We all woke up pretty early and packed up our stuff before having some breakfast. Vincent gave me some coffee, which was the best start to the day. I have realised that I am completely and utterly dependent on coffee and that it would be almost impossible to give up, lucky its not opium.
After the bikes were packed and loaded up, we all got set to go our different ways. Richard had been cycling for about a year and half and was just going around wherever he felt like going, so he was in no particular rush. Vincent was waiting for his girlfriend in Montenegro, so he was heading inland to the mountains to kill some time. I was thinking that it was still a long way to Istanbul and that it wasn’t too long until josh and luke came to see us, so I thought I better push on.
That morning ride to Kotor was probably one of the best yet. It wasn’t too hot yet and it was perfect blue sky. The road was pretty flat and quiet so you could get some good speed. The road just went along the bottom of the lake, so that you had the mountains on one side and calm water on the other. I would suggest looking at photos on google as they will be much better than any of the ones I took.
The first 20 miles went really quick but it started to get seriously hot and steep again. The road clung to the coast and it felt like I was going up and downhill constantly.
The views were fairly ridiculous all day and I seemed to be making quite good time, I stopped after about 60 miles for some lunch and got going again at about 3pm, I still had most of the day so I decided I could probably make it to the Albanian border and try and find somewhere to camp before crossing into Albania. I thought I had planned a really good short cut, which would take off some time , but a policedude stopped me and said it was extremely hilly and that it was a bad road to go on. I thought about going for it anyway but decided I would be quicker on a better road.
I kept going until about 6 or so before stopping for a coke to give me a bit of sugar rush. the last 15 miles to the border were pretty tough, as some mountains seemed to appear out of nowhere, I was getting a bit tired so I listened to queen to try and get motivated. It was lucky there were not many people about as apparently I am gifted enough to sing Flash Gordon by myself. My earphones fell out at one stage and when I heard my voice it was fairly terrible. I could not fault myself for the amount of effort I put in…but it sounded horrific.
Although some bits of the day were a bit tough I was really enjoying pushing it and was having a great time just listening to music and chattering to myself, so I carried on to the border and still had some daylight so I headed towards the Albanian town closest to the border, Shokder.
It was a little bit crazy heading into town, I didn’t really understand how the roads worked, it seemed like you could pretty much just do what you wanted. This is very well if you are in a car but I felt a bit exposed on a bike. Having said that there were loads of people cycling so I decided to follow somebody and just do waht they did. I chose to follow and old man on his bike because I thought he would be fairly safe. I stalked him at a distance so as not to alarm him. I followed him until we got close to the city centre. At this point he started to cycling towards oncoming traffic so I ditched him.and followed someone else for a while. I am aware that this may have made me seem slightly strange to follow elderly people at a distance, it is a habit I am probably going to give up in the future, but for the time being it worked pretty well.
I found a hostel to stay in for the night and got some food pretty quick, I was seriosuly hungry. I think I cycled about 110-120 miles that day and it didn’t take long to fall asleep. It was a bit of a shame to go through a country so quickly but I will definitely come back to Montenegro and spend some days cycling inland in the future hopefully.