Where: Montenegro; Ulcinj, Budva, Kotor, Tivat
When: July 2017
What: exploring Montenegro, our second new country of this trip. And, please can we have our car back?
We our very lucky to be staying in a wonderful apartment with sea views, for free, courtesy of friends of Jess’s Dad.
And not only are they letting us stay there, but they are also incredibly welcoming and helpful. And it turns out to be very useful to have contacts when you need to get your car over the border without the correct documents, and we’re not exactly sure how they did it, but that’s not important, the next morning Jess returns to the border and is let through with the car, no questions asked. As Montenegro is another country not usually covered by UK car insurance, we buy insurance at the border (and in the mean time get the V5 couriered to us in Montenegro). Such a huge relief to have the car back, and not only that, but we get news that Jess’s brother has had a baby girl that morning. Our mood is instantly lifted and we have a chilled out day on the beautiful and quiet Valdanos beach.
Ulcinj beach is lovely, but best avoided during the day, it is one of the most packed beaches I have ever seen, hardly any space even to walk into the sea. Much more pleasant in the evening.
The next day we treat ourselves to lunch out, at Teuta, in the Stari Grad/Old Town.
The restaurant is owned by a friend of Jess’s friend, the food is amazing, and the views of Ulcinj bay are stunning.
The owner arranges a private boat trip for us for the next morning with his brother. Albert takes us for a ride along the coast and shows us all the different beaches and tells us a bit about the history of the place. Jess spies a place to jump in from, so we take a quick detour.
Arto just loves being rocked to sleep on a boat so misses the whole thing.
The family whose apartment we are staying in recommend visiting Long Beach, a kitesurfing beach, which is open to swimmers until midday, at which time it is exclusively for kite surfers. It’s perfect for the boys, shallow warm water and lovely soft sand. And way too hot to stay there after midday anyway. Another family we meet spot a snake bobbing it’s head out of the water, it turns out not to be a sea snake, so one of the locals comes to rescue it and show it to the kids.
The mother of our host family comes to visit us in the evening with her daughter. The mother doesn’t speak English, but her daughter is fluent, and turns out she studied at our local Uni where I also studied. She’s very smart. The mother is besotted with the the boys, they soon warm up after being given biscuits, and shells that the mother has collected at the beach that day for them.
We take a day trip to Budva, the Stari Grad/Old Town is really beautiful, but it’s just too hot, around 40 degrees, so we head back to our local beach to cool down.
Having waited one more day for our car documents to arrive, we give up and head north, to Tivat. We have booked an Air BnB, it’s slightly more than we would usually pay on this trip, around 32 euros! But it is so luxurious. The host is the most friendly, smiley woman you could meet, and the apartment is so clean and new, and even had air con 💨.It was very close to the the port of Tivat, full of very flashy super yachts. But there was also a pretty amazing playground in the form of a pirate ship, a boat that we felt more comfortable boarding!
We spent one day in Kotor, a lovely walled old town, full of narrow lanes with little shops, cafes and restaurants. There was an old wall along the mountain side with 1,350 steps leading to the top, only one of us could do the climb, as it was too much for the boys, so I let Jess do it, while myself and the boys stayed at the bottom and ate ice cream.
The next morning we were due to check out of our luxury Air BnB. Jess drove to Podgorika to try and intercept the DHL package before it left the depot first thing on Monday morning (it had been delayed, mostly because they have a really terrible service in DHL Montenegro, but also because the previous Thursday had been a national holiday, which causes chaos for days). Thankfully he got there just in time, and collected us on the way through to cross the border into…Croatia.