It was a bit of a drive from the unincorporated land between Croatia and Montenegro to get to Our Lady of the Rocks. Our tour guide was great because he was providing little tidbits of information to us as we were driving so it kept the drive pretty interesting. For example, did you know that Montenegro actually uses the Euro as its main currency but it is not actually a part of the EU but apparently, they were given permission to use the Euro as their main currency because the EU is trying to get Montenegro to join. I don’t know if this is actually true, but it’s interesting to think about. Especially given that Montenegro is known for having a heavy influence of money from the Russians and the Middle East. I think Casino Royale was supposed to be set in Montenegro. Regardless, the other interesting thing that I learned on the drive is that Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia all speak different languages but in all reality they’re very similar languages because they were derived from the same base language after Yugoslavia stopped existing as one kingdom. So the tour guide was bragging that he technically knew 7 languages, but they all sounded essentially the same minus a few words.
As we continued our drive, we eventually came upon the Bay of Kotor. Before we actually stopped in the city of Kotor, we were going to make a stop at an island. We drove along the coast line of the bay and as we pulled into into the actual bay, we saw the island we would be visiting. To be honest, if you missed this island, you’d be blind.
In the very center of this bay is an island called Our Lady of the Rocks. There is a myth behind it that many, many years ago some seamen found an icon or a picture of Madonna and Child in the middle of the water and started throwing rocks at that location every time they made it home safely. Eventually all of these rocks turned into an island. Now there is a building that is a church standing in the middle of the island, a small building for a bathroom and then just same walkways where you can stand and look out into the bay. There’s really nothing else out there but it’s beautiful. The church stands out against the mountains, the water and the green of the trees because the dome of the church is almost a robin’s egg blue.
The day that we were going, it was raining so everything was gray and dark except for the dome of the church that seemed to catch all of the light that had somehow found a way to break through the clouds. It was surreal.
We parked our bus and shuffled off to our water taxi which was a tiny boat that, honestly, should not have held as many people as it did. We paid our 5 Euros and then made our way across the water to the small dock at the island. We had about 30 minutes to walk the island, check out the church and enjoy the scenery. Considering the fact that it was raining, it was not the most pleasant of experiences but it was still absolutely breathtaking.
I walked from one edge of the island to the other and could not believe how absolutely picturesque it was even though it was pouring rain. The bay rivals almost any other natural beauty I’ve seen like Milford Sound and Iceland. Standing in the middle of the island, in the center of the Bay, I felt like I had the entire bay to myself. Yes, I was standing on this island with the rest of my tour group but given that we were a small group, I had moments where I could stand on the edge by myself and hear nothing but the sound of the rain drops hitting the puddles around me.
After taking an absurd amount of photos, I headed into the Church and checked out some of the many paintings that were inside then it was time to make our way back to the boat and head onto Kotor.