If there’s one catch in our whole “roam the world and live in random places” lifestyle, it is this: We must work. Don’t get me wrong; we love our work and wouldn’t do it if we didn’t. However, our work is not blogging or traveling – we do both of those things for fun – and we need to spend the first half of each day working, at the very least.
The problem with this is that we cannot take as many full-day trips as most full-time travelers/bloggers or tourists can. Our days are generally cut in halves. We can certainly work eight or ten or twelve hours a day, but we’ve streamlined our process and must only work at least four to five hours right now.
We live in a mountain-by-the-sea village. It’s the off-season, so there are less things going on. We do not have a car or a moped (although we’re working on the latter), and we must make do with our time and ability to travel as it is. I know, first world problems. Amiright?
In any case, there aren’t a lot of half-day trips or easy jaunts around here. We can and will certainly take buses to other towns and areas. As it stands these days, we try to take longer day trips on the weekend and spend our weekday afternoons exploring and relaxing, jaunting off to nearby towns, and taking in the sights and sounds of our town and its wonderful people.
We are also a very classy pair…
So then…we were able to find a boat company that operates three half-day tours per week to the town of Perast, in the Bay of Kotor. (At €7 per person, it couldn’t be a better deal.) Perast is not too far from us, and it gave us an opportunity to spend half a day at sea and visiting nearby villages. Perast is a small town of only 360 people, which certainly swells in the summer, but spends most of its time being a pass-through area for tourists who are visiting the region.
Just off the coast of Perast are the two famous islands of Our Lady of the Rocks and the Island of Saint George. That’d be Gospa od Škrpjela and Ostrvo Sveti ?or?e in Mother Tongue. They are huge tourist draws, especially for religious folks. Even for a non-religious pair like us, they’re worth a visit; not only for the scenery, but also for the history and meaning they have to the culture of the area.
We sailed through the bay area and past old naval facilities, sailboats, beaches, a variety of towns – such as Meljine, Kumbor, Kamenari, Lepetane, Bijela, and Tivat – and plenty jaw-dropping scenery.
We then hopped off the boat at Our Lady of the Rocks.
Just across from our landing zone is the Island of Saint George, which contains a monastery that started doing its thing all the way back in the 12th century, along with an old graveyard that was used to entomb nobility of the area. It can be visited, but not by tour groups or tourist boats. So then, we were only able to view it from afar.
After coming to terms that we would only be visiting one island, we opted to skip the tour and peruse the island and church on our own. The story goes that sailors found an icon of Madonna and Child on a rock there in 1452, and began putting more rocks there after each successful trip at sea. Eventually, a full-blown island was created by the rocks and sunken ships, and a church was built. The present-day church was then built in 1632.
While very small, the church contains some fantastic artwork by Perast native Tripo Kokolja, among others. I don’t want to sound too passive, but the inside of the church is typical for your old, tourist churches, with relics and other old churchy things that often leave me simultaneously amazed by their handiwork and disgusted by how everything was funded.
My personal beliefs and the two souvenir shops aside, the small island and even smaller church are a very good example of the historical importance of this area, both for the history of Kotor Bay and the Orthodox religion.
After roaming the islet for 30-45 minutes, we jumped back on the boat and headed a short distance to Perast. Unlike Herceg Novi, which has very defined city walls, Perast sits directly on the water and was instead protected back in the old days (I’m so technical with my history, eh?) by its defensive towers and over a dozen palaces.
I’m not exactly sure how old Perast is, as it has changed hands countless times and has a variety of buildings from different eras. It’s old though (again with my skills), and has a history of fiercely defending itself from bands of outsiders over the centuries.
Today, it has shrunken in population and strategic importance, but still retains quite a bit of old charm, despite the tourists that climb all over the center of town every year. Some buildings are being rebuilt by investors or locals, and others lay in a state of Life After People.
While every village in this region seriously drips with beauty, I have to commend the folks of Perast. It’s one of those fishing-slash-tourist villages that is what older folks dream of when they think charming little village by the sea.
We only had an hour or so here, and we could have spent a full day or even night exploring the hills, eating at the rather large number of restaurants per capita, talking with locals, and simply sitting by the sea. Who knows, maybe we’ll go back for a visit again. Either way, I’m very happy we took the time out of our day to hop on a boat and get over to Perast. It’s well worth a visit and we’d highly recommend it.
You can see more pictures from our trip to Perast on our Facebook page.
Have you ever been to Perast or Our Lady of the Rocks? If so, what’d you think? Feel free to leave comments down below.