NOTE: This is an excerpt from my travelogue, along with accompanying images from my recent photo workshop "The Ancient Lost Cities of the Mediterranean". During this journey, we visited eight countries, met fascinating people, and photographed amazing sites. Here are some of those stories.
It is the last full day and I woke up early, around 5:20am to catch the sun rising over the mountains of Montenegro. After sailing overnight, our ship enters the large outer bay of Kotor in approximately 30 minutes.
We will spend half the day here and I look forward to exploring our 7th country thus far. The weather continues to be great with a high of 93 degrees. Not a single drop of rain has fallen since I left New York in a downpour nearly two weeks ago. I am thankful for this as the seas have been very calm, and I never even opened the Dramamine.
The harbor of Kotor is dramatically situated at the head of the fjordlike Bay of Kotor under vertical cliffs. I got some wonderful photos of a steeple and hillside homes with the powerful mountain looming just behind it in the distance. There were also two old monasteries that appeared in the dense foliage. The entrance was unlike any of the other ports, and I see why the captain called it his favorite. Our ship felt as if it was in slow motion, cruising through these narrows between the cliffs. Walls completely surround the town, and there are only three entrances. Montenegro means "black mountain", and the country is a former part of the Yugoslavian republic. It's the last of the republic to become independent, just recently in 2006. There is an old saying that the people of this country have salt in their blood and could not live without the sea. They do not have red wine, only black or white. Supposedly the red wine is made from a very dark grape and appears almost black.
There is one country left, Croatia, and I need to get my energy up for the final leg of the journey. Tomorrow will be very challenging as I have to disembark the ship at 9am and then sit outside the airport for an hour or so. They don't have a place to drop off my luggage, and since the flight is at 2:45, I can't check it in until 11:45 the earliest. From there, I hope my suitcase makes it to the transfer at Paris where I have a two hour layover before flying the rest of the way. Hopefully things go smoothly as I can't wait to get home.