kotorfeature

ROAD TRIP: CROATIA, MONTENEGRO & BOSNIA… PART 5 of 10

PART 5 – KOTOR: SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO EMBRACE THE TOURIST TRAP 

We drive southerly from Dubrovnik along the coast and cross the border to Montenegro, literally called Black Mountain.

Sometimes you end up in one of those places that for some reason has that rough and tumble feel, despite being a tourist destination. Usually missing body parts are tell-tale signs, like the taxi driver in Napoli that wanted 10 Euros for a 5 Euro meter fare, but only had 9 fingers to lift up to express this. In Montenegro, this rough and tumble town is Kotor.

With its tranquil bay harbor, and a most amazing mountain landscape complete with snow tips, Kotor is where huge cruise ships dock and off-load droves of tourists that mill about within the walls of the Old Town.

Everyone has their antennae up and are smart enough to want to avoid the tourist traps, suspiciously peering at the jewelry shops and skincare salons where direct sales agents call you in like it is the red light district. So you try to go off the beaten track a little to find the cuter cafes in the back allies, rather than the overpriced eateries in the main square — although Hotel Cattaro was quite lovely and did offer an amazing bathroom break.

Kotor is the type of town where you find beyond the main square an inn proprietor that has created an extension of his lobby café on the sidewalk by throwing down a few folding chairs and maybe hanging some laundry to mark his territory as well. This man has the cold dead eyes you think you may have seen in a movie and will take your coffee order.

No water is offered… so you ask… and are given a large bottle of local sparkling water you have grown to adore, usually 1-2 bucks max at the street kiosks.

When you ask for the bill your coffee was a dollar (as advertised on the menu) and the water (which conveniently was not listed on the menu) was 10. You can get angry, demand for fair treatment, pick a fight, but is it really worth it to face off with the man with cold dead eyes? Sometimes you just embrace the tourist traps, along with the rough and tumble, and let it not ruin your day.

Just to top it off I decided to go into one of the skincare salons and got duped into buying Israeli dead sea mineral and salt bath scrub to the tune of US$150 dollars.

Now what does Israel have to do with Montenegro?

***

NEXT: PART 6  of 10

***

ROAD TRIP: CROATIA, MONTENEGRO & BOSNIA – A 10-PART SERIES

PART 1 – THREE TIPS ON PICKING A TRAVEL DESTINATION

PART 2 – DUBROVNIK: EAT PIZZA AND LISTEN TO THE CROATIAN

PART 3 – AVOID MADE IN CHINA STUFF

PART 4 – DRIVING IN THE EMERGING MARKETS

PART 5 – KOTOR: SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO EMBRACE THE TOURIST TRAP

PART 6 – BUDVA: WHEN IN A ONE RESTAURANT TOWN, GO TO THE ONE RESTAURANT

PART 7 – ALBANIA: DROP TIJUANA, IF YOU HAVE TO DROP A LOCATION – – OR NOT…

PART 8 – SARAJEVO: DON’T BE A FEARLESS AMERICAN

PART 9 – MOSTAR: ALWAYS GIVE A PLACE 24 HOURS BEFORE YOU JUDGE

PART 10 – HVAR, SPLIT AND STONE: A JOURNEY’S END

***

Stock Image Courtesy of Ovchinnikova Irina / Shutterstock.com