George Johnston: June 19th

I biked to Kotor as planned. It was a very pleasant ride on flat coastal highways with a ferry across Kotor Bay to cut off a few kilometers. I saw some fairly large power boats on the bay and then a huge cruise ship. I was amazed that it got in. The I saw another similarly at the Kotor dock right by the old city. The Kotor old city is a World Heritage site and was very impressive. It started with a near vertical wall built up a cliff side at one end. I entered a gate near there and the inner city seem to go on and one. It was about three small block wide, but went on and on parallel to the cliff. At the other end the was a stream similar to a moat . when you reached that end of the town a path went back across the cliff face up the mountain. I passed on that, bought a few souvenirs and started biking on to Budva. The road was more difficult but not really bad until the final approach to the city.

As the main road start climbing a side road descended steeply to a big water park on the sea front. After climbing for several kilometers the road began descending steeply into the city. I was looking for a hostel in the only city, but the Sunday afternoon traffic was so bad I could even get to the old city. I went on pass the city center, found a fast food shop with wifi and picked out a room on Booking.Com. I biked to the GPS location and no one knew about rooms there. I pulled up some of the Booking pictures and found one of the building. After showing it to a few helpful neighbors I located it, but there was nothing about the rental rooms. I couldn’t get through on the phone, nor could a neighbor who tried. I there was a picture of a red door mat saying “Welcome, so I started looking for it. I found it six or seven floors up in front of two apartments. No one was home at either. I got a call through to Booking.Com The couldn’t get through either and said they would find something else. I said, “No thanks.” I biked a couple of blocks and saw a tour agency and asked if they also rented rooms. They said they had four. I asked where they were and they showed them right beside the office. They were 30 euros which was on 4 more than the other and were quite nice and convenient. I had a good night and continued on in the morning. The first 20 km were rather difficult, but then I arrive at the road to the four km tunnel through the mountains. I had to climb a couple more km to get to the tunnel entrance. As I approached I saw a no bicycles sign on the tunnel, and I tunnel worker flagged me down and said to put the bike in his pick up and he would drive me through. There were two tunnels so he drove me about 30 km I guess to the road to Podgorica. From there the road descended smoothly along a large national park lake about 20 km more to the city. I passed the airport and some new shopping centers along the way. II had picked a highly rated hostel, but not booked it since the Booking calls used up all of my credit. They had a nice price room for 22 euros with breakfast. I booked it for three days, unload, and bike to a nearby grocery and got a few items for supper, and cooked in the hostel kitchen. I chatted with people from Germany, Netherlands, Republic of Georgia, Turkey, Finland, and Mexico among others over dinner.

Today I started at the tourist office and visited the city museum. I looked at their old town, which wasn’t much and then went to the bus and train stations to plan excursions for the next couple of days. I finished off with St. George’s Church. Tomorrow I’m going to take a train to Niksic, Montenegro’s second largest city and see a few sights there. If it isn’t raining I’ll bike back down the rail line to the Ostrog Monastery and catch the train from near there back to Podgorica.

On Thursday the weather is supposed to be better, so I’m going to take a bus back to Kodor and bike from there to Podgorica, since I didn’t connect to Podgorica by bike because of the tunnels. The is a challenging mountain, but not as bad as the Transfagarasan in Romania, and I won’t have to take my baggage. I’ll stay one more night and then head for Albania. If all goes according to plan.

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