Today we will be leaving the tiny country of Montenegro to get to Croatia. But first,we stopped at the towns of Perast and Herceg Novi on the way out. Again, public transportation between countries is pretty limited or super complicated so we ended up hiring a car and driver to take us to Croatia while stopping in some places of interest.
When booking the car we had a misunderstanding, we agreed we were going to get picked up outside the main gates. When the time arrived and no car showed up, I called the tour agency and they told me they are waiting already… that is when we figured out they were waiting outside the city’s main doors and not the house main doors. Oops! Medieval city problems!
Our guide was a super tough Serbian girl who moved to Montenegro not long ago. She was nice, but it looked like if we pissed her off we could wake up in a bathtub in Kosovo without a lung.
A few kilometers northwest of Kotor, is the town of Perast and is noted for its proximity to the islets of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks. Throughout the centuries, many empires battled for control of the city. Perast has been part of the Byzantine Empire, Medieval Serbia, Venetian Republic, French Empire, Austrian Empire and finally part of Yugoslavia. I guess if the residents here have some kind of identity crisis.
At the fall of the “Serenissima”, Perast was the last city of the Republic to lower the Venetian flag. On 12 May 1797, the Republic of Venice ended, but a few places in the Albania Veneta for several months still continued to remain loyal to the Venetian Republic: Perast was the last place of the Republic to surrender.
The St George island with its small church from the 12th century and the artificial island Our Lady of Skrpjela has a legend surrounding it. According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea.
The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fašinada in the local dialect, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place.
The first known church was built on the islet in 1452. It was taken over by Roman Catholics and in 1632 the present Church of Our Lady of the Rocks was built.
The church contains 68 paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a famous 17th-century baroque artist from Perast. His most important painting, ten meters long, is The Death of the Virgin.
More paintings that look exactly as all the other paintings around Europe.
The church received donations for centuries and now it is a type of gallery and treasury of various objects.
The church also houses a collection of silver votive tablets. Over 2,500 votive silver tablets are housed at the Church, depicting tales of the threats the sailors survived whilst away from the Bay of Kotor.
The old city does not have a defensive wall, but instead, it has nine defensive towers, the most important of which is the tower of the Holy Cross. These were built by the navy of the Venetian Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The story says that when pirates attacked Perast. One of them shot Jesus 3 times as you can see in his body, the third shot made the pirate’s gun explode, killing him instantly. I guess Jesus delivered some good Karma.
We jumped into the car to drive a few miles to the town of Herceg Novi, located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor and at the foot of Mount Orjen. Our guide used to visit here when she was a kid so she knew exactly where to take us.
This town does not offer much for the average tourist, so we walked for a few minutes around it’s streets that looked like a ghost town.
We stopped at the beach to enjoy a nice beer, in a cup made out of glass, without being carded, for $2, with nice electronic music playing with a bunch of good looking people naked sunbathing. I’m sorry, but the U.S. is not the best country in the world to live in as its beaches don’t offer any of that!
Enjoying life is enjoyable.
Bonus Pic Of The Day: I think most of our readers don’t know where the hell are these countries we are recently posting from. So here is a nice map. The whole Balkans area is roughly the same size of Texas.