is spectacularly beautiful. I know what you mean about them being 19th century landscape paintings: the mountains inland from Kotor really reminded me of The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich.

      • leifhendrik says:

        Friedrich has always fascinated and inspired me. Canaletto might have enjoyed painting in Montenegro too. Something about the light, colors and buildings especially remind me of him.

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