We wake up early when it stops raining at last. It hasn’t stopped raining since the evening and during the night a coupe of thunderstorms passed over as well.
Our tent is so wet there’s no point in waiting for it to dy out before packing. Our friends in Podgorica have kindly invited us to stay over at their place for the night and we have arranged to meet them late afternoon. That gives us plenty of time to visit Kotor and have a bimble around Kotor bay.
When we leave the camp site the skies are still a bit overcast, but it is clear that in sunny weather this place must be like paradise. Albeit a pretty busy one.
Towards Kotor the views don’t exactly get any worse.
The plan is to first go for a ride in the mountains around the bay and then return to Kotor for lunch and a walk around the old city. The route looks very promising.
And the clouds seem to gradually disappear as well while we climb the mountainsides plunging into the sea.
Not a bad view after 25 hairpins up the mountain.
The route takes us further into the mountains, which is also a lovely area to explore. But riding the rest of the planned route through the mountains would take us too long, so we decide to backtrack. It’s not a punishment if you get to ride those 25 hairpins again.
Kotor itself looks a bit like a tourist trap, but it is a cosy little town and to be honest I liked it even more than Dubrovnik, which we visited last year. We wander around the city and then look for a place to have lunch. Pizza will do just fine!
When we return to the bikes, another little boat has moored up.
Cruises on the Adriatic are pretty popular with tourists and Kotor is a compulsory stop. A bit like the Geiranger fjord in Norway.
Meanwhile a slow drizzle has started again, and by the time we ride out of Kotor it has turned into full on rain. It is becoming hard to keep count of all the cold rain showers we’ve had to suffer so far during this trip. The amazing people and astonishing views make up for a lot though.
It looks like the rain clouds are drifting inland towards the mountains. Exactly the route we had planned to take towards Podgorica. So after a bit of deliberation we decide to take the long way around via the coast and the toll tunnel. That choice pays off because by the time we reach Budva the rain has stopped and not much later the sun comes out again. Sveti Stefan offers the perfect photo opportunity and a chance to put away the rain gear again.
After the toll tunnel we reach Podgorica around 4PM and we are received very warmly by Blazo and Marija. The bikes are stored securely under the supervision of the guard at Blazo’s workplace and we are pampered with great food, a chance to put some of our clothes in the washing machine and a nice hot shower. Blazo gives us some additional tips for our routes in the coming days and we return the favor by suggesting some places to visit and routes to take on the trip to the UK they have planned later this summer.
We are joined by their friend Marco, who currently lives in the Netherlands with his family and go out together for some drinks. We are shown around the center of Podgorica and despite it being the capital of the country it doesn’t feel like a very large city. But the atmosphere in the city center is quite vibrant with a lot of people enjoying the agreeable evening temperatures out on the streets. Montenegro isn’t exactly the poorest country in the region, but despite that (or maybe just because of that) there’s quite a few young Roma children hanging around begging for money and cigarettes. Most of them can’t be any older than 8 or 9 and with the little money they collect, they then go hang around the street corner with their little friends, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. I must admit, I was a bit taken aback from seeing such behavior in such young children.
Our route for today: