Surprise! It’s Both Old and New
Here’s a true confession: Prior to our cruise, I really had no idea where this country was, nor did I know anything about it. In fact, I actually mistakenly thought that Montenegro was a city, not a country. And even though we had plenty of time to prepare and educate ourselves during the pre-planning stages of this voyage, one of the joys of ‘going with the flow’ is feeling no guilt about what you did or, in this case, didn’t do to prepare.
So here we were on June 25th entering this jaw-droppingly-beautiful harbor in the midst of the Adriatic Sea (and across from Italy, kind of on the far north side from the boot heel) and all I could think of was, “What the??? When did this country spring into existence?” Back in my high school days, I was the pride and joy of Mrs. Denhoff’s world geography class, plus I was always able to earn that pie in the Trivial Pursuit game before anyone else. But, as we’ve come to learn, maps and countries now change faster than their governments change opinions. So, I cut myself a little slack after learning that this country was only formed in 1992 after splitting off from the Mother ship formerly known as Yugoslavia. Whew. That was a bit of a relief to hear, and maybe I was just super busy that year and the whole announcement about ‘here’s a new country in the world’ passed me by? (Yea, that’s what I’m going with.)
(Remember, we’re card carrying sight skippers so usually choose the tour of least complications. . .) Our favorite part of this outing came when we boarded a small boat and rode out to Gospa Islet, which is a man-made island created (according to legend) as seamen would drop rocks into the bay of Kotor upon returning from each successful voyage. Eventually, a church, appropriately called Our Lady of the Rocks, was built on the tiny island, and touring it on this gorgeous summer day was just a delight.
One other interesting bit of Montenegro history is that plenty of Hollywood filming is now going on there what with it being a new ‘it’ place for celebrities like Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie to hang out along with ‘The George’. ‘James Bond’ had also filmed a good portion of Casino Royal there and I’m guessing that is partly because let’s face it, how many paparazzi and star gazers would think of making that trip to gawk at the working celebs in a relatively unknown part of the world?
Once back on board the Mariner of the Seas, we had a riot at the ‘Grand Mediterranean Sunset Bar B Que’ that night followed by dancing under the stars. Contrary to our other nights where we had dined in intimate groups and exclusive restaurants all over the ship, tonight everyone on board came together on the pool deck for an extravagant American style buffet. Considering all the other gourmet offerings we’d had each night, we found it rather humorous that they chose to offer a BBQ. That said, of course it was the most elegant, top notch BBQ this side of Texas and we assumed chosen as a nod of acknowledgment that most passengers were indeed American.