The Adriatic coast, on the Croatian side, is not as flat as it could be expected, it’s hilly and we would easily do 400m elevation a day. Adding to it, the winter shorter days and rain, our daily average got closer to the 50km than the planned 60, which surprised us compared to the flat Danube where we biked up to 90km a day. Anyhow, we are not in a rush and we still managed after 18 days to cross Croatia, Montenegro and reach Shkodër in Albania.
Split was the time to leave our dear friend Nicolas, who will get a ferry back to Italia. We will be looking for seeing him back on the Pamir highway.
The ferries are very convenient for the bikes, as at the opposite the trains are annoying. So we will cross the sea after Split and reach the island of Korcula in Vela Luka, hoping for a bit better weather than on the mainland. The road Vela Luka – Korcula – Ston is a good alternative to reach Dubrovnik, lighter traffic and beautiful views.
Due to the rain we had to find rooms time to time but most of the hotels are actually close in winter forcing us to directly ask the people where we could find something. Under the rain in Ston we found Ante who opened a very nice room for us and offered to spend the evening at his place enjoying his homemade wine. What a nice evening.
We stopped for our last night in Croatia at Marko’s place in the small village of Mikulici after Dubrovnik close to the Montenegro’s border. Make a stop if you cycle by there, Marko hosted up to 3000 Warmshowers or WWOOFers/HelpX and the discussion will be interesting.
We will in the future pay more attention to the closed borders, as arriving to Vitaljina (southest Croatian village) we realized the following border was close due to road works. Lucky us, the construction chief drove us back to the right path after loading the bikes in his truck and we could still cross the border and reach the beautiful bay and city of Kotor before the night.
Montenegro uses Euro but prices are actually lower than in Croatia. Those prices will even get lower after entering Albania (1 EUR = 125 ALL).
We got surprised by the many people able to speak french in Montenegro, the nice lady at the bakery, people on the streets or this Russian family on the beach. In case German could help as well and English will most of the time work, especially in Shkodër.
We will see our first other biking group along the Montenegro’s coast, 2 Colombian going reverse as us. We had to stop and discuss and we will realize later they stayed at the same place we were heading to in Shkodër. Chuck and Susan’s place is an awesome place and we spent there 3 really good rest days. We met there Kei who’s traveling from Japan since 8 years. Being a world biking traveler feels like you’re part of a community and it doesn’t need much time to tie bounds with our people doing the same as you do, regardless the age or the origin. So did we at Chuck’s place with Claire and James who are doing the same route as we do, from Ireland. They left 3 days before us but we will definitively try to meet again along our paths.
Speaking about biking, you see in Shkodër so many people biking, from all ages. The city itself is known in Albania as the biking city and it’s very convinient for that. The car actually stop to let you pass and you can move around very easily. Hopefully all Albania will be like this.