One night of luxurious sleeping at One&Only’s newest resort behind me, our day began with a speedboat ride across the Boca Bay to man made island of “Our Lady of the Rock.” We were whisked aboard a Montenegrin-built Riva boat at the hotel marina like stars. The fresh breeze and stunning vistas everywhere you turn made the 45 minute ride pure joy.
Expertly guided by our local hero Duca, we learned about the fascinating history of this place which makes even self-professed atheists like me connect with this place in spirit. Built one rock throw at a time, the entire population around Boka bay supported two local boys from Perast whom had found an “IcON” perched on a rock in that very location on the 22nd of July 1456.
Legend has it that this ICoN helped cure one of the two brothers from severe illness. Out of gratitude, the boys and eventually the entire community pitched in to build the island in the very spot where the icon was found. To this day, seafarers and locals come here to pray and offer thanks for protection.
Our visit included a moment of peace and silence in the magnificent small chapel and stunning vistas of the bay as backdrop. The Riva speedboat then carried us to the UNESCO town of Kotor for a walk of the city center and local lunch.
Kotor is one of those mesmerizing installations figuratively “thrown on a rocky cliff” with fortifications dating back to the 7th century. our masterful guide Provided the “22 centuries in 22 seconds” backdrop for the town’s history. From the Greeks to Romans, the dark ages to the Ottoman Turks, Napoleon to the Habsburg Austria-Hungarian Empire, Two World Wars, a 60 year communist period to independence in 2006, Montenegro is at a geopolitical intersection where many civilizations and cultures left their fingerprints. Nowhere is this more visible than here in Kotor.
A mix of Southern France, Sicily, and Germanic styles gives Kotor its own unique voice. it is a gem yet to be fully discovered. I highly recommend a trip beyond Croatia and Cruise ships to explore this treasure of a country. Complete with a local delicacy farmed in the very pristine bay of Boca for lunch, my day here could not have been better.