Montenegro · 7 Days · 37 Moments · June 2016

Magnificent Montenegro

20 June 2016

Off on our merry way this morning - leaving the siblings in Kotor bay and in Montenegro. Driving around the bay takes too long so we nipped across the entrance on the ferry. First ferry ride for Jonah! Up the coast a bit and we bid farewell to magnificent Montenegro and find ourselves back in the EU and into Croatia.

19 June 2016

This was unexpected.
Going for a typical cheer pose Cat and Chris tried to join in and failed miserably. The old fort could do with a redecoration we thought. Chris found the perfect spot for the dining room. Cracking views.
Meanwhile us poor people did this. Work of art no?
The beautiful day started with those two catching up on the activities - except they're posh so had their own special boat! Looking like celebs...

18 June 2016

Dinner at the camp restaurant was beyond tasty but the wine was... Unusual!
Our cycle back was again simply stunning as the sunset.
We returned to an invasion from the fun squad aka the siblings. This time they have bought inflatable animals with them. So naturally we had a war in the water 😂
Second stop was the town of Perast which is actually directly opposite our campsite (but would probably take around an hour to drive to). Great views and more winding streets to explore.
First stop on the boat trip was to this incredible island in the middle of the bay. Apparently the locals have been bringing stones to keep the island going for hundreds of years.
What's a trip to a magnificent bay without a cheeky boat ride? Man, no words it's just stunning.
We do like to explore and we managed to get up onto the city walls to have a good old fashioned people watch. Why do some people think they have to wear their backpack on their front in foreign countries?!
We're only 10 km from Kotor town and the road snakes around the bay on the flat. It makes a perfect cycle route. In fact if there was a "epic cycles" of the world book this really ought to be included. The town itself is another walled town full of history and interest. Of course it is full of cruise ship guests and tourists - but as much as the number wearing umbrella followers are irritating I can't help but think that this is good for Montenegro. Plus I always find it desperately ironic when tourists (such as us) complain that a place is "too full of tourists" - they're all here for same reasons!

17 June 2016

Driving into the Bay of Kotor was another "woaaaahhh" moment. Think Norwegian fiords in a Mediterranean climate. Simply beautiful. Having not managed to find any campsites that near we decided to drive towards what we thought was the nearest and hope for the best. It ended up being a great tactic as found a tiny campsite that had been unlisted online. It's just us and another van - the chap who runs it is quite the character too. It has got be up there as one of the best views yet!
Budva was once the "poster child" for Montenegrin tourism but in recent years as evolved into a mini magaluf for the Russian market. The old town was beautiful but touristy and quite crowded. The pebbly beaches were something else - people virtually lying on top of each other in a bid to get an inch of space to sunbathe. Quite bizarre! The streets were cool though with lots of restaurants and bars and tasty ice cream. With no campsites very near we decided to give Budva a passing visit and head onto the Bay of Kotor.
With the sun going a little shy but the heat remaining we stopped off at a view point to check out Sveti Stefan. A once-upon-a-time village stuck out into the sea. It's now an extremely expensive hotel and costs from 700 euros a night to stay - not quite in our price range...!
We did a little more wandering and Jon held onto his hat! We then had some freshly squeezed lemonade with an incredible cake which was amazing!!
In the typical style of my husband, whilst leaning out of a turret window to have a peak at goodness knows what, a gust of wind whipped his hat off and it floated down into the shrubs below. We then had a fun palaver of walked back out of the old town and clambering about by the city walls in order to retrieve said hat. You'll all be delighted to know the hat was successfully retrieved.
First stop today was Bar which I've been to before but remember virtually nothing of it. The old town is the best bit although completely ruined by bombing in the 19th century and an earthquake in the 1970s. Restoration attempts have been halted many times and they seem undecided with what to do with it (ie rebuild or conserve as a museum).

16 June 2016

We arrived in Ulcinje on the very southern end of the Montenegrin coast (next door to Albania) just in time for JB to catch the last of the Wales V England match. Which was just as well as it all happened at the last minute anyway. It's a huge beach at Ulcinje and we're facing the sea - great spot. But not a lot else (other than some grumpy Austrians who thought we parked too close to them and moved over a few inches... Awkward).
The long drive was worth it and I can't even explain how beautiful it was. Every turning was a "woooahhhh" moment. Simply stunning. Weather ain't bad either.
As we drove along we noticed a lot of home/garden vineyards - such a contrast from the Eastern European landscape we've witnessed so far. We were waved at and flagged down by a chap in his garden so Jon stopped at the next available spot (don't underestimate the challenge on a single track road in a huge camper!). We were immediately accosted by another woman who wanted to sell us honey. Managing get away we walked back down to the first guy and tried all sorts of home brew. Varying quality but we ended up buying some red wine and some Rakija... In plastic bottles! I did most of the trying as JB is driving. Winner. On our return to the van the lady shouted something we couldn't understand and gestured at us in annoyance... Soz!!
As we continued our drive - which FYI was around a single track road and absolutely stunning - I suddenly shouted "stop!" This little chap was crossing the road. I remembered when we were in Montenegro in 1997 we saw a wild tortoise then and were asked if we wanted to take him home. I assume this is the same one waiting for us 😂
Next stop was to have a look at the beautiful Lake Skardesko. The lake is huge and shared with Albania. It starts at the cute village of Virpazar where we stopped for coffee and to check it out. Amazingly we saw a rainbow cloud?! Never seen that before!
What an incredible place!
We woke up early to the sound of singing monks. Quite eerie. We walked up the hill to the monastery and we passed many pilgrims who had slept outside for the mornings prayers. The monks provide roll mats and blankets. That's why it's pretty ok to camp in the car park! Even if you're not religious you can't help but appreciate the magical building - morphing out of the rock. What a beautiful morning.

15 June 2016

SOOO we wanted to visit the famous Ostrog Monastery but couldn't find a campsite near by. No problem JB says - we will camp in the carpark. So we did! The road on the way up was mental... Sheer drop on one side and we snaked up with me gripping on for dear life.
After our excitement in the mountains it was time to drive down - here's a rather scenic wee stop!
Maybe we didn't get quite enough adrenalin from the white water rafting?! We decided to do a zip wire 100 metres over the canyon to make up for it! Incredible!!
Rafting was mostly brilliant for the scenery as the White water is quite low at the moment. It was brilliant despite that of course!
This morning we packed up and got ourselves down to the river - time for a bit of white water rafting! Before we headed off we check out the views from the bridge - amazing.

14 June 2016

Our campsite has a bit of humour (bit random!)
Having done a 20km cycle a 7km hike around the lake was also required. Also unbelievably beautiful.
This morning we embarked on a 20km round trip cycle - up and down hills! I was impressed with myself for making it to be honest! All worth it of course as the mountains here are spectacular.

13 June 2016

Before we crossed the border into Montenegro we had our Serbian currency to use up. This is what we bought for £7 worth... Bargain!
We were greeted on camp by a young guy who was super excited to see us. Turns out we are the first British Campervan to stop here! We were ushered into the family home for schnapps and homemade bread and cheese. A teenage girl sat chatting to us in between playing candy crush on her smart phone. She can't have been anymore than 15 and had almost fluent English. All learnt at school - that's impressive. The camp is nestled in the mountains and has absolutely spectacular views. We asked about rafting and within ten minutes the "rafting chap" arrived to chat with us. All booked in...!
The drive today was long and a bit tiring but so worth it. As we crossed the boarder into Montenegro (which was slightly eventful...) the landscape rapidly changed. This country translates as black mountains and here is why. The last two hours of driving were on windy yet smooth slow roads through the mountains. Absolutely stunning and eased the driver!