Monday, July 10, 2017

Balkan Road Trip: Bosnia and Montenegro

We left Serbia feeling happy, yet ready for a more relaxing itinerary and Montenegro fit that bill. The coastline of Montenegro rivals Croatia (which we LOVE) in beauty, so we knew we wanted to end our three weeks along the coast relaxing.  Unfortunately, it was about an 8 hour drive to the coast from Serbia and, since the smallest Hogan doesn't do well in cars, we knew we had to break it up.  

Luckily, Visegrad in Bosnia is about halfway, so we decided to stop there for the night and it ended up being the perfect stopover.  We didn't leave Belgrade until after lunch time, so we arrived in Visegrad a little before dinner.  We unloaded the car, let Finn have some time outside of the car seat and stretched our legs before heading to dinner. 

The town of Visegrad was tiny and really the only attraction there is the bridge, which is a UNESCO site. That being said, the country of Bosnia and Hertzegovina is STUNNING, so we spent a few hours just gawking at the views.  We found a restaurant that had outdoor seating overlooking the bridge and took in the scenery over some pizza before heading back to our hotel for the night.  Unfortunately, it wasn't the most exciting birthday for Mike, but he reassured me that it was okay.  The scenery makes up for the lack of excitement.

The next morning, we were up and out the door and headed to the Montenegran coast!  We wanted to stop in Kotor before checking into our hotel in Sveti Stefan.   Kotor had an old town surrounded by walls that reminded me of Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia, yet smaller.  We filled our bellies with delicious seafood for a late lunch and walked through the small alley ways and streets of the old town of Kotor before hopping in the car to our hotel.

Maybe the most impressive attraction of Kotor was the castle atop the mountain and the very long path that led to it.

As we left the old town, I couldn't help but pausing to admire the geography of this beautiful country.  The history is tumultuous, but the geography is stunning.

We took one look at that path up the mountain to the castle, looked at the stroller, and then looked at each other and both agreed it was a big fat NO.

After our day in Kotor, we headed to Sveti Stefan where we checked in to our hotel.  We spent the next two days hanging by the pool and at the beach, which was the perfect way to end our trip.  The beach is pretty rocky and the water was rough, so we didn't spend a ton of time there, but hanging by the pool was a great way to end our trip. We ventured into Budva for dinner one night which was a lot of fun and there were tons of restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from, which was nice since Sveti Stefan was a small town.

When you have a baby but not an umbrella, you use your sling as a shade.  #parentingwin 

GUYS! I know I'm obsessed with my child, but who wouldn't be obsessed with this smile?

Beach day

On Saturday, we checked out of our hotel and headed to Podgorica, the capital.  We knew we were going to have to stay the night there since our flight was the next morning, but we hadn't heard great things about the city itself.  The scholars who lived there said it's a great city to live in, but not a great city to visit and, after walking around for a bit, we agreed.  There were lots of restaurants, bars and cafes, but not a lot of sights to see. We kept seeing signs for concerts and events, so there would be tons of things to do if you lived there, but I wouldn't rank it high on my favorite cities we've visited.

The next morning, after three weeks of travel, we returned our rental car and boarded the plane and headed home.  Finn slept through take off and woke up about halfway through the flight.  He spent the rest of the time looking around and distracting Mike and I from reading :)

These three weeks were a big feat for Mike, Finn and I.  We planned and booked this trip before we knew how Finn would do traveling, mainly so we couldn't back out.  Luckily, we lucked out and Finn is a great baby.  He sleeps as well as any three month does, loves to be in his stroller and is just a pretty laid back guy, which made traveling with him not that difficult. We definitely weren't as aggressive as  we normally are, but that was partially because Mike needed to work on his thesis at night, so it worked out well for Finn.   As far as the actual places we visited, I think we were constantly surprised at how much we really enjoyed different cities and sights.  Eastern Europe has had a rough history and that shows through the development and infrastructure of their cities and towns, but the geography and the people make up for it.

Three week road trip with a two month old? Success!

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