Our Full Monte Life…

Monthly snapshot – October

The month in which…

… we flew to the UK for a much-needed break with friends & family.  Our first stop was Clacton, to visit my sister’s lovely new bungalow and enjoy a day with my parents.  I then flew to Berlin with friends Kate & Ditsch for a reunion with old friend Penny:

Had a fabulous day wandering around Berlin in the sunshine with Kate & Ditsch.  Kate got to drink a ‘Berliner Weisse’, Ditsch enjoyed tea and cake and I revelled in the culture.  Early evening we met up with Pen & Elsa at a church in the centre of Berlin for a production of Dido & Aeneas, supported by the choir that Hendrick sings in.  It was wonderful and we had a close-up view of the String Quintet, the choir and the soloists.  Afterwards we feasted with some of their local friends in a fabulous sushi restaurant and then back home for more wine & gossiping.

We had a very lazy Sunday, with a huge brunch and then a big walk in the sun in what once was East Berlin.  Where the wall used to be is now a strip of grass running in between the houses…  Then it was time to head back to the airport, where we managed to fit in the last of the things on the tick list: a proper German wurst!

Back in the UK I made my way to Bucks to meet up with Steve, John & Anita.  Whilst I had been enjoying Berlin living, Steve was chilling out to Welsh sunsets…

We had 2 days left in the UK before our flight home.  Time enough for opticians appointment and shopping!  I treated myself to a pair of Meindl hiking boots – bliss!  Comfy, supportive and so light.  We also purchased a fab new head torch, that can be recharged on a 12v system!  We spent a lovely evening catching up with Matt & Charlotte & family before a crack of dawn flight.

… we returned to Monte to face our reality.  After crunching the numbers for the season we established that this summer had been our most profitable yet.  Great news but still the numbers of visitors were nowhere near the level needed to afford a decent living here.  So, what to do?  We’re not ready to give up the dream yet so we have committed to running the campsite for another season and doing everything we can to market our offer far & wide and looking for a range of solutions to earning hard cash out of season.

… we invited guests from the past 6 years to participate in a survey to try and understand the reasons why people decide to visit us and what they enjoy about their stay.  So far we have had a response rate of 33%, which is fantastic considering the ‘norm’ is 10-20% and not only did people tick the boxes, they also took the time to give us valuable, personal feedback such as:

“I think you’re doing a great job – it is such a beautiful and welcoming place to stay”

“It was so fantastic to eat fruit and veggie from the garden, especially when Denise prepares it. Simply fantastic nights..watching the star constellations in a way I have never seen them before”

“Staying at Camp Full Monte is all about the experience. A great place to meet very interesting people and to make new friends. It’s not just an anonymous camp ground. Everyone who travels to Montenegro should stay here for a few nights”

We were concerned that the clothing-optional aspect would prevent people talking about our campsite & recommending it to others but 85% of respondents reassured us that was not the case.

Top 3 things our guests enjoyed most about our campsite during their visit were:

  1. The friendly atmosphere
  2. The off-grid eco aspect
  3. The hospitality of hosts

34% of respondents said their main reason for visiting was the off-grid eco aspect and for 20% the main reason was the clothing-optional aspect. We asked 10 questions in all and got some really interesting responses and stats. A big thank you to all who responded. We’ll be blogging about some of the results over the winter so watch this space.

… I began building a website for my consultancy business.  It’s my first experience of using wix and so far, so good.  I hope the site will be ready in a few days and I can market myself more professionally to companies here.  I’m also joining forces with a talented local who can run workshops in local language.  The hunt for work here and in the UK has begun in earnest. Wish me luck!

… Daisy had a friend to stay this month: Aoife’s owners Jen & Nathan looked after Daisy whilst we were in the UK and we reciprocated on our return. Despite all her efforts, she still didn’t manage to teach Daisy to fetch!

Failing to teach Daisy to fetch.

Failing to teach Daisy to fetch.

… We took advantage of the October sunshine to get out in the garden:

… Steve continued to chip away at the last part of the stone wall project that Tom & Jerome started in September:

We’ll need a lot of soil to fill this new bed.  The land immediately below our house in Topla is being developed so Steve approached the site manager for a truck-full of his top soil. The truck driver was incredible! He maneuvered his beast of a machine so expertly to dump soil in a couple of convenient places.

… The olives ripened.

… We consolidated & tidied up the compost heaps & recycled old dog food bags to store compost in:

… We were inundated with mandarins and made some amazing marmalade:

… The produce from the garden inspired some sauce making.  Basil was used to make pesto and green tomatoes, peppers, chillies and fresh herbs made a tasty green passata.

… I read ‘The Rosie Project’ but not much else.  A few pages into ‘The Miniaturist’, a belated birthday present from Ditsch.

Graeme Simsion book

Easy to read, funny, clever – Graeme Simsion has written a thoroughly enjoyable book.

… We wasted a lot of time on this beast this month.  It was gifted to us by a friend with the caveat that it had problems starting and needed some attention.  Turns out it needed much more than that.  After extensive research by Stevo, we discovered this model had serious issues.  The good news seemed to be that because it was under a safety recall, the work could be fixed for free.  The bad news turned out to be that the enterprising Montenegrins had already taken out the original engine and frigged a lot of other stuff around it to accommodate the fact that the engine wasn’t the right one!  All warranties now null & void.  Grrr.

… As usual, we had some fun with friends.  We spent a lovely afternoon with Jelena, Nikola & baby Lena. We entertained Katie for a night when she was en route to the airport and shared plans & future ideas.  The Brown-Craiks came to visit for an afternoon and Tony installed an amazing new media system – we now have free, unlimited films and TV series.  And Dragan turned 50, so we helped him celebrate in style with a party full of food & friends:

The final bash of the month was Cess & Marjan’s Halloween Party, which was a hoot! We bought each other scary presents, ate pumpkin slop and confit de canard pie, drank lots of red wine and played Cards Against Humanity.

So that was our October. How do you like the new look photo galleries? Standby for more posts throughout November.

 

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