17 September 2010; Friday: Kotor, Montenegro
The excursion to Budva and Kotor wasn’t timed to leave until 1.30pm so we had a lie in and didn’t make breakfast until about 9.15. It was a bit of a luxury – we find the 10.30pm finish for dinner a bit late and we tend to go straight to bed – must be our age. One of the lovely things is that staff make up the cabin in the morning and then, while we are at dinner, they go in, tidy up and turn down the bed. It does make cabin living very civilised but I think their hours are very long.
We were delayed getting into Kotor and then further delayed while the local police gave permission for us to land. Police are the same the world over – bullies who wield the little bits of power we give them as if they were barons. All this meant that we sat waiting for the excursion tenders to be announced. They use lifeboats as tenders when they can’t moor at a berth. The announcements are made in four languages beginning with the French who are in a considerable majority on the ship. The trouble was that there was perfect silence while the French announcement was read out and then they all talked loudly through all the other language announcements.
An American women near me went to the staff to ask for an announcement that people should keep quiet through the other announcements. I did the same. The woman she spoke to was French and, when asked if she spoke English, lost her temper and took great offence. She then came back into the hall where we were all waiting and announced, in French, “The English have complained about you.” Obviously, this led to cat-calls and whistles and didn’t help the situation at all. A number of us made a formal complaint which is a shame because the staff on board are generally fantastic – they work long hours and are helpful and friendly. For most of them, nothing is too much.
Entering Kotor Fiord
On Board the tender
Budva Harbour- lots of money!
Anyway, all the tours started late so we were rushed through Budva by a tour guide who never stopped talking even to listen to the complaints that people wanted a toilet break
Budva; a guide too far
Churches upon churches
We had no spare time in Budva after he had finished his history lecture and dissertation on the school system in Montenegro and, when we got back to Kotor, he did the same so we abandoned ship and went for a look around on our own. If we had known that the ship would berth just opposite the gate to the old town, we might have walked there by ourselves and not taken the excursion. However, the cruise company make so much money from the excursions that they never tell you that you won’t be berthed in a harbour miles from anywhere and that you can do the visit without help or extra transport (not true in Sicily – we needed a bus to get to Taormina, so you don’t want to take the risk of being stuck on board with nowhere to go).