While the resort town of Budva is an absolute delight, no trip to Montenegro is complete without a visit to nearby Kotor. It’s an ancient village situated in one of the most incredible locations on the planet – it sits on the banks of the Gulf of Kotor, with astonishing mountains on all sides.
Climbing up the cliffs are the walls of the ancient fortified city. They reach a height of around 500m and provide heaps of great places to look out over the water, and as I was wheezing my way up there I was regretting every kebab and beer I’ve downed over the last couple of months. Actually, that’s a load of bullshit.
I’ve been to the real Great Wall of China, and the main difference was that this ancient wall had slightly fewer Chinamen climbing all over it. Not that I have a problem with Chinamen – far from it, they’re some of the best little fellas you’ll ever meet, and always smiley and happy. The ruins of the walls and a series of fortifications date back to the 13th and are very well preserved.
Instead, Kotor is infested by a far more invasive species – the cruise boat daytripper. The bay is deep enough that those massive fuck-off cruise boats can slide in and expunge their cargo of loud-mouthed American dickheads, who proceed to swagger around the place, yapping about how much better everything is in America.
Kotor is rabid with these sorts,but fortunately it’s easy to get away from them while climbing up the mountain towards the top of the fortress. While the main track is packed with people, there’s another one that’s as empty as the Cronulla Sharks’ trophy cabinet. It also creeps around abandoned churches and other fun stuff, providing a more authentic Montenegran experience.
I was traipsing around the mountains, having the time of my life, when I heard someone yelling out to me in a funny accent. My blood ran cold as I registered the voice, trying to convince myself that it couldn’t be him. I turned around slowly, and fuck me sideways if I didn’t see Stav the Slav lying on the ground, looking like he’d been shot!
I first encountered Stav at the top of Mount Wellington in Tasmania, where I helped him to the peak before he stole all my food and started demanding I bring him pizza. I left him to die at the top of the mountain, only to have further run-ins with him, and each time he pissed me off more and more. Well, he obviously hadn’t learnt his lesson and was climbing another bloody mountain he shouldn’t have.
“You help, you help,” he said, while wiggling around on the ground like some sort of demented worm. “I fall, you pick up, you carry. Have food? Hungry, hungry. Is hot. Umbrella, umbrella. 50 Euro? Poor, poor.” I think I did the right thing by not rolling the prick back down the hill and into the sea, and instead left him lying up the top of the mountain. Sorry, Stav!
He looked at me like I’d slapped his dog, and got off the ground and started walking around without a limp. When a good sort asked me for help a few seconds later, and I replied by almost carrying her down to the bottom, Stav went off his ‘nana, waving his arms around and acting like a dickhead.
I was hotter than an Asian kid in a casino parking lot by the time I was finished with that, so I grabbed a beer and headed down to what passes for a beach in Kotor. Don’t get me wrong, the view was grouse (and I’m not just talking about the mountains and stuff – there was a few lookers around), but the ‘beach’ is little more than a few metres of rocks, right next to the road. Still, I was able to kick back and relax in one of the more exotic locations I’ve ever been.