It was good to be hitchhiking again. No more waiting for snail paced buses, smelling the man next to me or listening to a whining child who just won’t shut up. Just us, the road and the kindness of strangers (and I have always relied on the kindness of strangers). The first lift was from a perplexed looking man who drove us away from Dubrovnik to an out-of-town shopping centre. Next came a small-time wine producer who held some antiquated views on homosexuality but gave us some beer, so goods and bads. Finally, a lovely young Italian couple picked us up, took us across the border and straight to our destination, the medieval town of Kotor.
Our first stop in town was a treat. After spying the tourist information centre, we directed ourselves and our heavy bags towards the hut. We queued up and when we got to the window before even opening our mouth a map was thrust into our hands. The city map was a glorified photo, very arty for sure, but lacking such things as road names. In other words, bum roll. We asked about accommodation, only to be informed that they don’t deal with accommodation. We asked about the sights to see and they directed us to the map in our hands! What do they actually deal with? We asked about campsites and they mentioned a campsite that was 6km away and gave us a name and a town to head towards. We asked about bus times, they told us to ask the bus driver! When we finally did find the campsite it was over 12 km away and nowhere near the town they gave us. So congratulations to the glorified paperboys of Kotor, you have won the hitchhikershandbook award from Tourist Disinformation Office of the year, long may you continue to take a wage to help nobody at all.
Kotor, and its surrounding bay, are pretty enough but once again mass tourism got here before us. Tour groups, which are very much the bane of our lives, make visiting the actually town a bit of a nightmare. I tried to poke my head into the cathedral but the man shouting “pay, pay, pay” at me, put me off a bit. I swear in the Bible there is something about Jesus turning over the tables of the merchants outside the temple but I’m not a theologian so I didn’t get in to a long debate. The place is also crawling with Russians, who don’t mind spending loads of money safe in the knowledge that it is water of a duck’s back to them.
The bay, replete with cruise ships as it is, is still very pretty as the soaring mountains fall directly into the water, creating a magical image.
The fortress is also wonderful, and the climb up 1350 steps is really worth the effort, as you are rewarding with breathtaking views across the town and the bay. The 1200 m ascent is only recommended for those on the fit side.
written by: Jon
Follow our 2 month hitch-hiking trip across the north of Italy and the Balkan Peninsula:‘The Balkan Peninsula by Thumb 2013′. It’s happening now!
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