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Day 8: Kotor

In this part of the world the sun sets earlier than back home and so we knew that come 8 o'clock there wouldn't be much light. We'd already been into the old town in the afternoon on our first day and were tired after the prevous days' travelling, so we decided to stay in and watch Jurassic Park, complete with Croatian subtitles. We knew that the following morning would be hard work, since we intended to do a lot of climbing early in the day before the sun became too hot and the cruise ships inundated the place with tourists, so a leisurely night in was especially welcome.

As usual I was up bright and early the next morning and so set off to track down the breakfast, which we ate on our terrace. Who can blame us when it looks like this?


Before too long we were ready to tackle the morning's odyssey, a steep climb from the Old Town to the high point behind it. The climb reflects the fact that the Old Town had city walls and fortresses higher up, and it's the paths to the fortresses that we were planning to take. As we approached the Old Town we were given a sharp reminder of how prominent the walls were back in the old days:


We surveyed what was in front of us, a zigzag pattern of steep slopes:


That's incredibly daunting! It didn't look any easier from other angles either:



To our credit, we didn't bottle out of the challenge and so headed through the gates into the Old Town:



We were treated to some sights as we walked through. There was, for instance, a little church, which although blending in with the local buildings stood out to us because we tend to find colossal structures. In such a small Old Town as this, though, it really wouldn't have been possible to erect anything imposing.


In the same square we found a slightly larger church, standing out more from its background because it was isolated from the other buildings. This was a Serbian one, the give-away being not only the flag but particularly the presence of the "four C" emblem in the centre. This is a nationalist insignia meaning "Only Unity Saves the Serbs" (Само слога Србина спасава/Samo sloga Srbina spasava). It struck us a strange thing to be so eminently displayed, until Radio pointed out that in the referendum about whether to break away from Serbia and become an independent state the yes vote was only 52%, and so around half of the population see themselves as tied to Serbia.



Having walked the streets of the Old Town in only a few minutes we had to end our prevarication and get on with the job of climbing. It was only a little after 10 and already the sun was draining our energy.

The climb was extremely steep and no fun at all. Clare and I will never win a medal for our athletic prowess, but we walk a lot on holidays and have never been so tired so quickly as here.

We were treated to some nice views along the way, though:




And here's one of the Old Town, giving an idea of just how small and crammed together it is:


After maybe an hour's climbing we made it to the summit. I quite like that it hasn't been touched up or regenerated - it retains its historical look so much more convincingly like that. Unfortunately, the downside of there being no shop is that we had nowhere from which to purchase refreshments, which we sorely needed after our exertions and under that extraordinarily hot sky.



The way down was, of course, much easier and was done relatively quickly. We decided to grab a drink in one of the squares and then do a little bit of shopping on the way home so that I could prepare lunch and allow us to slip into a relaxing afternoon of doing not very much.

Edited by Tim

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