Montenegro on the Dalmatian Coast
At the most beautiful fjord of the Mediterranean
Just before arriving at Kotor, a small medieval town in the biggest “fjord” of the Mediterranean, we encountered a small island with a lonely castle built on it. Could it be Venetian? Dalmatian? Or maybe Byzantine? I looked at it, puzzled, but not wishing to learn more about it, for there are times when the charm of a certain place lies in the mystery surrounding it. When we had sailed past the island, leaving the Adriatic behind us, the tempest subsided, the cruise-ship reduced speed and it felt like we were sailing a lake, a natural labyrinth with bays and capes, surrounded by the spectacular mountains of Montenegro.
The fjord had always been a safe refuge for pirates, Venetians, Turks, even Napoleon, and everyone had, at different times, seeked to conquer tiny Kotor; so, I was really anxious to visit this place. But Kotor was well hidden at the deep end of the bay and my curious eyes could not discern it from afar.
The passengers had gathered at the top deck and were gazing at the mountains, the wind whistling furiously through the ravines. On the bridge, the Captain and the officers were quietly and carefully steering the ship around each cape, under the directions of the Montenegrin pilot who had come aboard and who, in his naval uniform, looked a bit like Cary Grant.
I once again rejoiced for being aboard our ship, when I saw a mammoth cruise-ship anchored in open waters while we were gliding deeper into the fjord and finally, past the last cape, saw Kotor in front of us. It was as if it was emerging from a fairy tale, its walls hanging like lace frill from the steep mountains, threatening to the eye but quite protective over its inhabitants. Those who wished to conquer the city, would have to come by way of the sea, for it was unreachable by land; therefore, Kotor managed to develop a thriving economy, based on its maritime power as well as its access to the inland resources of gold, and became an important centre of jewelry making during the Middle Ages.
So, I entered the city through the central gate, and because of a sudden downpour, I sat under the umbrellas of a café at the central square. I noticed people around me running, looking for shelter from the rain. I was amazed! So many beautiful faces, one more beautiful than the other! Slavic blood at its best. Tall and slim young women, running effortlessly, long, wet hair stuck to their faces, tight pants outlining their shapely bodies. Nothing exaggerated, nothing of poor taste. Young men were just as handsome, fit and full of life.
Excerpt from the book: Cruising on the Ocean Majesty