A day of contrasts. Old town in Budva, up and down coast road, refreshing swim, a gaggle of long distance cyclists and camping next to the cow highway in Albania.

Camping along the cow highway

Camping along the cow highway

I am addicted. Addicted to cycling. Addicted to internet. The lengths I go to get an internet fix.

The steel rods in the wall make for a weak internet signal.

The steel rods in the wall make for a weak internet signal.

I am addicted to swimming. Again a beautiful beach, almost deserted in the post summer lull.

Contemplating a swim

Contemplating a swim

I am addicted to chocolate. James pointed out my quirky traits. I have a massive bag of cables, adapters, chargers, batteries and memory cards. I have another bag – my snack bag. It is massive and a treasure trove of chocolate from distant countries. Today I had a minor emergency. My snack bag was totally EMPTY. After a 20% climb to change direction and join the road to the Albanian border, the snack bag was emptied. Luckily we passed a supermarket. I breathed a sigh of relief. A trolley full of chocolate.

The salvation of the snack bag

The salvation of the snack bag

I am not the only cycling addict. Today was a day of the long distance cyclist get-together.

Sotiria, Maarten, James and me

Sotiria, Maarten, James and me

More long distance cyclists

More long distance cyclists

Today the landscape changed. The feeling of it all changed. First we joined a quiet rural road that rolled down to the Albanian border. Roosters crowing, all sorts of animals crossing the road, and a relaxed, non-touristy atmosphere.

Rural approach to Albania

Rural approach to Albania

Back to the wild camping. Let’s have another stab at the 3 days of wild camping in a row. Our tents are nestled in-between some farming equipment hidden from the road. It turns out we are on the edge of a cow thoroughfare.

Near our camping spot

Near our camping spot

Our camping ground

Our camping ground

The tent is hidden from the road

The tent is hidden from the road

Day 47. 65km. Njegusi – Budva

Posted: October 29, 2014 in Cycling
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Montenegro is mountaineous. (I guess I already knew that. ☺) From our vantage point of over 1600m, we could see 80% of all of Montenegro – a grey rugged landscape. The shivering slimy unshowered trio then descended to the coast where I convinced James to forget our challenge and pay for accommodation. We are now showered and fresh in Budva.

Nearing 1600m

Nearing 1600m

I am a creature of comfort. When it is sunny, warm and fine weather, a bit of adventure and excitement are fine – camping on a hidden cove of a bay or in a grassy plain behind a restaurant. Today it got colder and cloudy. Speeding down towards the coast, the shivering slimy Matthew decided he needed a shower. James wanted to sleep on the beach directly in front of the old town, in front of the restaurants and cafes. I haven’t passed my hard-core level 5 exams yet. That challenge can wait for another day.

There was a bird’s eye view from our 1600m perch. Lake Shokdër and Albania were in the distance – very high mountains. Whether or not we dare go there away from the coast is not decided.

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Looking out towards Albania

Looking out towards Albania

Wilm is leaving us, catching the boat to Italy to continue his trip. A couple that James knows are about 30km ahead of us. Clèment and JP are a bit behind us. I’m not sure what is next. Along the coast to Albania, but, more than that is unclear. I like it like that!

My blogs will be updated if I have internet. If they are not every day, don’t worry. I am (probably) safe and enjoying myself!


OMG. Today was the most amazing awesome incredible spectacular day. The Kotor bay is surrounded by a ring of imposing mountains. And we climbed one. The best cycling day of my life!

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The cycling team consisted of James – New Zealander returning home from England, and Wilm, cycling to and from Germany. We woke looking out over a beautiful bay, hearing the waves lapping on the pebbles. My first time wild camping without a tent.

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We stopped at Copacabana to replenish our water supplies. Relaxed and laid back, I sipped on my Cockta.

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Then around the bay of Kotor and up the serpentine road, bathed in sun, and treated to the most amazing views.

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I am sitting on the beach in Montenegro with the waves lapping on the pebbles. The lights from the town are shimmering on the water. The dishes are washed, cleaned in the beautiful warm sea-water. James and Willem are here with me, enjoying the beautiful evening.

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Clèment told us of his challenges. People can set him challenges on his blog, and, if he feels like it, we will take it up. Wearing a clown hat cycling for a day. Cycling 1000km without a map. Cycling naked for a couple of kilometres in the middle of the day. Living for zero euros for a month (by dumpster diving). I was really inspired by this. James and I have decided to try to not pay for our accommodation for the coming 3 days. A significant challenge given our relative luxurious way of travelling up to now. So, here we sit, on our free beach enjoying the beautiful view.

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Around and around in circles on the shiny marble streets in the old city in Dubrovnik. GoPro’s running, I followed James and he followed me. People put out bins, walked along with their bread under their arms, ambled down the streets. As time moved on the tourists came out, and leaving Dubrovnik, we weaved our way amongst the masses.

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Willem from Germany joined us, as we followed the coast on a side road, which offered beautiful views of Dubrovnik, and then of the blue blue sea from high above.

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The road approaching the Montenegro border was spectacular. An amazing drop followed by an equally steep climb.

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Tomorrow on the Kotor and up the ‘road of death’. At least, I think it is called that. An over 1000m climb ending in a spectacular view out over the bay. Looking forward to that!


Man, what a day! Blue skies, climbs, mountain landscapes, wild boar hunts, amazing coastal roads, swimming in the turquoise water and an evening in Dubrovnik with the greatest group of cyclists ever. Life doesn’t get much better than this!

The cross at the Bosnian Herzegovinan - Croatian border

The cross at the Bosnian Herzegovinan – Croatian border

Yesterday was powered by Choco Lips. Today was powered by Bumm. We splashed out on this ice-cream treat spending our last Bosnian currency before returning back into Croatia.

Bumm

Bumm

Our last day through Bosnia Herzegovina was on a Sunday (today), which is hunting day. We passed lots of cars that had pulled over, with people with guns and bright fluorescent jackets. Cycling along, we heard the distant barking of dogs (and remembered the canine blur that jumped out at us from the bushes yesterday), but discovered that these dogs were hunting dogs. They were tracking down wild boar.

Wild boars

Wild boars

Just over the border, and we were back on the coast. What an amazing coast! Blue sky, turquoise water, and jugged mountains rising out of the water off the coast. We found our own little beach, and just a few days after driving through the snow, we swam in the sea, and had lunch on the beach.

Dalmation coast

Dalmation coast

Sunning on the Dalmation coast

Sunning on the Dalmation coast

And, yes, I went swimming again

And, yes, I went swimming again

In Dubrovnik we met 3 really cool cyclists, two cycling down to Croatia and then back up in Italy, and one who is cycling from France to New Zealand (http://afleurdeselle.wordpress.com). Our evening whizzed by sharing stories and dreams. It is so cool spending time with other cyclists en route and enjoying life.

The 5 cyclists

The 5 cyclists

Clèment told of dumster diving – eating from the masses of food that is thrown away each and every day. It was a real eye-opener. There is a lot of waste in our society!

Day 43. 84km. Mostar – Zavala

Posted: October 27, 2014 in Cycling
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Today was powered by Choco Lips. This scrumptious chocolate bar brought me through the hilly and beautiful landscape of southern Bosnia Herzegovina. Up glacial valleys and across beautiful plains, with an amazing cloudscape as backdrop.

Down to the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

Down to the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

The rain has left, to be replaced by partly cloudy skies, with lower temperatures perfect for cycling. I am glad to be alive, breathing in the fantastic vistas of wide open plains surrounded by beautiful jagged mountains. We didn’t make it to the coast, but rather to an old train station that has been turned into a lovely restaurant and apartments. Quite chic, but very acceptable for some tired cyclists.

Choco Lips

Choco Lips

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

On the plains in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

The bullet-holed road to Neum

The bullet-holed road to Neum

10%

10%

Valley in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

Valley in southern Bosnia Herzegovina

Sunset at our valley in Zavala

Sunset at our valley in Zavala

We didn’t have any internet in Zavala. I am posting this entry from Day 44 in Dubrovnik. This lack of internet may happen more often now. Don’t get worried if I don’t post a blog every day. In all probability I will still be alive and enjoying life!


The last rest day. Local haircut, fortune telling and a hot bus ride through the cold mountain landscape. Tomorrow back on the bike towards Dubrovnik.

Muški frizer

Muški frizer

It has been raining now since we left Mostar. Ideal indoor weather, and ideal for getting a haircut. While I was waiting for James to have his hair cut, I did as the locals, and browsed through the available reading material.

Browsing the reading material at the barber

Browsing the reading material at the barber

We then had our coffee residues read to deduce our fortunes. I have a mountainous road ahead with obstacles that I will overcome. James has something to do with sheep.

Fortune telling

Fortune telling

It has been good having a break from cycling, but, I feel ready to jump back on the bike and cycle up some hills. The weather is clearing, and I think we will be cycling in the sun tomorrow. Yay!!