Travelling out of Montenegro and into Albania
18.08.2011 35 °C
Well of course I met Tippy at Tivat as she beamed her way in with that incredible smile from customs into arrivals. How lovely it was to see her, but wait a moment! No luggage and no wheel. Hugs and greetings and all but where is my wheel! How churlish it would appear to say ``where is my wheel``? when she may well have lost her luggage. Imagine it, a girl with no luggage and arriving on holiday exotically in Montenegro and continuing to smile. The dawn of understanding drifted down as she took my hand and we headed off to the lost luggage office, ourselves, accompanied by the footfalls of 12 others.
Well it took a while, 5 days for the suitcase, we returned to Tivat to collect it. There is no arrangement in place for the airport authorities to forward luggage to Hotels. Tippy`s bag, offloaded in Belgrade and left. My wheel we later learnt had been offloaded in the same way but in Belgium and also left, we could not collect that until 8 days had passed. Two trips 50 euro. We now know every nook and cranny of Tivat airport. Tis small. Small upsets in the grand scale of things. The Old Gal almost ran toward me as I bought the wheel in. A couple of hours later on and ready. I had all my gears back, until then I`d been making do with 8, all mid range. Both my girls are perfect!
Look if you are tempted to do anything like this Then might I make a suggestion. But only if you are serious and you want a tiny adventure.
Bike and kit on a plane to Dubrovnik Croatia. Some airlines do this at no extra charge. Cycle round that grand city see the old part and then head off to the last AutoKamp in Molunat, South Croatia, about 15k from the Border and when ready go to Montenegro, cycle the coast road to Albania stop where you want.
Must do`s are a boat trip round Kotor Bay, stay perhaps at Autocamp Zelenika near Herceg Novi, both in Montenegro, leave in good time and continue your journey along that same coastal road, the scenery is stunning, don`t look tho` you`ll fall off. There are many other camp sites, continue thru` the border crossing at Sukobin and onwards into Albania, this campsite where I am is uncharacteristic of Albania itself. I cannot complain about anything here, I thoroughly recommend it. Camping Albania at Barbullish Bushat, its on the web. Make your way to Tirane via maybe Durres. The distance at a guess, 250 miles. You`ll have the time of your life. Flights are non stop London Dubrovnik, as is Tirane Albania to London. On the other hand Montenegro can be as many as three, Heathrow to Belgium to Belgrade and then finally to Tivat.
All good things must end we all know that, so Tippy upped and left me. I cleared the room and headed off after her a couple of hours later. We head off initially in the same direction. It was the 3rd time for me crossing by ferry from Kamenari to Lepatane across the very beautiful bay of Kotor. Cuts off about 30 miles should you continue the trip by road. It can be on some occasions a very busy crossing point with as many as 4 or 5 ferries working this short stretch of water.
All the passengers without exception are out of their cars, out of their buses. all are taking in that incredible scenery, no matter in which direction you look there are mountains, trees and water. In the beginning I was in the queue to get on the ferry but was reminded ``please go the front, foot passengers there is no charge and bicycles travel free``
Please tell me if there is anywhere else in the world other than a Montenegrian company that would have this as part of their travel policy.
I passed Tivat airport on the right, I looked to the right and passed by struggling with conflicting thoughts. It is nice to do this and have the sense of freedom that goes with it. But it can get lonely. I`ve no real idea where I will sleep from day to day or whether its to be in the wild or a camp. Whether I will find a Bancomat, a shop or water or just simply be able to talk to someone and as I progress along the road these thoughts are on the periphery, and then from nowhere suddenly invade my mind. Oh Brian do get on with it!... Oh right, yes and O.K!
I joined the queue at the crossing point at Sukobin into Albania and was immediately approached by an official. He said I was to go to the front and to show my passport at a separate window on the left. I did this and I was through and into Albania, it was just the one checkpoint, the guy at this window passed it through a sliding window to his counterpart in Albania who then gave it me back. I hadn`t moved my bike.
Montenegro as I enter Albania. How do I describe this?..
I was not sure where the road was it seemed to blend in to whatever was at the sides of the road, fields, waste land. It was a sensory overload. I saw a crowd of young children with open smiles and bright intelligent eyes running toward me. Not for anything other than to make contact, wandering donkies, several fluttering chickens spiralling toward me and the kids wanting high fives, jumping and making contact with my raised palm, giggling and laughing and they of course were doing the same, giggling and laughing.
I made it to Skodra which is to the north of where I was eventually to go, but I did need some local currency (main cities only) and of course the map. Got both turned round and headed south and I`m now at this more than decent campsite. Camping albania.
Tomorrow I head off first thing, direction of Burret via Lezhe. How do I now feel? Much much better about things in general, thanks for asking. Writing this might be considered therapy?.. No not considered, it is therapy!