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Sun May 29 2016: The Serpent and the Cats of Kotor

We're basing ourselves out of Kotor for a couple of days to walk around the city and do some riding around the area. The scenery and the roads around the mountains here are astounding and we want to take advantage of the beautiful weather that's inexplicably continued to follow us. Knowing us, who knows when it'll take a turn for the worse...!


Just outside the gates of Kotor is where all the motorcycles park

We looked on the map and there are amazing twisty roads all around the area. That might explain why there are constantly motorcycle and sports cars buzzing back and forth on the main strip at all hours of the day...


Walking over the moat and through the Venetian fortifications surrounding the old town

Inside the old city there are numerous restaurants and bistros

Kotor is a UNESCO Heritage Site, which means it's a total Gringo Town. The Gulf of Kotor is a popular place for cruise ships to dump thousands of tourists into the old city, to pick up T-shirts and souvenirs.


St Tryphon Roman Catholic Cathedral

Cats. All over Kotor. And all of them want to pee on Neda's motorcycle seat...

I did some research and they say that Kotor was a popular trading port. When ships docked here, the cats on board hopped off and got left behind, so these felines are actually descended from cats from all over the world!


There are so many cats here that there is a museum and a shop dedicated to the Cats of Kotor.

I would have called the Cats Museum the "Meowsoleum"...


Walking around the pretty grounds outside the fortifications of Kotor

Shoreline of the Bay of Kotor, just outside the city walls

A popular hike for people like Neda is trekking up the fortress walls. They climb all the way up the hill to reach the ruins of a church at the top. Neda said there's a great view of the old town and the bay from up there, so I begrudgingly tagged along behind her as she marched up the hill. Unfortunately we are not prepared for the hike as the stairway is broken and crumbling. The lady who was charging admission for the climb looked down at our flip-flops and advised against it. But Neda was having none of that... :(


Castle of San Giovanni above us

There are 1,350 steps to get to the top. Narrow enough for one person only,
so whoever's descending has to give way

You can see some of the ruins below us. Pretty much everyone who came up was wearing hiking shoes. They looked at our sandals and remarked, "You walked up in those?!?!" My calves were going to pay for this tomorrow... :( Did I mentioned how much I hate hiking?


I huffed and puffed until I caught up to Neda, who was already at the top admiring the view

Cool view of the old city and the Bay of Kotor in the background

I love the look of these old buildings from above

Church of San Giovanni

Flag of Montenegro flying over the Bay of Kotor

After that long-ass hike, we retire back to our apartment just outside the city for some much-deserved rest and relaxation. Our host is an older lady and when we checked in, she was delighted that Neda spoke Croatian! Usually her guests are German or Italian or sometimes English, so she struggles with communicating with them. But when we showed up and Neda started speaking Croatian, she treated her like a favorite niece that came to visit! :)


Relaxation for Neda means soaking up some sun and starting up a new cross-stitching project

For me, I'm pretending to work on the blog. I'm soooo far behind.

Although our pace is fairly slow, it has also been constant. We've been on the move pretty much since we left Chiang Mai and between all the planning and riding and hiking, that hasn't left me with any time to update the blog. I am petitioning Neda to opt out of the next hike so I can procrastinate some more...


Here I am procrastinating with these neat Russian Matryoshka dolls.

Shy kitty: "If you don't Gnome me by now..."

So many cats hanging around our apartment! And when they crawl under the covers of our motorcycle for the evening, they smell the cat pee that's been left behind by all the other cats on all our previous stops (well, just on Neda's bike). So naturally they add to it to assert their territory. The problem just keeps compounding, every place we stop and every morning when we uncover the bikes, Neda get a whiff of fresh cat pee on her seat and gets very upset. She does her best to clean it up, but I guess the cats have a better sense of smell than Neda.

I'm so glad no cat has peed on my seat...

I'm researching ways to keep the cats off her seat. I've read that cats don't like the sound of aluminum foil crinkling under their feet. Maybe some cayenne pepper...?


Neda prefers turtles because they don't pee on her seat. Also they move slow. Like us...

Okay, enough touristing around, we're going to do some riding! Neda scoped out the good roads around Kotor and she's planned to take us up a series of switchbacks called the Kotor Serpentine. Check it out above!


Glad we are not spending today in Kotor. A cruise ship the size of the moon has just dumped all its occupants into town!

Getting away from it all in Lovcen National Park

Up at the top of the park, we got an amazing view of Kotor and the bay.
I wasn't kidding about the size of that cruise ship. It's larger than the town itself!

Descending down the Kotor Serpentine

Yesterday, while we were hiking up to the Church of San Giovanni, we heard the sound of rally cars doing a hill climb competition up the Kotor Serpentine. It was very far away, but you could hear them all over town. Now we know what they were up to!


Out of the black, into the blue!

More switchbacks. I should probably put away the camera...

Pretty coastline of Montenegro below

And a mini-tunnel too!

Heading back down towards Kotor

Neda takes an Instagram shot of me #nofilter #tbt (because #blogsolate)

Great day of riding!

We are departing from Kotor to explore more of Montenegro. As we leave our apartment, these two women walking by wanted to get a picture of our huge Round-The-World bikes!


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