Travel Log~ Part 2

Back the very next day, are you shocked?  I am!!  Let's not get excited though, because it's probably not going to be three days in a row.  I feel a little less guilty about taking so long to post about our next trip because we've been to the city of Niksic twice now, and technically the second trip was just over a month ago.

We decided to head up to Niksic by train on one of the first dry Saturdays in March.  After the windy roads down to the shore I really wasn't ready or willing to try the roads again, so the train was perfect.  We had a wonderful hour riding up and seeing the beautiful countryside, and were met at the train station by the lovely woman who helps me here at the house and her sweet niece.  

Niksic is a small town, and easily walkable so from the train station we headed out to see the fortress.

 Like Kotor, Niksic also has a walled fortress in addition to the new part of the city.  Unlike Kotor though, the Niksic fortress isn't maintained all that well, and other than an informational sign at the bottom of the stairs you can't get much information on its' history.

Considering how little effort is put into it, it's in remarkably good condition, and the views are extraordinary!

After our tour of the fortress we walked through the city and explored before having lunch and catching our train home.  During lunch I developed the first symptoms of my awful illness, and I was extremely grateful for the calm slow train ride home!
After I was feeling better we had the opportunity to travel back to Niksic, and this time I was brave enough to drive.  It turns out it's a very safe and straight road, thank goodness!

E and S joined me in meeting with a class of local middle school students who are learning English.  The students had been learning to talk about food, and we were invited to come and share American food with them.  It was so fun to meet them and share with them about our food while they graciously shared about their food with us as well.  The students also enjoyed meeting E and S because they were the first American children they had ever met.  At the end they presented us with a cookbook of local recipes that they had translated from Montenegrin to English for us.  It will certainly be one of our cherished memories of our time here!

We're looking forward to more opportunities to explore and meet new people!  It's the best part of the experience!!


Travel Log

Last time I posted I said I'd be back that week with two more posts.  I don't remember the last time I posted... definitely more than two weeks ago.  (Truthfully I'm a little embarrassed by my inconsistency so I don't even want to look at the date on the last post, seeing it when this one pops up will be enough.)

It's also been over two months since we took our first trip.  Time to finally share!

We ventured out of Podgorica the first time at the end of February.  After a three week delay all of our things were still in Malta and I was going completely stir crazy.  

On Wednesday I had had enough and booked a hotel down by the shore so we could leave Friday when hubby got off of work.  We came home Saturday, but it was just what we needed... with a few slight complications.  I'm beginning to grasp that life is ALWAYS going to have complications.  Maybe they aren't complications, they're just adventures as a dear friend reminded me this week.

This was our cozy little room.  Note the idyllic window on the clay tile roof, it's important!
 We got in late Friday night, but when we arrived the fire was lit and we were able to dry our shoes off from the incessant rain.  I've mentioned before that it rains a lot here right?
 We didn't actually stay in Kotor, we stayed in the sweet little village of Perast, and this was the view from our living room window of the bay of Kotor.  It takes about an hour, but there's a road that goes all the way around the bay so that you can get to those houses you see on the other side.  There's also a ferry that the kids are extremely anxious to take. 
 Remember the aforementioned window?  And the adventurous complications?  This is the after picture of a door involved in the adventurous complications.  Little W went into the bedroom with S, and decided to try out the lock.  Unfortunately the tumbler stuck in the locked position and it took two hours, several translators, four men, a housekeeper, six phone calls to the maintenance guy who kept telling everyone to just turn the key, and two trips through the window to get them out. 

The whole thing is funny now, but when I was trying to communicate with my husband after he had gone out of the window, walked across the roof, and gone in through a window you can't see, (Yup, you read that right.) while trying to order dinner to be brought in, and keep the baby from gravitating to the wood burning stove it wasn't nearly as funny...  Just being honest.

In addition to my husband going through the window the local handy man who was finally convinced to come help also had to go from the courtyard up through the window.  The damage to the door is just some of what had to be done to it to get it open and free everyone.
 After a lovely meal delivered from the hotel restaurant, a long explanation of why we don't lock doors in strange places, and a good night's rest we got up the next morning and headed to the old city of Kotor.  The city has a river on either side, mountains to the back and the bay to the front, and is fortified by the ancient walls we were standing on to take the picture.  

After sight seeing through the old city we took some time to rest and have fun.
 Lots of fun!
 Every park in the country seems to have seesaws, and our entire family loves them!
 The playground is just feet away from the edge of the bay, and even in the lousy weather the view is still breathtaking.

Our trip coincided with the beginning of Carnival in the city of Kotor, so we took the chance to enjoy a few of the family friendly festivities before heading home.

The old city is definitely something to behold.  Unfortunately the walls no longer completely surround the city so you can't walk all the way around, but there is so much fascinating history.  In fact after the little ones were in bed for the night the concierge came and told us stories of the local history.  We're looking forward to going back when it's not raining so we can take a boat out to the  Island of St. George, and to Our Lady of the Rocks.  Then I can share the beautiful history of them both! 

Now just two more travel posts, and a monthly update to get us all caught up...  They'll be posted soon, I'm sure!



It's been a busy month and it's going to take a couple of posts and a couple of days to catch up, but I'm going to give it a shot.  I wouldn't be so behind, except that, well, I caught something.  

Go big or go home my husband always says.  I went big, and I wanted to go home.  In fact somewhere around day seven of this fifteen day occurrence I had a plan of how exactly to go home.  In my feverish, aching head it was beautiful.  Luckily my body wouldn't cooperate, because I don't really think there's a realm in the world in which 15 hours of travel is going to go well when you have whatever it is I had.  

Thankfully whatever it is I had, (the doctor think food poisoning since no one else caught it) has now passed, and so has my desire to go anywhere on a plane with five children for fifteen hours.  So we can get back to enjoying Montenegro again.  Ready?!  Here we go!
 You'll be surprised to hear we had more rain, wait, no you won't because that's what it does here in the winter.  The surprise is that nasty brown layer of funk.  Our housekeeper calls it "the dirty rain from Africa".  My husband tells me that while that's not a complete scientific explanation of the situation, she's correct, and essentially dust storms blow over and cause it to rain mud here.  It's disgusting, I assure you!
 After three weeks of delay the rest of our boxes finally arrived, thrilling doesn't even begin to describe it.  We managed to get everything unpacked in three days, although we're still rearranging a little.
 For some reason the movers brought W's bike into the apartment.  He had great fun riding along the hallway, and we always knew where he was when he was ringing his bell.  I've reminded everyone now that bike's are outside toys, no matter how long the hallway is.  (His trunk was put to good use moving books for a day though.)  :)
 It hailed, A LOT!  That was in fact a surprise!
 Our local International School has been very welcoming, and let E participate in their first ever pinewood derby.  She competed last year at church, and was so excited to do it again.  She won both of her races!!
 V has been doing arts and crafts once a week at the school and is always so proud of her creations!
E has been taking dance classes at the school and participated in the talent show.  She has only been practicing with the other girls for four weeks, and we were so proud of her willingness to perform!  (The grandparent's wanted to see video, so you all get to view it along with them.  I apologize for the size and quality, I'll try and improve it when I'm feeling better.)
  The night of her performance was the second time I'd been out of the house since my long illness started, and it was a thrilling way to spend my limited energy.
 We had a little trouble with mail at the beginning of the March, so all of our Easter packages have been delayed until after Easter.  Our housekeeper came to the rescue though, and brought us onion peels so that we could still dye Easter eggs.
 Everyone was very excited over our traditional Montenegrin Easter eggs.  We'll use our other dye at the end of April when they celebrate Easter here in Montenegro.  Since it's an Orthodox country Holy Days are on a different schedule.
 And since we didn't want to miss out on the traditional American Easter fun, we happily accepted an invitation to the Ambassador's house for an Easter egg hunt, a visit with the Easter Bunny, and games.

We also managed to squeeze in two sight seeing trips, that I'm hoping to post about separately later this week.  Until then, Happy Easter!  He is Risen, and that is the source of all of our hope and joy!


A Few of Our Favorite Things

It's taken a month, but I can now officially say that I love it here in Montenegro.  

Things are still really crazy, like the park benches in fifty percent of the town missing their seats kind of crazy, but overall normal is slowly coming back, and my heart is preparing for how broken it will feel when we have to leave this beautiful place.

We've had a lot of sickness, and still haven't gotten most of our things from home, but the last month has brought some wonderful experiences.  Here are a few of our favorite things (so far):

The Hard Rock Cafe Podgorica's one year anniversary celebration.  (Real American food does wonders mentally when you're in the middle of culture shock people!!!)

Speaking of food, chocolate Panettone is also extremely comforting.

Mail day is always exciting, and when daddy called and told us to come and get him one night because we had so much mail, well, let's just say it distracted us from the frustration of still not having our things from home!

New and old traditions, like Michaelmas, birthdays, and Valentine's Day have been bright spots during otherwise rainy days.

Even the rainy days aren't all bad...  Like the one where we stood in the Centar in pouring rain with a couple hundred other people for the UN's One Billion Rising celebration.  Little J was getting wet, and one of the sweet women there gave us her dry shirt to put over the stroller.  We tried to give it back before we left and she refused it, saying it was a present for the beautiful American baby.  

Of course, I think I've mentioned this, but we like the food too.  :)  We especially like the bread that's made daily at the little pekara a few doors down.  The family it owns the bakery has captured our heart with their kindness and strong desire to communicate with us.  Every time we go in they know a new English expression and we know a new Montenegrin expression and we try them out on one another.

Finally there's the just plain breathtaking beauty of this place.  Waterfalls that pop up after a rain right in the middle of the city (did I mention that it rains a lot here?), beautiful playgrounds everywhere, walking paths and viewing coves around the Millenial Bridge and the Moraca River, they take your breath away.

I wish I could show you my ultimate favorite thing, but I can't capture the hearts of the people on my camera.  The kindness, love, and generosity we've experienced since we've been here will always be what I think of when I think of my favorite thing about Montenegro!


Anatomy of a Move



Yup, I totally made that last word up.  

So it's been over a month now since that big truck took all of our things back, and we've been a little busy in the in-between time.  

After the boxes left we went to settle in to our hotel for a fun and relaxing week...we thought.  The first day we walked to the park and played, but by the second day the boys started to come down with something ugly.  We spent the rest of the week in the hotel with oils, prayers, and sick children.  It was nothing short of a miracle that we made it onto the plane.

Thankfully we did in fact make it onto our scheduled flight.  We made it with ten suitcases, nine carry-on's, two strollers, and two car seats.  We had two flights over a fourteen hour period, a four hour layover, and two little girls who got airsick as our first flight landed.  We have no desire to do that again anytime in the near future.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by some amazing new friends, a few vans to take all of us, and all of our stuff to our new place.  (The view from my window is even more beautiful than that picture shows.)  About a week later we were lucky to receive the first thousand pounds of our things from home, and now we just wait for the rest to arrive.  Hopefully in another two or three weeks...

Moving really isn't new to us, but I have to admit this one has been the hardest by far.  Grocery shopping for seven while jet lagged, and realizing at the same time that the language barrier is significantly greater than anyone warned you about is, shall we say, trying.

We are all slowly adjusting...  I'm afraid I'm the slowest, but each day I'm making progress and as I look back at the moments I've captured I'm able to see a lot more of the good than I've actually felt on a day to day basis.

We are looking forward to seeing more of this beautiful place and sharing it with you, and we're also looking forward to not moving again for a few years!


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