Hot, sultry and sweaty are three adjectives that describes the weather of the day I decided to hike up the fortress of Kotor. But there are even more adjectives to describe the scenery. For example, you could say it was beautiful, stunning, marvelous, magnificent or wonderful. While this might sound like exaggerations, it is actually not. The hike up the old ring wall, constructed during the 15th century by the venetians, is actually magical.
Starting in the old town of Kotor, paying 3€ and then hiking up the old stairs you get treated well from the beginning. Just after a few minutes I am already elevated enough to get a view of the red tile roofs of Kotor’s Stari Grad (old town). It is 35°C hot, so the Kotor bay, with its deep, blue water is surely tempting, but for now I decide to continue the 365-meter high climb.
The hike continues, and eventually I reach the fortress itself, which is, so to say, a bit rougher. While this not necessarily is a bad thing, it seems that this place never has been fully renovated. There are however several reinforcement bars sticking out of concrete, so someone has probably made an attempt of fixing the place. This though gives this place its own charm, and it is nice to, for once, be in a place where every little thing not has been fixed for the tourists. It somewhat feels like you are exploring something new, even though there are other tourists nearby taking their own photos, and it actually makes the history of this fortress feel even more alive. I still hope that the state of Montenegro soon will have the funds needed to partly renovate this place and give Kotor the fortress they deserve, without destroying too much of the charming roughness. And the view does not need any renovation…
On the way down, I look through one of the many holes in the walls and discover a small, decayed village. The people has been exchanged for goats and in a little stone church, a donkey is protecting itself from the sun. This village could without doubt also have been turned into a picturesque tourist attraction, but for now it seems like I am the only one who has been here for years (the truth is probably that someone “discovers” the village every other hour). This is also what gives the fortress of Kotor its charm, it actually feels a bit like you are discovering something new, and not only being pushed onto a tourist suited sight like in many other places.