So Kotor is a small town on the coast of Montenegro that lies next to "the biggest fjord in Southern Europe" which actually isn't super impressive after seing the fjords in Norway but nonetheless it is a very nice place. The old town is surrounded by walls and the city is a maze of tiny streets with a few squares and churches mixed here and there
. Mellow atmposphere during the day but they get after it pretty good at night. First night I stayed home and realized that was pointless since it is impossible to sleep with loud music and singing right outside your window, so the next night I went out and met some Serbians who were there on vacation and had some interesting conversation. Keeping to the pattern, they were both giants. I talked to them about the war and got their opinion about some of the things I read in this book, Balkan Ghosts, which I had picked up in Budapest, and I think in general they agreed with many of the points made. I had never heard of the book but after picking it up I checked on Amazon and there were a billion reviews, many of them bashing the author but many praising as well. Not surprising since it is such a sensitive issue. One of the interesting parts of travelling around this part of Europe is the history lesson you get. Somehow or another I made it through many years of schooling without realizing how influential the Ottoman Empire was. Virtually all of these countries went through roughly 500 years of Ottoman rule followed by one form or another of communist dictatorship with varying degrees of influence from the USSR. I think the guidebook said that Romania just celebrated it's 24th year as an independent country...ever. But anyway just listening to the Serbian music this guy was pointing out the eastern/turkish influence in everything from food to music, etc. Well enough babbling, onto Dubrovnik via 3 hr bus.
Oops, duh, forgot to mention the highlight of the trip to Kotor which was the climb to the top of the fortress in the mountains behind the city. Spectacular view of the city and fjord as you can see in the pictures. Was quite the hike getting up there and it was about 95 and humid so a good cardio workout as well. All for 1 euro. Good deal.
One thing I didn't mention about Belgrade was 1) it was good preparation for a trip to the sun, and 2) we had no water the whole last day at the hostel, which is why I ponied up 10 euro to go to a pretty crappy gym just so that I could get a shower. I thought this was an anomaly til I got to Kotor and the guy at the hotel told me that the water in the city was "kaput" was his exact expression. Guess it isn't that rare in these parts after all to have no water. Unlike in Belgrade, however, this situation was fixed in a matter of hours.