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The Prettiest Day In The Prettiest Place | Perast, Montenegro


It's time!

I present to you... the final post from our 2016 Balkan Extravaganza. Yes, it took me two whole years to finish recapping the magical, wonderful, unbelievable two weeks that my three best friends and I spent in the region. Clearly I'm on Team Slow and Steady, but at last we've crossed the finish line.

Our final day together took place in Kotor, and starred a leisurely breakfast, cappuccinos and ice cream in Old Town, a lazy afternoon nap, and a fancy dinner at Restaurant Galion celebrating six years of friendship. A regular day in our world, just you know... halfway across the world. We were absolutely exhausted after two weeks of traveling, and a restful last day was much appreciated.

But! On our penultimate day, we expended the last of our energy on one more adventure.

The destination? Perast, a small town along the Bay of Kotor, about a 20 minute trek from Old Town Kotor by bus (and also allegedly where Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones own a vacation home).
Of course, we couldn't go a day without stopping by our newfound favorite eatery: sandwiches from Tanjga. Because we're not always gluttons, we ordered two sandwiches to share between the four of us... only to be sternly reprimanded. No sharing... you're in the Balkans, he insisted. Noted: sharing is for wimps.

One each, then!

And so we started the day by easily polishing off four gigantic sandwiches the size of our heads. Almost too easily.
What was expected to be a 5 minute wait turned into a 50 minute wait at the bus station because the Kotor to Perast bus broke down on its way to pick us up. We whiled away the wait by finding stray kittens to feed and play with until the replacement "bus" (a glorified mini-van) arrived.
Before long, we came upon our second hurdle:

the fact that the bus literally dropped us off in the middle of a highway.

Luckily, a couple of other travelers were on the same bus and lead the way to Perast - a short walk down from the "bus stop." Our first peek at Perast stopped us in our tracks: the downward climb boasted views of not only familiar terracotta roofs against the glittering bay, but also the two picturesque islands (Our Lady of the Rocks and St. George - man-made and natural, respectively) that Perast is known for, and that we'd only so far admired in photographs. 
Without having done much research or needing to follow a set itinerary, the natural thing to do seemed to be to head in whichever direction felt the most enticing. The promenade alongside the water was particularly lovely, so we opted for a slow stroll, taking in the picturesque isles and sleepy town (it's often called the quietest town in the Bay!).

Soon, refreshments (read: caffeine) were requested.

Restaurants and cafe line the water, and we settled down at the one we jointly determined to have the most marvelous view. As we collectively asked for cappuccinos, our waiter dashed our hopes and let us know that the electricity for the whole town was out. Instead, Coca Colas saved the day and provided ample caffeine and a much needed cool-down.
Electing to skip taking a boat to the islands in favor of admiring them from afar, we claimed a daybed at a beach bar, and didn't move a muscle for the rest of the afternoon. 
OK fine, we moved for a hot second...

to pop into the (gloriously chilly & clear & aqua do you even see) water for a quick dip,

or to order icy drinks at the bar,

or best of all... both (hand delivery by your best friend highly encouraged)!
It's the kind of perch that you never want to leave, which is precisely why we stayed as long as we could. Every couple of hours, we entertained the thought of going to explore the little town or grabbing a bite to eat somewhere but the fact that we were in a state of utter bliss combined with the knowledge that the electricity was still out, we stayed put - dozing off, cooling down in the water and taking in the view (the mountains had quite the CGI effect, we couldn't stop staring!), ordering another drink, and repeat.
Perhaps our afternoon proved to be a little too mellow, because a comedy of errors followed directly after. Once the sun disappeared behind the mountain, we decided to call it a day and head back over to Kotor.

Of course, as these things go - I insisted on making a bathroom stop. And of course, the lock to the bathroom was jammed so I asked Cassandra if she'd kindly stand guard for me. She dutifully said yes, and parked herself outside of the door as good friends do... so imagine my surprise when a man burst into the bathroom by accident. Flustered, I didn't end up peeing and went back outside to find that Cassandra had wandered over to the water because it was "too pretty" and she "hadn't had her fill."

K, thanks bud.

But as the view was truly stunning, I joined her and then Leah and Hanna came over as well and we got quite distracted taking some quality Boomerangs against the sunset. SO distracted that we didn't realize a short 50 feet away, the 6pm bus back to Kotor had, well, left for Kotor.

By the time we made it over to the "stop" (really a teenage boy selling bus tickets in the parking lot), it was 6:05. But not having seen or heard the bus pulling away, we assumed it was just running a little late like it did on our way here. To double check, we asked the teenager who barely glanced up from his phone saying "yes, any minute now."

10 minutes later, still nothing.

20 minutes later, nada.

30 minutes later, nope. At this time, we swore that the teenager was pranking us and that the bus stop must be located somewhere else... because that's what would amuse him?! ??? ? Finally, almost an hour later as we were seriously thinking about hitchhiking, he looked up again and commented, "huh... the 6pm bus must've left. The 7pm one should be here soon." Because ahem, it was 6:49 at this point.

Luckily, he was looking up as the 7pm bus rolled in because he waved it over to make sure we didn't get left behind again. One problem down, one more to go: my bladder, which was really freaking impatient after the hour delay. So much so that rather than waiting for the bus to pull into the Kotor station like a lady, I sprinted off the bus when it was stopped at a light by our apartment (after begging Leah and Hanna to stay and bring us back - what else - a platter from Tanjga).
Aaaaand... that's all she wrote - about the beautiful gem of Perast, the stunning Bay of Kotor, and the two-week Balkans trip that nourished not only my belly (a little too well), but also my soul. These are memories and adventures that I'll absolutely cherish for a lifetime.

Lest you think this is the last you'll be hearing about the Balkans though, I actually just returned from another trip to the region so PLENTY of content to share still! Perhaps this time it won't take two whole years...



For more posts from our Balkans vacation in 2016:

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xx Caroline