Stari Bar, Stari Budva, Stari Nights?

22:29 Alyson Tart 2 Comments

A year past our trip and several months since the last post, I figure it's high time I fill you in more on our babymoon.

Either luckily (or unluckily), we started with low expectations after Albania. Itching with sand fleas and keeping the windows down to keep the car cool (since we were afraid the A/C would overheat it), we thought it was time for a good laugh and for fortunes to improve.

Since we were travelling by car and a lot of the countries we were visiting were not in the EU, we had warned the car rental and asked about the insurance we would need for driving to each of the countries. The agent handed us a green sheet which he said was very important that we would use at each crossing. Upon arriving at our first crossing, we came to find out that, we'd already lost it. Doh.  Paul and I had some disagreeing on where it might have been (one theory being that our cop friend kept it), but either way, we found ourselves having to purchase new insurance at the crossing. Since it ended up only €15 so we didn't complain too much and instead turned our focus to food.

We decided the first few stops didn't look that great and we would hold out for something better. Then the realisation was there were 2 very hungry pregnant women in the car and it became a mission to find something to eat ASAP.  We found an exit that looked promising and stumbled upon one of those great finds that you always hope to find on a roadtrip.

Ulcinj, where we stopped, ended up being a cosy beach city - not so locale that there weren't shops selling beach wares, or some places with English menus, but just locale enough that we were some of the only tourists there, especially this early in the season. We found a view over the water and dug into what was one of many, many Italian meals over the course of the trip. Afterwards, we walked the beach but decided to keep on our way north to Budva.

Back in the car, despite planning to hightail it to our hotel, we saw signs for Bar along the way. We had looked at staying here, but decided that Budva was more our scene. When driving past, we knew we couldn't pass it up completely, so turned to drive up the hills to Stari Bar.  At the top, we paid a random man 2 (likely a fee to keep our car, full of baggage, safe rather than park). Despite driving up hill, there was still more uphill hiking to do until we found ourselves in the castle. It was beautiful, some areas with tended gardens, others left to tend to themselves, what used to be rooms or churches now becoming home to roses and bushes. 

We wandered around, at first following a map, then finally letting our imagination take-over.  Despite being an attraction (there were handouts for 2 proving it), we had run of the place other than a few other people we spotted on the way up and in. It was surreal slipping through what we thought to be paths, perhaps alleyways when it was a booming castle/market in its day.  Instead of crossing paths with a ghost of the past though, I only crossed with what I hope was a friendly snake.

Finally, our first day of roadtripping was done and we made it to Budva.  In actuality, we had booked a hotel in a bay just north of Budva.  Driving up through the campgrounds, full of backpackers and Eurotrippers, I wasn't sure what to expect. But, our hotel was nice enough, if lacking in local flair and tasty food.  We enjoyed a day of lounging and nights of card playing, as the storms railed around us.

We couldn't leave Budva without investigating the city, so we stopped on our last day there.  Of course we needed a little sustenance, so grabbed a smoothie before strolling the streets. We ducked into a museum on the ships that came through to get out of the heat and get a better view of the city walls, but finally gave in and headed to the beach.

A little online research let us know about a beach that was supposed to be good, so we followed the directions, feeling a bit sneaky as we walked past a private hotel pool. We came upon the first beach, but according to directions needed to keep going. As we climbed through a large cutout in the rock, with a board placed on it, we felt even sneakier and were wondering where it was sending us. Not one to give in once we'd started, we kept on.  We finally found our beach, which was nice, although a bit toasty without any shade.  The boys were lucky to have been in their suits, but the ladies didn't feel like trying to wiggle pregnant bodies into bikinis under the towels, so settled with dipping our toes in and working to stay cool.

Our first few days in Montenegro were surprisingly nice, although perhaps even more so in comparison to our rocky start! Little did we know what else Montenegro had to offer!

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  1. Hi Alyson! Sounds like a great road trip to me! What happened in Albania? I've heard such good things about the beach area there. Now that we're back in Europe, hopefully we can cross off some more countries like this off our travel list. :)

    BTW, this is Joy over at My Traveling Joys. We found a flat in Battersea and are liking it here. Hope all is well with you and the little one!

    1. Sorry I missed this! We were in northern Albania and the beaches were dirty and not all that nice compared to other European beaches, but I've heard the south beaches are nice. The roads were pretty terrible, but perhaps they're better in the south as well?

      Welcome to London!