----- Montenegro ---------------
I honestly never expected to ever visit Montenegro, a small country once part of the former Yugoslavia on the Adriatic Sea. Montenegro is an amazingly beautiful country of stark contrasts in landscape. Dominating mountain peaks with beautiful deep blue fjords line this tiny country. My visit was very brief, but worth the trip. There are many day trips offered in Dubrovnik, Croatia to come visit many interesting sights in Montenegro. My trip was via cruise ship which gave me the unique perspective to sail into the welcoming fjords directing our ship to Kotor, Montenegro at the end of the fjord. The views were breathtaking as we slowly made our way inland, and Kotor at the end of the journey was a gem to be found.
Kotor in the distance would appear to represent a city in Norway, but upon closer inspection is unique. Palm trees line the front of the city walls reminding you that you are in a Mediterranean climate. The city wall is located on the edge of the sea with a creek pouring out of the steep mountain running along the wall. Leading upwards from Kotor is a steep city wall protecting the city from invasion of neighboring cities, which clearly nowadays is purely useful only for tourism purposes. The city streets are narrow with many cats wandering the streets looking for scraps of food. The poor cats appeared sick and malnourished. Other then this many restaurants and shops can be found as in any other tourist stop, but it isn't too commercialized. Granted tourism hasn't hit this country too hard, and you can still enjoy this tranquil city.
I had stumbled upon a small restaurant where I went in for some local cuisine. The restaurant was a hotel and restaurant, albeit small. This was a family run business, and I had a nice conversation with the owner's son. We talked about many things while I was awaiting my food to arrive. He opened a bottle of grappa and we drank together sharing experiences and enjoying each other's company. He was very friendly, and he gave me a large discount on my dinner. I was quite pleased, and offered to pay him the full amount, but he declined to accept. I told him if I ever come back to Kotor, I would love to stay in his hotel. Many of the locals were very friendly, and I truly enjoyed my brief time here.
I would recommend a trip to Kotor, but it is a little remote. It does take some time to reach this city. The easiest way to visit is by cruise ship. However as I had mentioned, there are some nice day trip packages for a decent price from Croatia to explore this country. You can also rent a car and travel to Montenegro enjoying the majestic mountain scenery of this tiny yet beautiful country.