Our time in Montenegro with a 5 month old baby
Written by: Mama Bea , 28 May 2018
We decided to go to Montenegro whilst we were in Lisbon back in June 2017, when Roscoe was 4 months old. Portugal was our first overseas destination with Roscoe and it made us realize that travelling with a baby is totally doable, babies are surprisingly portable! We had one day left before our journey to the airport and I giddily started researching cheap flights within the next month. We were prepared to go anywhere in Europe and overall the Easyjet flights from Manchester to Tivat won us over. 4 weeks later we boarded a plane for Montenegro. In my head I expected it to be like Croatia, but quieter, which it was to a degree. However we were blown away by how beautiful it was, Montenegro deserves to be known in its own right and not just as Croatia's little sister.
We stayed in a small apartment relatively near the airport in Tivat, with stunning views of the old town, mountains and Adriatic sea. One of the things I remember most potently is sitting on our balcony with a glass of red and a sleepy baba watching the sun disappear into the next bay.
Tivat is a rapidly changing place with the town's old naval base being converted into an expensive redevelopment known as Porto Montenegro. We spent a couple of evenings wandering around the harbour admiring the super-yachts, pretending to be picking up tips for our future floating home. Unfortunately, these walks usually timed well with the super-poonami of the day, resulting in the need of a sly nappy change behind a palm tree! Once we'd had enough of the yachts and suave hotels we would call by the local market in the old town to pick ourselves up some fresh veg and a cheap box of local wine. Those rugged, dramatic mountains give the same view whether you're sat on a multi-million pound yacht or our cute, little balcony right?
We spent one morning visiting Porto Montenegro's Naval Heritage Collection Museum, full of maritime history and with a large submarine sat right outside. It also had a very cool pirate ship playground which I imagine would be really fun for older kids (i.e. I was looking for an excuse to have a go myself) .
The highlight of our time in Montenegro though would be our visit to the Bay of Kotor, just 30 minutes away from Tivat via a bus that goes all the way round the headland, with incredible views to boot. Kotor was much busier than Tivat and more touristy, yet it still had a special charm. Upon disembarkment from the bus the first thing I clamped my eyes on was the town fortress weaving up the mountainside amidst the trees. I remember galloping off the bus and exclaiming that 'We must climb it at once, I've been looking forward to a good climb all day!' In that moment I think I temporarily forgot I had a 5 month old baby strapped to my chest and was prone to extensive mother-related anxiety when under exertion. Consequently, the climb may have resulted in a slight hyperventilated episode halfway up the town walls. I was sweating buckets from being in such close quarters with a living hot water bottle and went into a complete panic that the baby was overheating. I promptly whipped him out of the carrier and splashed cold water all over his face, to which his eyes darted open and instead of crying gave me a look I'm sure he will repeat many times over in his teenage years when I start dancing wildly to Mamma Mia in front of his friends, as if to say 'Really Mother, this again!?'. You will be pleased to know that once that (non)-tragedy was over we did eventually make it to the top and I'd go so far as to say it was worth all the stress. We were met with truly beautiful views of the bay. An ice cold beer upon descent soon sorted me out.
Wandering around the walls of Kotor at sea level was an absolute joy in itself. It reminded me of Venice, but without the canals. We spent a few hours getting lost and stopping for drinks at little cafes.
Further around the bay, not far from Kotor, lies Perast, an even smaller town that somehow still manages to possess 16 churches (or so the local museum told me). We stopped for lunch on the waterside here one day, I'm not sure where else in Europe you could eat on a budget with such incredible views. We ate a lot of Italian food whilst we were there alongside traditional Montenegrin dishes.
Perast was much more peaceful than Kotor, we wandered around the streets some more and visited the Perast Museum which summarised the town's seafaring history.
When we travel we like to factor in a few chilled out days with no plans to see anything. To either spend the time building up our energy reserves with a good book and a comfy chair or going for a long walk in no particular direction and seeing where we end up. On one of these days we happened to come across a beautiful little pebble beach looking out over Kotor bay. We liked it so much we even went back with a picnic on another of our 'rest' days. Our own little slice of heaven. It was here where Roscoe first 'swam' in the Adriatic Sea.
As lovely as our time in Montenegro was, I'm afraid the journey home was not quite as enchanting. The overall trip will forever be remembered as 'that time our flight was delayed by 21 hours'. It wasn't as bad as it sounds, honest. Yes we were kept in a miniscule airport for 6 hours with no information and then, when the airport shut at 9pm, were paraded out onto the tarmac and back through security before been told to wait for a bus to take us to a hotel. These things happen, shit can go wrong, no one wants to fly with a wing dangling off (don't take my word for it but pretty sure the actual problem wasn't quite this severe). It really irritates me when people start blowing off at the captain about how they need to get back to rainy Manchester to take Barry the Dachshund for a walk tomorrow. It's not a blame game guys! To cut a long story short, we ended up phoning the owners of our Tivat apartment, they were super lovely about us staying the extra night and yes we did get full reimbursement and compensation from the airline. Although the less said about the 10 pm sweaty sprint to the market to stock up on nappies, the better. In many ways being stuck in an enclosed space with a load of strange Brits was actually quite interesting, I remember observing my surroundings as if I was conducting a subtle anthropological experiment. After a certain amount of time the over-polite britishness started to wear off, people were conversing with strangers about their lives, large groups were stood around tiny phone screens cheering Andy Murray on at Wimbledon, bloody hell I think we all even stopped queueing for a bit when they handed the food vouchers out! It was a funny thing to experience. Of course Roscoe, being the youngest passenger by quite a long way, got the most attention by far.
Overall, I can't wait to go back to Montenegro, maybe when Roscoe is older and we can go hiking over mountains or rafting down canyons. It was a lovely impromptu trip. Lets just say, when we finally did get on the plane (with wing intact), not sure I can emphasize enough how much I needed that complimentary Aperol Spritz.
As ever, thanks for reading,