Just as I was putting up my tent on the first campsite I had found in Montenegro, a dog came inspecting my bags that lay scattered around. Because I don’t like dogs I made a move to make him go away, but he started barking, so I ran for cover behind my bicycle and grabbed a stone trying to keep the excited animal at bay. The owner showed up and told the dog to go away. Needless to say that the dog had no idea what the owner was going on about, but after some more coercing it trailed off. The dog doesn’t like bicycles, the man explained.
The short ride along Kotor Bay to the eponymous city was beautiful. It was possible to shorten the distance by taking a ferry, but it meant missing out on some excellent scenery and so I decided against it. Kotor itself was very touristy. Many cruise ships visit the harbour and spill their load of tourists into the city without further thinking. The tourists then have to be led around in an orderly way to show them all the ancient buildings before they are left in one of the many souvenir shops.
Most impressive were the ancient fortifications that surround the city in a spectacular way. It is possible to avoid paying the entrance fee by taking a path through the countryside and enter through a hole in the wall, which is of course what I did. It also avoids backtracking along the same steps.
From Kotor I cycled to Podgorica, via the old road to Cetinje. It was a high pass, but the ascend was very gentle and never getting much steeper than 5%. The cycling was glorious with endless (25 to be more precise) hairpin turns going up. Later I was told that the engineer who had designed the road had strong feelings for Queen Milena and for that reason one can still clearly see the letter ‘M’ on the map.
Podgorica was one of the weirdest capitals I have seen so far. It has the appearance of a ramshackle village with some highrise buildings thrown in for good measure. It didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.
Next post will be from Albania.