Kotor Montenegro (Hike to Castle of St. John) - Momboisse Family Adventures October 2019 / Part 7

View from Saint John's Castle 

Hike to Saint John's Castle (Kotor)

We just spent the last hour or so exploring the medieval walled village of Kotor.  Now it was time to hike up the old walls to the top of the hill and the Castle of St. John.  There are a few ways to make this hike.  The best would be a round trip hiking one way up past (#28) the Church of Our Lady of Remedy to (#4) Castle of St. John then back down via (#6) the Kontarini Tower. You can see that route in the map below. 

Unfortunately we had to shorten our hike. While we were exploring Kotor I began to have unusual floaters in my left eye.  I had cataract surgery earlier in the year and was told by my surgeon to always be on the lookout for new floaters or shadows as that could be a symptom of a retinal tear.  

But we had come this far we would complete the day. So we set out through the gate which is to the left of (#42) the Grubonja Palace.  You may view the map of this area below. 

Continue on this path, up stairs 

and past apartments. 

Soon you will come to the trail head. 
There was a fee of 8 euro to climb.
Definitely worth it!

Just past the turnstiles and we have this view of Kotor
and the Church of Saint Nicholas.  

A little further on and Saint Tryphon comes into view. 

We continue to climb and now we can see
our ship, the Emerald Princess. 

Construction on these city walls began more than 1200 years ago in the 9th century and they were successively modified, restored and improved until the 19th century.  

We are actually climbing the walls
that you see in the map I posted at the
beginning of this blog post.  

The total length of the wall is about 2 3/4 miles.  The highest point is St. John's Castle which is approximately 850 feet above sea level.  

There are plenty of opportunities along the hike to rest and reflect on how far you have walked.  And there are plenty of feral cats too! 

About 650 stairs toward the top and  

we come to the first of the four niches
 that line the wall leading to (#28)
Our Lady of Remedy Catholic Church.

Our Lady of Remedy was build in 1518 over the remains of a church that dates back to the 6th century. 

 It was built by the survivors of the plague of 1518
 to honor the Blessed Mother Mary. 

The chapel is not open so we continue our hike.  

Looking back at Our Lady of Remedy. 

We arrive at (#5) the Small Fort. 

Just a wee bit more climbing. 

Finally 1,530 steps later, the end is in sight.
But the shadow in my left eye covers the
lower 1/8th of my peripheral vision. 

We celebrate our achievement.  

Then head back down the hill to see the ship doctor.  

The view is stunning as we descend by the same route
and 1,530 stairs.  I counted on the way down. 
The tour book was right!  

Our Lady of Remedy was open
when we passed by on the way down.  

So we stopped inside.  

Saint Padre Pio maybe? 

And back to our ship.  

The ship doctor confirmed that there appeared to be a problem in my eye and set up an appointment for me to see an eye specialist in Dubrovnik the next day.  This was our next stop and we had planned on touring the old town and visiting the sites where Game of Thrones was filmed.  But maybe another time. 

That evening we enjoyed cruising back down the Bay of Kotor.  From the ship we could see Our Lady of Remedy.  

The walls we had climbed as well as 

St. John's Castle.  

We continue cruising the bay and 
pass Our Lady of the Rocks. 

We would soon learn that this
would be our last night of the cruise
and last lovely dinner in the dining room. 

Arrival in Dubrovnik

Princes Cruise Line arranged for our shuttle to the hospital.  

They also set us up with Vlaho.  He would work with us for the next two days until we were either cleared to return to the ship or leave the trip early. He became our friend as well as  our personal translator, and driver.  

Hospital waiting room. 

Dr. Ivan Boras who drove 3 hours to see me confirmed that my retina had detached and he suggested surgery within 48 hours.  He also told us he was more than happy to do the surgery, but I would not be able to fly for six weeks. Though I am sure he would have been a great doctor, we wanted to go home and have the surgery done there.  

Dr. Boras cleared me to fly,
Vlaho arranged for our hotel in Dubrovnik
and helped us get checked in.  

Vlaho also arranged for us to be on one of the two flights out of Dubrovnick to Frankfort the next day on October 6. 

The last night of our trip we went to Saturday Vigil Mass at Saint Marija Magdelena.  

Statue of Saint John Paul II 

Mass said in Croatian. But we could figure it out!!!! 

On October 7th, my eye specialist, Dr. Palmer, confirmed Dr. Boras' diagnosis and Vitrectomy surgery was performed in Fulsom the following day. 

This was a great abbreviated trip!  We are thankful for every moment.  God is good and He is in charge!

Until next time - Happy Adventures! 

Monterosso al Mare Part 1  
Manarola Part 2
Riomaggiore Part 3
Hike Vernazza to Monterosso Part 4
Hike Corniglia to Vernazza Part 5

All photo by L. A. Momboisse or R. M. Momboisse