Hi guys – welcome to Mountain Day!! Please check out my other posts from my series on Montenegro:
The plan that didn’t go to plan
For weeks leading up to our trip to Montenegro we had planned to summit the highest peak in southern Montenegro – Mount Rumija. We had it all planned out – the route we would take, the mountain playlist sorted and the Garmin all programmed. (kindly lent to us by Mr map twat, aka Andy, aka the Mountain snobs boyfriend). We would be up at 5am and hiking before the 35 degree heat was at its peak. We decided that we would hike up to the summit the day before we departed for Rome and after a week filled of activities with our tour group. Despite all of the meticulous planning the day didn’t quite go to plan at all.
5am had been and gone and me and the mountain snob were still snoozing like babies. When we eventually woke up we had to wait until the 9.15am train to Stari Bar, where we would start our hike. It’s well worth a visit to this small historic town…
With it’s selection of small cafes and gift shops, Stari Bar is located up in the mountains, an hours walk from the modern city of Bar, in the southeast of Montenegro. My boyfriend is now the proud owner of Stari Bar’s finest tourist tat – a fridge magnet! You’re welcome. Stari Bar actually translates to Old Bar and unfortunately it’s seen it fair share of troubles over the centuries. It had been taken over by the Venetians, the Serbians, the Hungarians and the Ottoman Empire. It was finally reclaimed back by Montenegro in the siege of 1877 after the locals bombed the aqueduct into the town and cut off the water supply. The aqueduct had since been repaired but one hundred years later, in 1979, it was destroyed again by a major earthquake that forced the local community to abandon the town and build Bar closer to the coast. Today, the Old Fortress lies in ruins.
By the time we started our hike it was already 10am and the heat was slowly rising. The past few months had seen Montenegro drenched in 30/40 degree heat but not drenched in rain. This had resulted in multiple forest fires up in the mountains, something we had come to realise will get in the way of us reaching the top of Rumija. We could see a fire on the mountain as we approached it. Back at our apartment in Virpizar, we had seen raging fires across Lake Skadar in Albania. Also one of the families who were part of our tour group were evacuated from their villa further up the road from us as a fire raged in the mountains behind them. Maybe mountain climbing wasn’t the best idea in summer!! With this in mind the plan was to just see how far we get and have a nice hike through the mountainous terrain.
Lets do the time warp again
After walking for a few miles our trail came to an abrupt end – we just couldn’t figure out where on earth we were suppose to be walking. It would appear that the only way forward would be to scramble up a big rocky wall. Generally speaking this wouldn’t have been an issue if it weren’t so hot and the mountains weren’t on fire. We decided that the best option would be to head back – making it a 6 mile hike in total. For the journey back we pumped up the tunes and threw some shapes to the ‘Time Warp’ and whipped our hair back and forth to Willow Smith. We looked like a bunch of raving mountain loonies…