Feed on

We awoke this morning to Montenegro (new country!), literally, outside of our door. The bay really does look like a fjord (though technically it’s a drowned river canyon) like those in Alaska or (I assume) Norway. It’s very picturesque.

Our small breakfast arrived by 7:00. After coffee and a muffin, we prepared to go ashore. Because of debris near the pier, we anchored in the bay and had to use the ship’s life boats to reach the town.

We tendered to the shore earlier than expected (8:30 rather than 9:30). The city of Kotor is fairly small, especially the historic city center. We spent a leisurely morning strolling through its narrow streets (the city was controlled by Venice for nearly 400 years… and it shows). We visited a few churches and scrambled partway up the fort’s path to have a panoramic overlook of the city. Being a Sunday morning, both cruise passengers and locals were out in the summer sun, enjoying some relaxation. Overall, there’s not a lot “to do” in Kotor. It’s sort of like a less touristy version of Salzburg set in a Norwegian-like fjord. It provides a pleasant way to while away some time and makes Montenegro seem like a little bit of paradise on earth (which, I presume, the country might just be.)

We traveled back to the ship after noon, and we had lunch at Tamarind. The soup and salad courses were both very good. Unfortunately, the dim sum menu was a bit of a let down. For lunch, the restaurant only features a fixed menu of multiple items in single, bite-sized portion sizes all delivered on one plate. It felt sort of like eating off of an appetizer platter (fine), but it wasn’t very akin to a traditional dim sum experience. It would have ‘worked’ better had the individual items been more (or equally) enjoyable.

Later this afternoon, I attended a cooking class / demonstration in the Culinary Arts Center. It was on the use of spices to build flavor, as featured in tandoori chicken and coriander rice. I thought the sample at the end was surprisingly good. All in all, I like HAL’s Culinary Arts Center and the related programming. It’s enjoyable and actually somewhat enriching, unlike a lot of “edutainment” on cruise ships.

Our sailaway down Kotor Bay was one of the coolest that I’ve ever experienced. Many of the locals, waving white shirts (as seems to be some sort of seagoing tradition), came out to see our departure. The local priests and nuns also ran the church bells, while the Nieuw Amsterdam blew the ship’s horn in response. Numerous smaller vessels escorted us (from a sage distance) and while many people aboard them screamed “Holland” at us (in honor of the World Cup match tonight) — to which we replied with short ‘toots’ of the ship’s horn. All in all, it was a memorable experience.

Dinner tonight was in the Lido. For whatever reason, the main dining room never seems to beckon to us. I also tried the HAL pizza tonight from Slice. It was decent: about what I expected.

The ship’s put on a huge party in the main showroom for tonight’s match. Holland is the clear favorite on the ship, but they had opposite sides of the theatre decorated for each team. HAL also provided a buffet of appetizers and snacks. And, I assume, drink specials. We came back to the cabin to read (though I’m watching the game out of the corner of my eye).

Tomorrow is Croatia!

Here’s a couple of photos of the Bay of Kotor and also one of the Culinary Arts Century:

Leave a Reply