Perast is a small fishing village in Montenegro consisting of a single street which runs along the Bay of Kotor. Driving this road in the early morning fog in my rental car, I was shocked to learn this narrow lane was actually a two lane road. The wild gesturing of the locals convinced me this was true.
‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ Church
Perast is just a few miles from Kotor. In addition to some very quaint restaurants offering fresh seafood, boat trips out to the ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ Church keep the locals busy with the tourists.
Turns out these two adjacent islands, one with the monastery and one with the actual church, were created in 1630. A religious icon was found by fishermen on this site after a shipwreck. It was decided this spot in the bay was the appropriate location to build a church. Boatloads of rocks were hauled to this site and dumped, creating these two islands. The tossing of rocks into the bay continues to this day as an annual event on July 22. On that evening the locals motor out to the island and toss more rocks into the bay. Not surprisingly, the church is dedicated to protecting sailors and fishermen of the sea. There is a constant flow of boats going to the church daily, but the island housing the monastery is off-limits.
The recipes for the fresh seafood was the same in Montenegro as it was all over the Mediterranean. Grill the fish in olive oil and serve it with olive oil. Not much variation to this theme. The main difference here was a cat had to be chased out of the chair before seating.
From our lunch spot, the Our Lady of the Rocks Church can be seen in the distance. This town is certainly a must-visit spot, but it is doubtful you will ever dine with the locals. The services here are only for the tourists. The locals likely eat at home. The prices were certainly inexpensive for the traveler, but likely quite high for the locals.
Were these fishermen getting ready to go out, or had they just returned? The waiting cat seemed to indicate they had just returned.
Some places in the bay housed large circular enclosed wire cages for raising fish. Others simply had floats like those above. Possibly the red floats marked cages for raising mollusks.
There are no ‘new’ boats in Perast and certainly no fancy boats. This well cared for old craft was typical. If the boat was no longer useful on the sea, it was then moved to the front of a restaurant as landscaping.
This large cruise ship leaving Kotor will fortunately pass by Perast and not stop. We too are leaving the must-visit country of Montenegro as our journey in Europe is coming to an end. Possibly our agenda of moving weekly was a bit too aggressive. While I’m sure there are places we could have found to rest and recuperate in Europe, we will soon board a cruise ship headed back to the States, stopping at a few towns and cities along the way.