On every long bicycle trip you will find times where you fall into the A to B syndrome. Especially after some hard days. Your curiosity diminishes with the effort to move forward. You find yourself counting kilometers instead of smelling the lilacs you just went by. You may still see things but you’re not taking the time to stop and get that photo for your memories. I found that creeping in during our last days in Albania. The air pollution and jangle of busy roads and crowded streets in the cities we passed through inland contributed to that downward turn.
A day off and a new country was a great time for a reset. Both mentally and physically. What a beautiful and idyllic countryside to bring it all back: Montenegro!
Montenegro is a small mountainous country of about 600,000 people – most of them in the capital of Podgorica and on the coast. It’s a poor country but the differences between here and Albania have stood out to us. Clean roadways and villages. The mountain air is fresh and the villages and homes are well maintained. Biking through the mountains on our second day here was pure pleasure with quiet lanes, only the sounds of bird songs and my own breathing in the air. A land of stone – the scenery and the buildings. Old dry-stacked rock sheds and houses. Rock skeletons still standing of older buildings given way to time and change.
Most of the villages in this high country were smatterings of homes and small subsistence gardens. They have no shops or markets. No kids playing along the lanes. Few dogs. I suspect it’s mostly older residents enjoying the mountain air and lifestyle. Their kids have moved to more opportunities. However, the older stone homes and rock fences indicate a history of hardscabble living here.
It was a great day of biking in this lovely part of the world. The climbing was low-grade but significant. We took our time and enjoyed the views.
The descent to the Montenegrin coast was spectacular. Seventeen hairpin switchbacks spread out on this steep mountainside was amazing. As was the views below.
We are now on the coast and will enter Croatia today. Montenegro was very memorable.