How To Fall In Love With Kotor
All images of childhood and growing up are long remembered and relived. In Dolores’s case, she uses all these images as an excellent material to enrich the job she does and which she adores. With a lot of love, positive energy and self-confidence, she points out that it is true when it is said that when you do what you love, it is no longer a job, but the way of enjoying life.
By Veliborka Dragomanović
„I was born on December 28, on one of those beautiful days that mark the end of the year – when the Christmas tree is decorated, with gifts under it. It’s time when the families get together. My family is a large one, known in Kotor for beautiful family gatherings and festivities.“
Dolores started working as tourist guide because of her love for public appearances. „It has always been very dear to me to present the city, in the way of preserving tradition and local languages. Preserving the speech and the Kotor manner, pointing out flaws and funny sides of nature of people in Boka is what she loves to do, and which she presents through performances that open Kotor Carnival festivities. Stories about the Town were inserted in theatrical plays for children that she worked on.
She is a licensed tourist guide for Italian and English. In her special way, she likes to take guests from all over the world through the town and the entire Bay of Kotor. Full of wonderful impressions, many of her guests are returning to Kotor.
She is also creator of the Kotor Time Machine project idea, that presents authentic works and speech from the past, both to the local population and guests coming from all over the world. She is offering narrated walking tours in Kotor dressed in costumes, for tourists who enjoy getting the sensation of the town spirit this way. Dolores believes that tourist guiding with a costumed portrayal of the past, exclusively of Kotor, can only enrich the tourist offer.
For the last 10 years, she has also been making Dobrota lace, embroidery, and exploring old recipes which remind her of her childhood.
She finds in her family definition of the greatest success, but in her job as well. She talks about work and her colleagues with a lot of love.
“The entire Boka and Kotor are the most beautiful when there is scirocco (južina, loc.), when the clouds go down, when the waves rise, when there is gloomy weather that usually makes people depressed. Because when the sun heats up, then the gray stone is full of color. When it is raining, stormy, when the wind is blowing hard, then you have little to look forward to, but Boka is beautiful“. As unpleasant as that weather can be, she enjoys going for walks, in boots and with umbrella. Even today, she is happy to walk across the squares, and through the narrow streets of Kotor, followed by the sounds of water coming through gutters, and those of pounding shutters.
The most demanding, but favourite, she finds the Perast-Kotor tour. She is glad when she sees the happy faces of the guests. She likes to take her guests to Prčanj, which is rich in architecture and nature; then to Dobrota and the church of St. Eustace with the famous collection of Dobrota lace.
Dolores believes that preserving the language must not and cannot be expensive, because it presents the wealth of a nation. “Our language is reflection of what Kotor has been through for centuries. Imagine 500 years of speaking Venetian from which our language originated. That time under the Venetian Republic brought a lot of wealth to entire Boka, and Kotor in partcular, and the language they left us, along with architecture, mentality, some traditional events, is something we have to pay great attention to. ”
Dolores points out that Kotor, as a medieval town, looks like a labyrinth in which you may get lost, “and when you get lost you will fall in love with it, with all those narrow streets, squares, vaults, rattling shutters, cats hanging around your legs. ” The most important thing for Dolores when she’s guiding tours is to bring the spirit of the city closer to her guests; history facts come after.
She thinks the highlights of Kotor tourist offer are boat trips, hiking tours, fortifications, Vrmac as a nature park unique in Montenegro offering views of Kotor and Tivat. She emphasises everything that is left to us from the period of Austro-Hungarian rule, “because what they left us is really worth paying attention to, and must be preserved, just as palaces and churches are preserved, roads, old retaining walls, old road drain canals, water tanks, trails, should also be preserved ”.
When it comes to pilgrims, one must go to Muo. “Blessed Gracija is one of the saints from Boka, known as the Bay of Saints. This is a special type of tourism that can be well developed in our country. Dobrota bathed in sun with its gardens, Risan – Illyrian and Roman. Then Our Lady of the Rocks, St. George and the famous Perast, Stoliv adorned with camellias and chestnuts; then Prčanj the hometown of captains, which is unique in its own wa. These are all small baroque pearls on the eastern Adriatic coast, and they make a perfection “.
When asked about her opinon how to preserve tradition and language, Dolores believes that a language won’t be forgotten if we are using it, and organising social gatherings, and that both the local radio station and the Cultural Center can help with all that by creating events and theatrical plays in our Kotor dialect. She also thinks that lessons in the local dialect should be introduced in schools, at least once a week, with all those grammatical errors that make our speech so charming.
In the end, Dolores says how she likes to spend her free time: “I choose to share a laugh in a good company, but also to watch comedies, listen to our coastal music from Boka and Dalmatia. I love to sit by window for hours and do Dobrota lace with a lot of love. I am also happy when I take a walk around Kotor without tourists, go to Madudina or Špiljari, climb Vrmac, and always in the mood for Kotor cream pie, or Dobrota cake. I love to swim or relax under a pine tree on a small stone pier, pet every cat from Kotor that I come across, and greet everyone with Ke nova, Addio or Hello, and Goodbye and stay well. “