In my blog post about hiking tour from Cetinje to Rijeka Crnojevica, I said that I started falling in love with trekking tours. After this one on Vrmac, I can tell you: I am completely in love. In love with trekking and nature, in love with Boka Bay. In love with life. Vrmac reminds us how we can be romantic again and spend great outdoor weekends with friends and our beloved ones.
Organizers from Montenegro Phototrekking call this tour „Vrmac – Love is in the air”. According to their words, it happened several times that people fell in love with each other just on this tour. Many of them are spouses now and have children. Inspired by them, the organizers decided to encourage others to maybe find the love of their life. Hence they announced us that we will have a possibility at the beginning of the tour, to take a green or a red bracelet. Green, if we are open for meeting someone, and red if we already have our better half or are not interested in flirting. Nice idea! 🙂
Our meeting point was at the top of the hill Trojica above the town of Kotor, from where we started to climb on Vrmac. A few hundred meters we went on foot because a truck was out of order at the very narrow road. Later we continued by bus. The first signs of love, were already on the road. Everything smelled on love and I liked it! 🙂
Vrmac is a mountain, actually a peninsula dividing Tivat Bay from Kotor Bay. It is an extension of Mount Lovcen, and its highest point is Saint Ilija, which is 785 meters above sea level. It is located north of town of Tivat, and encloses town of Kotor from the south. Vrmac is also the name of the tunnel, which connects Kotor with the Adriatic Highway, because it goes through the mountain. Vrmac is very popular for hiking and outdoor recreation.
There was a big interest for this tour. The groups from three buses organized by Montenegro Phototrekking, gathered at the Fortress Vrmac, one of the best preserved Austro-Hungarian fortifications in the Bay of Kotor area (410 m).
We had the opportunity to explore it and take photos before we started hiking. The sponsor of the tour was Red Bull, so everyone who wanted, got one bottle of this energy drink. It was also very funny looking at people who were choosing the bracelets. Everyone was curious to see who is available for a new love!
Finally it was time to move, and we went from the Fortress Vrmac through black pine forest to the highest top of Vrmac – the Saint Ilija. It was an ideal weather ( sunny, 24 degrees ) and along the way we met a lot of people having barbecue, laughing, hiking…Vrmac was so alive that Sunday. I enjoyed the smell of forest, where the strongest smell was from pine and thyme threes.
All way long we could see the most beautiful Bay in the world – Boka Bay. At one side there was Tivat Bay, and on the other Kotor Bay. I just couldn’t wait to reach the top of Vrmac.
After a little break, we started to climb on the Saint Ilija. It wasn’t so hard route, and after half an hour we were on the top.
Wow! I am not sure if I can describe you in words the beauty I saw all around. I was so excited to take as many beautiful photos as I could, and after that to sit down and enjoy the view which was breathtaking!
The Bay of Kotor, of simply the Boka, is the largest bay of the Adriatic Sea. The bay is composed of several smaller broad bays, united by narrow channels, forming one of the finest natural harbours in Europe. The Boka Bay is a natural fiord, the only one in the Mediterranean, which is well known for the amazing landscape. The area is also known to have one of the most romantic landscapes in the world.
The Boka is also a place where various differences meet up and mix up by creating an entirely special ambience. Contrasts are visible in nature, where at one part of the Bay you can see steep rocky mountains rising upon the calm sea surface, while the other part is made of flourishing botanical gardens, like the mountain Vrmac is.
Contrasts are also emphasized in the cultural and historic heritage where the civilizations of the East and of the West meet each other in a special harmony. Prehistoric age, Iliric age, Roman – Byzantine age, renaissance, baroque, gothic styles. All these are melted together and blended with modern life, showing that real values can last forever.
Can you imagine now, how we felt on the top of Vrmac, from where we could enjoy all mentioned beauties? Everyone who visited the Boka, experienced it in a special individual way. The Boka is eternal inspiration for all kind of artists. Sitting on the rock and looking into the distance with the view of Kotor I remebered the most beautiful song I ever read about Boka, written by Aleksa Santic.
I could stay there all day long. Boka makes strong impression on all human senses. You just forget everything. And feel amazing. I really wished to fall in love and come to visit this point of Vrmac in a couple.
After one hour, we continued our tour to Gornja Lastva. It was full of green vegetation all around and the route was light. Pure pleasure, indeed.
The next break we made at the Cultural Center of Gornja Lastva where everyone could choose its own way of enjoyment. I was playing a frisbee again, chatting with friends and played some social games. The place was ringing because of our laughing and good energy. It was a real prosperity.
Gornja Lastva is a very interesting village which is situated at 300 meters above the sea level. It is surrounded by olives groves and located on the sunlit slope of Vrmac with a spectacular view of Tivat Bay and even further over the peninsula of Lustica to the open sea.
Stone, as basic building material and Mediterranean flora, makes this place unique. Although many houses and pertaining stone walls were deserted and destroyed by time, the authenticity of the traditional method of building and overall environment had never been disturbed.
In the centre of the village is St. Mary’s church which was built in the 14th century. Inhabitants adorned their church with numerious valuable objects like art, Romanesque golden cross, multi coloured marble altar, altarpiece with the picture of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the work of Andrea Trevisano, Venetian painter. St Vid’s Church is older and it was built in the 9th century on the top of the hill above Gornja Lastva bearing the same name.
In the past Gornja Lastva had about 500 inhabitants and more than a hundred residential units. It was a self – sustainable village, with all necessary things for a good life of their citizens. After World II War, people start leaving it, most often to Donja Lastva, Tivat or Kotor. Today, Gornja Lastva has just a few inhabitants, but people with roots from this place who live in Donja Lastva and Tivat, come here every day.
Full of historic spirit of Gornja Lastva, we continued the route to our last destination – the part of Tivat called Donja Lastva. We came to the sea, and the bravest of the group just jumped into it and swam. The rest of us, enjoyed the beautiful sunset.
One more amazing tour was behind me. I am richer for the wonderful experience which fed my soul and my body. And I am greatful for that. Until the next one, enjoy in the following pictures.