Sunday 6 July 2014

Peacock island!

Day 8: Dubrovnik, Croatia to Kotor, Montenegro

We only had one morning left in Croatia before heading onto Montenegro so decided to start early to make the most of it.  We grabbed another bakery breakfast on our way in to the old town.  From there we jumped on a boat headed to a local island looking back onto the city, Lokrum.

Lokrum is just 600 metres from Dubrovnik city and once housed the holiday home of Austrian archduke (and short-lived Emperor of Mexico) Maximilian. It is now a Nature Reserve and a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve.

A Benedictine abbey and monastery were built on the island in 1023, followed by a Botanical Garden in 1959. Most impressive, however, is the families of peacocks that roam freely, brought over by Maximilian from the Canary Islands.

There are lots of walking routes around this small 0.8km2 island and we started off by walking to the opposite side of the island for a morning swim off the rocky ‘beach’.

Next up was a visit to the ‘Dead Sea’ (Mrtvo More) - a 10m deep small salt lake.

Another piece of water, another swim

Then it was time to hike up to the island’s highest point (96m above sea level) to the Fort Royal Castle (aka ‘Maximilian’s Tower). It was a rocky and hot walk but gave great views back over Dubrovnik.

No pipe-smoking on the trail! 

There was just time for a swim (or in my case, sunbathe) by the port before catching the boat back to the mainland.

A quick lunch in the old town (followed by apple pie ice-cream) powered us on for our bus onto Kotor, crossing the boarder into Montenegro.

Impressive co-ordination for the bus journey!

Shortly before arriving into the town, the bus stopped for fuel and we jumped out to take pictures of the stunning scenery.

Kotor has a beautiful setting, nestled in-between mountains and a picture-perfect bay.

Heading out into the Old Town’s cobbled labyrinth lanes to explore we lost ourselves in a maze of marbled lanes - discovering hidden piazzas, churches and cafes at every turn.

View from our hostel room
The Stari Grad (old town) is situated between the bay and the lower slopes of Mt Lovćen.

The city walls climbing up the mountain above 
We had a pre-dinner drink of Serbian white wine in a hidden square…

Before finding ourselves in a lively open space where we took at seat at Scorpio restaurant in St Nicholas Church Square for a delicious seafood dinner.

We feasted on stuffed calamari with seafood risotto…

plus a fish plate of squids, calamari, prawns and lies fish.

All washed down with a rose Montenegro wine and grapefruit beer.

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