Have you ever been to a destination that instantly makes you feel like a kid? I’m not talking about Disney World or any place like that. I’m talking about a city or town that, as soon as you arrived, made you completely giddy and eager to explore every single corner possible.
A place that left you wide-eyed and in awe, practically skipping around and always with a smile on your face?
Maybe it’s a location that seems very much like a fairy tale and without any effort at all, you feel as if you have been inserted straight into the magical story.
For example, maybe you stumble across an ancient fortified village nestled into the end of a long, narrow bay, a bay completely surrounded by towering mountains stretching far off into the distance, straight out to the sea.
You must enter this village through an arched gateway in the wall and once inside, you are in a labyrinth of dozens upon dozens of cobblestone lanes, each one winding through the village in different directions and many barely wide enough for two people to pass. Beautiful stone buildings line these lanes, and each building is hundreds of years old, helping to create the kind of spectacular setting that up until this point you had thought possible only in books.
As you wander the lanes you hear the church bells ringing and you watch the people gather in the plazas that appear out of nowhere, hidden among this maze of a village in places that you won’t be able to find more than once.
You get lost often as you roam around and every time you reach a dead end or a lane where you had previously been, you simply turn around and start exploring in a different direction.
While inside this village, you cannot at any time see anything beyond the village walls. The world outside no longer exists as you are pulled farther and farther into the alluring atmosphere of the unique, too-good-to-be-true destination.
Once the sun sets, and the afternoon heat disappears, you then head to the back of the village where you begin an evening hike to the fortress located at the top of the mountain. The fortress is also within the walls of the village, as the walls climb impossibly high up the mountain, in such a difficult pattern that leaves you wondering how human beings could have built such a structure.
And as you climb, a steep climb indeed, you cannot help but look out over the brilliant bay every few minutes, and each time that you do, you are completely struck by a sight so surreal.
It is the combination of such natural beauty all around you and such a mesmerizingly beautiful village below that makes you feel like that ecstatic kid without a care in the world. And it also ensures that you will continue to feel like such a kid for as long as you choose to stay.
That was how I felt in Kotor, the town in northern Montenegro that I visited on this trip (all the photos above are from there) and a town that simply needs to be experienced.
Have you been to Kotor or any other destination that seemed like a fairy tale and made you feel like a kid again?