Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kotor, Montenegro

October 17, 2012

Margaret and I walked the deck this morning at 6:30 am.  There was a strong headwind for us to walk against going one way, and then when the wind was at our backs.  We had to lean into it.  The bonus of the early morning was watching the sun rise – red and orange striations on the horizon.  We were the only walkers.  Thre were other people up there -- all people who their cameras propped on the front rail, hoping for a good pictures.

At this time last year, Mary and I were walking the Old City streets of Kotor.  Today I was walking them again, remembering most of the spots from last year.  I was surprised how the voice of last year’s tour director became my voice.  Remember how every conqueror of this region put them own crest on the city walls. Mary?  – never removing the old, just adding a new stamp of ownership.  Those crests are all still there.  Margaret keeps reminding me that the Venetians were a war faring city state and conquered many regions around them.  The Venetians put their stamp on Kotor, as evidenced in the architecture.

The walled city is so small that Margaret and I could walk every street in a couple of hours, which we did.  On one street another set of tourists warned us, “Don’t go down that street.”  Someone using a power driven stapler had shot the gun and sent staples flying outward.  Now staples were embedded in the tourist’s leg.  He had rolled up his pant, dug out the staples and was checking to see how deep the bleeding wound was.  His partner was busy saving other tourist’s from the same fate.

That seemed odd given that the next street over everything was relaxed and quiet. We stopped to watch 3 cats lying in the sun, seemingly unaware of the tourists. A little further down was the invitation on a window off a cosmetic store advertising dead sea salt as a cleanser for the hands.  Margaret agrees with me – anything with the word dead in it, isn’t all that appealing.

We watched the inside of a building being demolished by hand, the man loading up the sand and stone and dumping the debris out of a window and onto a tarp laid out on the street. “Renovating”, said a tourist.  “I don’t think so,” said Margaret.  “That one should be called rebuilding.”

For three euros, David Wood walked a zig-zag path to a crumbling castle-fortification half way up a mountain.  Greg and Wyona waved down to us from the top of a church dated 806 B.C.  Moiya claims that one of the best gelatos of her life just leaped off of a shop keeper’s counter and into her hands in Kotor.  Wyona confirmed that Kotor does have good gelato.

Earlier in the day, Margaret and I watched four lifeboats lowered into the water – the life boats were the tender vehicles to carry people ashore, each able to hold 112 adults and 14 children. Between the tender and the main ship was a small gap over which people had to move to get into the boat.  I watched people load.  About every third one was hitting their head on the top of the door of the tender, since it was one step down to get into the boat.  Others were supported on both elbows to make the leap across the narrow strip of water.  The man in front of me said, “I have an artificial hip and I don’t want to slip.”  The only person who seemed unafraid of the leap is the 97 year old on board.  She is the last one off the dance floor at night and the first one into the theatre at night.  She takes the stairs without holding onto the banisters. She doesn’t mind living  dangerously.

After I watched the third, then the fourth, then the fifth person bump their head I began to laugh like one does in a Laurel and Hardy movie – as in when that 2 x 4 comes around and hits someone, first from the right and then from the left and then from the right again.


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