Friday 21 July 2023

Road trip in the Balkans - part 5

After a couple of days with only picture sharing, here I come again with an article.

Bunk'Art Tiranë, meeting hall

I've been quite busy. My usual daily schedule is the following:

  1. 7:30 - 9:30 wake-up and breakfast, it depends on the day before, the sleep and the general tiredness which increases by the day. I started hitting into the breakfast buffet even though I'm not really hungry right then. But at least I don't feel hungry later on and can skip lunch. I always have some biscuits, dried fruits and nuts with me. I buy water on the road because otherwise it's hot after one or two hours in the top-case.
  2. 9:30 - 17:00 driving to some sites over hopefully winding roads with great scenery. So far, it mostly worked out. Although today, I felt it was too much. Specially the tiny road from Danilovgrad to Čevo. The road was mostly terrible and I drove at 20 km/h for some bits. The road down to Kotor was exhausting (I was already wrecked) because it was really narrow and cars opposite arrived with quite some speed.
  3. 17:00 - 19:00 cooldown. If possible get a swim in the Adriatic sea or a lake, otherwise a shower and an aircon'd room will do. It's a must after a day of overheating in full motorcycle gear. visiting sites, I only take off the vest and the pants stay on. That's also the time I use to do some pics editing and blogging. Also preparing the next day's trip comes into that time slot.
  4. 19:00 - 21:00 supper. I tried to get local dishes in a cool restaurant. It doesn't always work as expected, but hey, there's always a minimarket and a gelateria open to finish off the day.
  5. Winding down and sleep. That's not always as easy as it seems.
Appollonia close to Fier

The few days on the road seems like many more days than it has been. I've seen so many different sceneries and sites that it all kind of mixes up in my brain.
Ostrog Orthodox Monastery

View of Kotor and its bay

Nevertheless, here's a few things I did.
  • Visited the Bunk'Art museum in Tiranë. It's a huge bunker laid out in a long tunnel with side tunnels and rooms. In the rooms, there are exhibitions. The whole is quite cool to visit. To get to the site, you have to pass a tunnel which gets you in condition.
  • Drove up to Spaç prison. A trip of 6.7 km on a winding cobblestone road up the mountain. It's a very interesting site, and you will feel quite alone up there, except for the couple of industries (literally two if I remember well).
  • Visited Appollonia city near Fier. This one I really recommend, as it was a former Roman city with quite a history. There are multiple vestiges of buildings and the full monastery remains.
  • Drove up to Ostrog Orthodox Monastery today. Also on top of your bucket list, it's a monastery built against the rock face at some altitude. It can be seen from a distance.
  • Arrived in Kotor Montenegro by the mountain road. An absolute must if you drive yourself. The views are incredible.
Spaç prison

In order to not drive the boring fast road around the mountains, I chose to go over Čevo in the mountains. Little did I know how narrow, tiny and bad this road was. The 28 km from Danilovgrad take about an hour to complete, the road being in such a bad state. After that, I met a new road in construction, on which there was almost no traffic. It was quite surreal to drive on this ultra-wide road which was not completed yet. It also confused me tons, because I drove off the charts according to Google Maps. This road was not registered yet. So it was not surprising that I lost my way. Fortunately, I met this guy who explained to me four or five times how to get to the road to Kotor. I finally thought I got it: 4 kms back on the big road, then turn left and go up on an unpaved road, which will shortly turn into paved road again. Then drive a bit and turn right. At this post, there were signposts again and Google Maps recognized the existing roads. Pfiuuu. I almost dropped the bike a couple of times during some manoeuvering. But ended up not to. Pfiuuu.
Ostrog Orthodox Monastery

Ostrog Orthodox Monastery

All in all, a very rewarding day, but I won't be able to keep it up. So tomorrow, I hope to convince myself to take it easy and take a direct road north. Also the heat is killing me. I didn't feel my sciatic too much today. Let's hope it stays that way.
Ostrog Orthodox Monastery

Unfinished road down from Čevo

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