Woke up to a sunny morning in our apartment in Kamenari overlooking the sparkling Bay of Kotor and spent a little bit of time on the ‘net and packing the bike waiting for breakfast to be prepared, and then with a fond farewell to Dragan and a couple of photos we headed towards Kotor, enroute for Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro.
Many people just whiz straight thru Montenegro – with a coastline only 240km long that’s not too hard to do, unless you get caught in the 10:00am traffic jam in Kotor. The road was packed and there was no room to slip ahead with all the oncoming traffic, even though we saw a few scooter riders try this approach, so instead we crawled into Kotor, and just as we reached the docks near the old city the road opened up and we were able to get out of town.
Rather than take the main road to Podgorica I’d plotted a bit of a scenic route, which turned into quite an adventure ride as it led us high up into the mountains overlooking the Bay of Kotor via a series of 28 hairpin bends. The road was sealed and the view spectacular, and we both enjoyed the road. Cresting the peak of the mountain range we dropped down on the northern side towards the old royal city of Cetinje, a bustling hive of activity after the sparse villages and forest roads we’d taken to arrive at this town.
From Cetinje the road became a highway, but the posted speed limit was still very low so we just idled towards Podgorica, stopping a bit out of the city to get some lunch at a roadside cafe, and some supplies from the small supermarket across the road. Once we’d restocked and remounted, I tracked down a servo so we could fully fuel up before we headed north up a scenic road I’d seen on the map, that tracked high up into NE Montenegro before curving south and meeting a border crossing into Albania. Cristoff and Christian – two riders we had met recently – were very enthused about the riding in northern Albania, so the route I’d plotted was designed to drop us right where we wanted to be when we crossed the border.
The GPS had us head through the centre of Podgorica which was a less than relaxing experience as cars were coming at us from all directions, but we got out of town safely and headed north towards Bioce, where we peeled off the main road and took the scenic route North East to Matesevo. The narrow scenic road followed a canyon for kilometres, and whilst the ride was slow it was also very enjoyable. Arriving at Matesevo we had a cooling beer at a small bar that resembled something from the Wild West, before turning east and heading to Andrijica, a waypoint on our way to the border post.
The road flowed through a scenic valley and was a pleasure to ride on. At one point, we came around a corner and a local girl was standing in the middle of the narrow road, offering up a tray containing pots of berries for sale. We bought a pot for two euro, and carried in our way. Arriving late in the afternoon at Andrijica it was obvious that we wouldn’t make the border before it closed for the evening, so we checked into an imposing soviet-era hotel in the centre of the small town – the Hotel Komovi.
Slobor (sic), the owner of the hotel, helped me park the bike in his large shed out the back of the hotel, alongside the two KLX250’s he has for himself and his son to ride. Slobor was a lovely host, and when he saw via our passports that we are Australian he was in raptures – as his married daughter lives in Perth WA with her Australian husband and one year old child, and his son has spent a few months visiting Perth. He was so rapt he phoned his son and then passed me his mobile so I could chat with his son for a while.
Slobor, Karen and I enjoyed a drink together in the beer garden outside the front of the hotel overlooking the road, though as he was finishing a course of antibiotics he only had a water, and then Karen and I went for a stroll along the Main Street, soaking up the ambiance of the old buildings and wacky architecture.
We had dinner in Hotel Komovi, and chatted with Slobor a while longer, including catching a bit on the TV about the Tara Canyon – one of Montenegro’s natural wonders and the largest canyon in Europe, before retiring to bed, exhausted but satisfied after a most excellent day.