Firstly we needed somewhere affordable for Katie, the birthday girl, to travel to and enjoy, given that she was living in London at the time, and was about to wrap up her time there. We also wanted somewhere none of us had been before - and here we settled for, and fell in love with, the beauty and surprise of Montenegro.
Further research had us book a house for the week planned, on the edge of the Bay of Kotor, in the tiny village of Prčanj. Which was perfect, because with our hire cars we were close enough to explore the Bay, get into Kotor for supplies and sightseeing, but far enough away from the throes of tourists that seem to swarm every other day in the area.
The Bay of Kotor is stunning - a weirdly shaped body of crisp, clean, cool water, surrounded by the Alps, creates a quite, calm and still part of the world.
The water held much fascination - cold and refreshing for a dip, it also held the twinkles of the lights from Kotor each night, and we were in the perfect position to see the Old Wall lit up.
During the days the water was spectacular, taking in the views of the mountains. The wisps of clouds in the morning that would hang around for some time. The everyday goings on in the little villages - all so photogenic and worth taking the time to take it all in.
Our week was perfect, and meet all our needs and exceeded our expectations. Montenegro felt like such a travel find!
Serious tip: Go! Montenegro is one of the world's newest countries, and is affordable, has great food, and feels so fresh. It's beautiful!
Time spent: We spent a full week here, but included a couple of day trips - one across the border to Dubrovnik, one into Budva, and then another inland to the capital of Podgorica and one of the monasteries.
Cost: Our 5 bedroom house worked out to be $45 per night, per person.
Quirky tip: There are so many cute, run down buildings to check out and photograph. Actually, there are so many things to catch your eye - the boats, the water, the islands on the Bay of Kotor. Seriously stunning place!