Some days are good. Some days are AMAZEBALLS!! And then there are days like today when not everything flows as it should. These are few and far between days, but they are also the character building days. Life always has up’s and down’s and the joy comes in learning to ride the waves.
We were woken at the crack of dawn with crows squawking and pit-pattering on our roof. Tai opened the sunroof and gave them what for and they flew away. Peace restored, we went back to sleep.
On waking, the water was barely drizzling out of the taps in the campervan. My first thought was the water pump. Not a train smash as we bizarrely we have a spare pump! Then I realized that the lights weren’t working and the 12volt wasn’t charging the phones. Could the crows have messed with our solar panel? So, up Tai climbed, onto the roof, taking photos of the solar panel so that I could see what was going on. Everything looked intact so I grabbed the solar panel manual and started reading. It turns out Tai had left the bathroom light on all night, which had drained the solar battery and as soon as it was charged it would come back on. Thank goodness for that, and here I was blaming the poor crows!
Water, Water Everywhere, but Nowhere to Swim!
With the bad start behind us, we packed up and headed back down to Montenegro’s coast. My agenda for the day was to stop all along the coast to see the towns and to have a few dips in the ocean. All very well if you’re in a car or better yet on a motorbike, but in a campervan in high season in Montenegro, not a chance in hell!
I’d look for a beach on the map and as we approached we’d start looking for parking. Nothing, absolutely nothing! Just hundreds of cars, parked every which way and people with inflatables walking from miles away. Yes, we could have also parked Miles miles (I like that one!) away but we just wanted quick swims as we drove down the coast.
Finally, the angels smiled down on us and we found a parking spot. And it was big enough for Miles. Elation! We grabbed sarongs and suntan lotion and followed the path through trees, down to the rocky beach. The crystal clear water was within touching distance when I heard Tai shouting. I turned round to find him sitting on a rock, absolutely furious. “How dare you bring me to a nudist beach? I refuse to go to this beach with these people!”. I looked right and there were penises and left, there were penises and large naked ladies. I have no issue with nudity and Tai has no problem danced around in the nude, but as he gets older he’s becoming more an more protective of me, often lifting my t-short back up to cover my shoulder or telling me that an item of clothing is too revealing. It’s endearing, but not when I’m desperate for a swim. I suggested he ignore them and have a swim. but there was no way on earth I was getting Tai to step foot on the beach. So resignedly and still sweaty, I agreed to leave. And I was so close to the water!
For those of you looking to visit a nudist beach, this one was near the ruins of the Franciscan monastery of Ratac (42.122502, 19.062361). The ruins are very dirty though with quite a bit of trash, so I wouldn’t bother stopping to look at them.
The beaches we passed were packed to the brim with wall to wall people, loungers and umbrellas. You could hear the music thumping as we drove by and the assortment of inflatables would have made China smile. As much as I wanted to swim, spending a day on these beaches would be my worst nightmare.
All along the coast, I kept stopping to take more and more photos of the exquisite ocean and wishing we could find a way to get to it!
Realising that hitting a beach wasn’t going to happen, we turned inland for a visit to the Old Town of Bar, otherwise known as Stari Bar. This old fortress town sits high up on Londša hill, at the foot of Mount Rumija, just a few kilometers from the new seaside town of Bar. Virtually destroyed by explosives and a massive earthquake, the city still lies in ruins but makes for a wonderful place to visit. You can read more about Stari Bar here.
Seeing as we were close by, we made a stop at Stara Maslina, which is the oldest olive tree in Europe. At 2243 years old, this tree certainly has stood the test of time!
Not forgetting our quest to have a swim, I suddenly remembered Valdanos Beach. Apparently beautiful, far away from any towns and very secluded. Surely this would be the one for us? Google maps took us off the main road and up an incredibly steep road that zigzagged through villages and over a very high hill. Down the other side, we went, through eons old olive orchards with their gnarly trunks. It is a tradition in Montenegro to plant an olive tree when you get married, so we imagined how many thousands of marriages had taken place here.
The road joined another bigger road and 500m later we reached a gate with a big NO CAMPERVAN sign. The beach was another 2km away down a steep winding road. It was after 4 pm and hopes of a swim were dwindling. We turned around and headed further south. Our final resting place for the day was a wild camping spot on Long Beach near the city of Ulcinj.
This spot is famous for kitesurfing and the sky was teeming with kites for as far as the eye could see. After a long day of searching, we had finally found a place to stop at a beach, in fact, we were literally parked right on the beach. The downside, it was getting late and where there are kites there is also wind! Strong wind, that was whipping up the black sand. I’ll try to swim tomorrow.
Wild Camping spot right on the beach. No facilities, but there are a few beach bars along the beach with toilets and showers. This is a kite-surfing hotspot, so expect some wind!
The sunsets are incredible!
GPS: 41.87718, 19.32726