Where to go in Montenegro
Places I saw and recommend in Montenegro: Kotor, Budva, Perast, Lovćen's Mausoleum, and Durmitor National Park.
The highest compliment you can give a place is to say, "I want to buy a house here." It's more meaningful than saying "I want to live here," because buying a house is a deeper commitment than renting. These were my thoughts as I walked through the romantic streets of Kotor, Montenegro.
Montenegro is smaller than Connecticut, but it has Alpine scenery, deep canyons, coastal fjords, old Venetian-style towns, and a sparsely vegetated, limestone mountain range that plummets into the azure Adriatic Sea. Montenegro has it all. But it was Kotor, a town which lies in the largest fjord in southern Europe, that stole my heart.
The highlight of Eastern Europe
In 2004, I randomly bumped into Marco in Dubrovnik. We had originally met in Belgrade and then traveled to Sarajevo together. We were happy to see each other again and we agreed to explore Montenegro together. Less than a decade had passed since Croatia and Montenegro were at war, so there were still no nonstop buses between the countries. The bus let us off at the border, where we walked across the border with our backpacks, and then boarded a Montenegrin bus that would take us to Herceg Novi, an attractive seaside town. Palm trees, a good sandy beach, and a quaint old town make Herceg Novi a worthwhile stop. After a few hours of wandering, we bought a bus ticket to Kotor. And that's when the magic really began.
My heart rate increased as we approached Kotor. The bus followed a twisty road that hugs the coastline. Soon, we passed the mouth of Kotor Bay. My jaw dropped. Glorious, steep mountains soar out of the sea, inspiring you to climb them, or at least admire them. Like a child, I pressed my face and hands onto the bus window, marveling at the two adorable islands in the sparkling bay, each with a picturesque church on it. It's as if we were entering a hidden kingdom, guarded by a narrow bay opening and vertical mountains. I told Marco, "This place is a fantasy."
This is an excerpt of The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us. Read my 2004 blog post, which was the first time that I fell in love with Kotor (it includes many photos of Kotor too).
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