Friday, December 13, 2013

Kotor, Montenegro (Port of Call)

Kotor, Montenegro, Port of Call, Celebrity Silhouette

This was Day 5 of our cruise. Yesterday we were in Corfu, Greece.  Tomorrow, we are scheduled to be in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Highlight - Magnificent Views of the Bay of Kotor

This description of Kotor from Wikipedia:
Kotor is a coastal town in Montenegro. It is located in a secluded part of the Gulf of Kotor. The city has a population of 13,510 and is the administrative center of the municipality.

The old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period. It is located on the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea. Some have called the southern-most fjord in Europe, but it is a ria, a submerged river canyon. Together with the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen, Kotor and its surrounding area form an impressive and picturesque Mediterranean landscape.

Montenegro has a population of only about 600,000.  Previously, it was Serbia & Montenegro but on June 3, 2006, Montenegro declared independence after the 2006 Independence referendum.

In recent years, the number of tourists to Kotor has been on the increase, especially from cruise ships.  Today, we were the only cruise ship in the Bay.  This was the only tender port in our entire itinerary.

Check out this short video clip of the ship sailing into the Bay -, taken from the balcony.

Celebrity Today 
Thankfully, it did not look too cold.  High of 60F/16C and low of 46F/8C.  Today, we are on private tour again.

Sailing into the Bay in the morning.  It was breathtaking.  Very breathtaking.

We had come from there. (This was looking aft)

And we were hearing there.  This is looking forward. (Our cabin was nearly the aft, and you can see the hump of the ship from our balcony).

The sea looked so calm.

A surreal sight.  Very beautiful and tranquil now.

Gorgeous bay.

Looking aft, at our balconies.

Look at those mountains.

We ordered Room Service for the kids.  This arrived on time.

It was now getting brighter and we could see more.

See the road.

Kids enjoying their breakfast, still in the PJs!  My girls loves her fried eggs over-easy.  This is not available on Royal Caribbean (only scrambled eggs).

Getting brighter now.  We came in through that narrow channel.

It certainly looks very narrow from here.

Civilisation!  (More like bayfront properties.)

Approaching another narrow bend.

Starting to see more houses.

The bay was very calm.  A wonderful respite from the rocky seas!

The mountains are really high!

You can see another passenger on his balcony.  We were on Deck 10, he was on Deck 11.

Approaching Kotor, I think!

It was 7:32AM.  Only 10C outside.  It was cold.

Kotor was a tender port.  I went to collect tender tickets for my group at 8am.  The queues to collect the tickets were not very long (at least compared to Royal!).

The line below looks intimidating, but I think all of us got onboard the first tender.

Celebrity manned 2 stations.

Good-bye!  See you later!

Anchored in the bay, the beautiful Celebrity Silhouette.

I wonder how many cruise ships the Bay can accommodate at one go.

Taken from the tender craft, which was also a life-boat.

The Silhouette in the bay.

The journey was short, about 10 minutes.  I said we were the first tender, so you may wondering why there was another tender ahead of us!!  Was I wrong?  Yes and No.  Later on, I figured that we were on the first tender for independent travellers.  Tender number 12 here was the first tender for travellers on excursions.  Time for us to get off!

Wonderful scenery.

Many passengers (including us) stopping to take photos.

The tender craft does look like a space shuttle.

It was a short walk out of the port.  We found our guide very easily and we set off for the day.

First stop was Budva, Montenegro. Budva is 3,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Sea coast.

This place is really busy in summer.  It has a beautiful beach.

But it is too cold for tourists now.

We went to the beach for some photos.

Nobody would be swimming in this weather.

Imagine all the beach umbrellas here. (Just google and you'd find images of them on Budva beach).

You can see the old town walls.

The sun shone for a while, hence this pretty picture.

We went into the old town to walk around.  Very narrow streets.

Nothing much was opened.  Very little business to be done during the off-season.

Coastline and cliffs.

We decided to take a break at a cafe that was open.  It had very nice looking desserts!

Hmmmm... worth a try?  Yes.

It was called the Mozart cafe, located very near the entrance to the old town.  You can't miss it.

Here is the menu.  Caffe Latte for 2.5 Euros.

You could get some beer, if you wished.

And also Pizza.

And pasta.

There you have it - Mozart Budva-Stari Grad.

Nice decor.

Moving, we drove and stopped for a photo of this luxury establishment-

The island of Sveti Stefan.

It does look very exclusive.

The villas are certainly very expensive!!

The good thing with being in small private van was that we could stop very often to take pictures.  This was another stop.

Beautiful view of Budva.  We came from there just now.

After that stop, it was a very long and winding drive, into the fog.  Quite scary at times and all of us got a bit car sick.  It took a while before we reached a restaurant up in the mountains.  A welcome stop!

It was rather chilly when we stepped out of the van.  Then we saw the firewood.


That's the restaurant and house.

Inside the restaurant.

There was this cat (relatively well fed) inside the restaurant.

Photo from yester-year.

We went to the place where they smoked the ham.  All the firewood.

They also produced some very strong alcohol here.  40% to 50%.  I took a sniff.  Didn't dare to try.

That's the ham.  We had some in the restaurant.

The outside seating area.  Being off-season, there were no guests.

A view of the street.

This was opened in 1881.

Now, this fridge magnet is very interesting.  I wasn't aware that the Montenegrins had such a great sense of humour.  From what our driver cum guide told us, they have been under seige for centuries and they even had to fight off the Ottoman Turks.

After the restaurant stop, it was time to continue the journey.  We would be heading down the mountain towards Kotor Old Town, where our ship was.

Fantastic scenery along the way.

The words are rather narrow though, and they were two-way roads.

Lovely mountain, trees and a narrow road!

Left turn coming up!

And we stop for another photo.  This view is gorgeous!  You can see the ship in the bay, supposedly the biggest in Europe.

If you look beyond that tall hill (or short mountain?), you see the Tivat airport.  The airport has one runway (2,500m).  According to wiki, the airlines that fly to this airport are :
Air SerbiaBelgrade
Globus AirlinesMoscow-Domodedovo
Montenegro AirlinesBelgradeMoscow-Domodedovo[10]
Seasonal: Paris-Charles de GaulleSt. Petersburg
Moskovia AirlinesMoscow-Domodedovo
Transaero AirlinesSeasonalMoscow-Domodedovo[11]
Ural AirlinesMoscow-DomodedovoSt. Petersburg
VIM AirlinesMoscow-Domodedovo
I have never flown on these airlines before.

The ship looks rather small from here.  An important perspective.

Our guide (the tall guy) pointing out various features from the look-out.

Again, look at the mountains behind us.

The ship looks bigger because I zoomed in a bit.

You can make out the tender boats doing a continuous ferry service.

The airport.

You can see the control tower.  There were two or three aeroplanes on the tarmac.

The Celebrity Silhouette!

Getting much closer to Kotor Old Town now.

Thanks to the tall guy for the safe driving.

Our private tour took about five hours. Then, it was free and easy on our own to explore the old town.  The ship wasn't sailing so soon.  That was the entrance to Kotor old town.

A map for reference.

A closer look at the entrance.

We were inside.

A clock tower, not very tall.

This cafe was opened and it had al fresco seating.  The business was not bad, for winter.

Clock tower.

Narrow streets, typical of such old towns.

Another cafe.

That looks like some type of optical shop, maybe.

Dessert menu of a restaurant.  The prices look reasonable.  All in Euros.

This was the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon.

Very scenic.

You can see ruins on the hill behind.

A closer look.

More ruins.

We were not the only tourists around, a good sign for Kotor.

This looks like the bank of Montenegro - Montenegrobanka!

And, Montenegro Airlines.

Back to this area, which is near the gates.

Alright, we are heading back to the ship.

Tenders were waiting.  Nice.

Last tender for guests at 7:15pm.  I recall the ship was departing at 8pm.

Back to Celebrity Silhouette Ship pictures and content page.

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