One of the sections we had all been looking forward to is a famed section of road snaking up a cliff out of Kotor and running over the alpine country to descend into Cetinje. Lots of tight turns as an appetizer just to get to the main course, then 24 numbered switchbacks, followed by dozens of kilometres of prime alpine riding. Even Roberto after all he has seen couldn’t control his excitement at doing this ride.
Before tackling that we followed the road around the Kotor peninsula where the views across the bay of cliffs, mountainside churches and giant cruise ships competed with those of the small old stone towns on the waters edge making it hard to concentrate on negotiating the tight turns.
Then a dose of history and culture wandering the streets of the old walled city of Kotor before being chased out by tornado like squall.
With no destination planned and with the torrential rains that had nearly drowned us in Kotor’s old town, we decided to camp and Roberto found a tiny little road that impossibly found a way down a cliff to a campsite in Rijeka Crnojevica. This is on a pastoral river leading to the Skadar Lake (or Schkoder Lake to Albanians). It is shared by Montenegro and Albania and is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula.
Tomorrow Colm may part ways with the crew as his clock is ticking.
Photos to follow…
Yesterday we entered a new country once again. Montenegro welcomed us with smooth, sticky pavement, glorious sunshine and the breezy vistas of the Adriatic.
It seems each day tries hard to surpass the last, and the ride over the mountains on the old road from Kukes to Schkoder (now less traveled since the new highway was built) was the best mountain riding I’ve done – decent pavement, excellent weather and spectacular views. And the turns… Andrew tried to count them and couldn’t keep up, so he took the average minute and tallied 15-20 turns per minute or a turn every 3-4 seconds! And this went on for kilometres at a time in between the ‘straight’ sections, where the turns only came every 10 seconds. Pretty wild. There was some magic in creating these routes; Roberto had put in the time and called on all his experience to put the plan together.
At one point up very high we stopped to look at a bunker and a tradionally garbed woman called up to the bunker and invited us to share some cherries. Later we stopped at a fish farm on the top of a pass and had fish which had been swimming in the pond delivered to our plates in 10 minutes.
The border into Macedonia went well; Roberto going first with his EU passport and charm, Andrew follows and explains how the Canafian registration and his counterfeit-looking insurance works, then I usually breeze through. At the border we met 7 Poles who were doing a road touring trip to Athens.
The roads immediately improved in Mobtenegro and followed a beautiful narrow white limestone gorge, eventually ending up in Ucinje, a resort community on the coast. What a change…