A visit to Perast, a UNESCO village

Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Prčanj, Kotor Municipality, Montenegro
At 9:40pm, we lined up in the hot sunshine to catch the bus back into Kotor. As the small bus was already quite full, the driver had to stand up and instruct passengers to keep moving to the back. In the end, we boarded the bus via the middle door, squeezing in to allow the doors to close. Fortunately, a large group of young people exited the bus about 5 minutes later, and so we were able to sit for the remainder of the 20-minute ride.
Once in Kotor, we were able to ascertain that the next bus to the UNESCO listed town of Perast would leave from the same stop, and so we just had to wait the 15 minutes until it arrived. With sections of the road having a speed limit of 80 (in Australia, I think we would have made the limit 60, given how narrow and windy the road is!), the driver tore along at a pace fitting for a Formula 1 driver! 
Twenty minutes later, we arrived in the small town of Perast. The bus passed through the boom gates preventing cars from proceeding any further, squeezing past parked cars with only an inch separating both vehicles! I was amazed the bus didn’t take off the car’s side mirror.
‘In the Middle Ages, this natural harbour on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro was an important artistic and commercial centre with its own famous schools of masonry and iconography. A large number of the monuments (including four Romanesque churches and the town walls) were seriously damaged by the 1979 earthquake but the town has been restored, largely with UNESCO’s help.
Gitti, Michael and I climbed the old clock tower (1 euro each) — always a good way to obtain a bird’s eye view of a location. For 5 euros each, we then took a small boat out to the only artificially built island in the Adriatic Sea, Our Lady of the Rocks, passing the small island of St George. By the time we had peaked inside the church (Gitti paid to go inside, as it is now a museum) and walked around outside, larger boat loads of tourists were arriving — it was time to make our escape! We took the next boat back to the mainland, and then continued exploring the old town. Michael and I explored up a flight of steps, but found that it only led to the main road that bypasses the town. We walked along the road until we came upon another flight of steps leading back into the town centre, and then meandered along the alleyway running parallel with the road on the sea front. By this stage, we were both in need of a toilet. We popped our heads inside a building that purported to be a tourist information office. I’m not sure what service was really offered there, but the young man gave us permission to use the ‘not very clean’ toilet in the building. 
It was almost time to rendezvous with Gitti and Hermann, and so we wandered back to the bus stop area where they were waiting. Michael and I enjoyed some gelati before lining up for the return trip to Kotor. 
Michael and Hermann stood for most of the journey, whilst I sat in a single seat on the seaward side of the bus. As the bus careered around the bends, I had to hold on tightly with both hands to prevent myself from being flung off my seat and on to the other side of the bus! We were certainly wise to leave the car parked in the apartment’s driveway for our stay in this area and leave the driving to the locals.
After buying supplies for dinner from one of the two large supermarkets, and wandering back to the bus stop through the Old Town and the market just outside, we sat in the shade of the bus shelter and waited for the bus back to Prcanj. Fortunately, it wasn’t too crowded and we managed to sit for the entire journey.
Michael went for a dip down at the ‘beach’ and then cooked a roast dinner whilst Gitti and I wandered along the road by the waterfront to take photos of an old abandoned villa known as the Tre Sorelle palace, or Palace of the Three Sisters. It dates back to the 15th century and is one of the few Gothic-style monuments in Boka Bay. Legend has it that the 3 sisters fell in love with the same man, but he couldn’t decide which one to marry. He sailed away vowing he would return and marry whichever one of the sisters was still waiting for him. All three patiently waited for many years. When the first sister died, the other two walled up the window to her room, as did the last surviving sister when the next one died. The sailor never did return — perhaps the third sister’s body is still lying inside?!
We enjoyed a delicious roast dinner, although the ‘capsicum’ turned out to really be hot chili! It took a while for my poor mouth to stop burning. The rest of the meal was very good, unlike the croissants Michael had tried to heat up for breakfast!
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This is indeed a delightful place to have a holiday. The scenery is superb from mountaintops to the sea. History reeks out from the artistic, iconographic paintings and masonry works stemming from the time of the Middle Ages, when this area of the Adriatic was the commercial centre of Montenegro. There is so much to see and do, the foursome at times breaks away for swimming or visiting the home of three hapless sisters, who end up being walled up in their bedrooms at death, having waited in vain for marriage to the one man, who is inlove with each of them and cannot decide which sister to marry, so disappear from the scene, never to return. The "girls" prefer a time by themselves strolling through an abandoned villa. Mind you, the foursome enjoy much of the day visiting together the workings of the bell tower in the town clock. Then there are the hectic bus journeys from their apartment to the UNESCO village and then back again, driven by drivers imagining they are Formula 1 experts as they traverse the winding narrow roads. A really magnificent day and enjoyable dinner.


What a thoughtful summary of our day, Dad. I should send you my summaries and get you to rewrite them for me! :-)