Having emerged from the long mountain tunnel that separates Lake Skadar National Park from Montenegro’s coastline, the landscape was decidedly different. Gone were glimpses of the expansive Adriatic. In its place was Lake Skadar, Southern Europe’s largest lake.
Sitting in a barber shop in the coastal city of Split, Croatia, I struggled to answer the stylist’s simple question: How long would we be visiting Croatia? I had learned a smattering of Croatian words, but the names of the months had so far escaped me.
Remembering the calendar hanging above my head – albeit adorned with nude calendar girls – I flipped through the weeks and pointed to a date. As I exposed each month’s voluptuous model, the 70-something barber’s moustache-framed mouth curled into a mischievous grin. However awkward the method, I had satisfied his curiosity. Clearly I was in male territory, though.
When night falls over the rugged mountains cradling Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor, it becomes very clear why the country’s native name, Crna Gora, means ‘black mountain.’
As the sun is snuffed out each night, the mountains make like a chameleon, going from steel grey to a black silhouette. Eventually, the water of the mighty bay transforms into a shiny onyx. In the historic city of Kotor, the buttery-yellow lights of the buildings in the town’s center are enhanced by the city’s centuries-old, illuminated ramparts, which encircle the city like a ring of fire. Seeing this nocturnal spectacle for the first time, I thought that the UNESCO World Heritage-listed area must be most striking by night, but after hiking to Kotor’s fortress by day, I concluded that both were incredible times to observe this historical site.
“The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot
A wooden boat sits tethered in the fjord-like Bay of Kotor, near the town of Perast, Montenegro. On a crisp, spring afternoon, we took in this incredible vista from a nearby café, while imagining what adventures lay ahead.
Tucked away among rustic mountains, on a majestic bay, is the small Montenegrin city of Kotor. It’s ringed by fortifications that took one thousand years to build and has an impressive Old Town and alluring fresh food market. (Think strawberries that rival softballs!)
In the sleepy town of Perast, Montenegro, we were drawn to a canopy of wisteria, intoxicated by its delicate perfume and enchanting, lavender hue. The symphony of hundreds of bees at work enhanced the moment.