Prcanj - Sophie's village

Prcanj - Sophie's village

A typical row of ancient stone houses in the village of Prcanj. They are the guardians of the bay, stringing all along the road that hugs the water's edge.

The lights of Kotor

The lights of Kotor

At night, the lights all around the walls of the fortress high above Kotor come on - the necklace of amber that Sophie falls in love with.

The wedding vehicle

The wedding vehicle

This is the actual car that inspired the wedding vehicle in the book. It's not a Trabant but a Zastava - a Serbian brand from the communist years. I felt that the East German name would be more familiar to most readers.

Wedding vehicle - alternative view

Wedding vehicle - alternative view

Trsteno beach

Trsteno beach

A lovely little beach between Jaz and Ploce - deserted on an October day despite temperatures of 23C.

Beach bar at Stari Grad, Budva

Beach bar at Stari Grad, Budva

Having woven your way through the maze of little alleyways in Budva's old town (similar to a mini-Dubrovnik), it's a sublime moment to suddenly step out of the shade and into the blinding sunshine on this small beach. It makes me think of the Amalfi coast as you see it in 1950s movies.

Stari Grad, Budva

Stari Grad, Budva

View of one of the old stone buildings from the beach.

Gornja Lastva

Gornja Lastva

In the book, Sophie and Ton take the motorbike up to the almost deserted village of Gornja Lastva, high up on the hills above Tivat. Apparently there is a holiday house to rent here - perfect for those who like absolute isolation when on vacation! They still hold a festival here at least once a year and some of the houses are well-maintained. Others, like this one, are gradually falling down, each year losing a few more bricks from the walls beneath the caved-in roof.

Lake Skadar

Lake Skadar

I couldn't resist including this picture of my youngest daughter looking out over Lake Skadar, with the surrounding mountains that arrange themselves so prettily to frame it. The picture was taken in October, when the water level is low after the hot summer.

The bay at twilight

The bay at twilight

As the sun goes down it slips further and further up the mountains until only a few rays.

Bay of Kotor

Bay of Kotor

A row of stone houses typical of those that line the bay, complete with fishing boats in front, waiting to go out for the catch.

Fishing in the bay of Kotor

Fishing in the bay of Kotor

The local fishermen know to go out early to bag the best catch.

Sail away

Sail away

During the months of April to October, cruise ships are a common sight in the bay. They are of all different sizes and many nationalities. It's amazing that such huge vessels can navigate such a relatively small expanse of water but the bay is very deep.

Prcanj village

Prcanj village

All the villages around the bay that are mentioned in Under An Amber Sky follow the waterfront. The row right on the road is called the frontline, or first line, to the sea. There are a few houses on the seaward side of the road, built on rocky promontories that jut out into the water. I don't know what the official name for these is, but I like to call them 'double frontline' or 'frontline plus'.

Boat on the bay

Boat on the bay

The bay of Kotor is not anywhere near as busy as other sailing hot spots in the Adriatic - often you will be lucky enough to have the water to yourself.

Mamula island

Mamula island

This is the view of the island that the captives would have seen as they were taken there by the Italians. What a terrible proposition; imprisoned on a tiny piece of land with no idea when, if ever, you might be released.

Mamula fortress

Mamula fortress

The small, circular fortress rises above the green surroundings. You can see how small it is - yet hundreds of prisoners were kept here for indefinite periods.

Blue Horizon beach

Blue Horizon beach

Our favourite beach is on the Lustica penninsula - a golden horseshoe of sand with the cleanest, clearest, shallowest sea imaginable. There was a Soviet era hotel behind the beach which long ago fell into disrepair. Now a Qatari hotel group is developing a luxury resort there, marking the end to the olive tree studded backdrop to the beach. Montenegro is understandably eager to capitalise on its gorgeous natural settings - but one can't help but hope so much building work doesn't ruin its charm.

Dawn on the bay

Dawn on the bay

At dusk and dawn, the dark mountains and the dark sea seem to meld together and become one.

Seaward view from Mamula

Seaward view from Mamula

There's nothing beyond the island until you hit Italy.

Landward view from Mamula

Landward view from Mamula

You can see why Dragan would have dreamt of escape; the mainland looks so close from the tiny island, so easily achievable. But there are no records of anyone having been successful in getting away.

View from the castle

View from the castle

You can climb up above the walled city of Kotor to the ancient castle or fortress. It's a gruelling climb but worth it for the views.

Heading for Kotor

Heading for Kotor

A cruise ship heads towards the ancient walled city of Kotor.

Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto

Not far from Mamula island is the Blue Grotto or Blue Lagoon - a favourite snorkelling and swimming spot in summer.

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© 2021 Rose Alexander