BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Sunday, 29 July 2012

More mountains, more winding roads, more cliffs, and more bends on the road to Montenegro.


Dubrovnik's greatest feature in the old walled city. OK, it's worth a visit and a look, but it's not really a historical visit as it's like giant shopping centre aimed at tourists inside. The architecture is beautiful and worth seeing, but the shops? Suzanne had said the day before how good it was that we hadn't visited any retail "stitch 'em up" shops for ages. Well, we covered that today. There were highlights though.

A small sample of the large area of the walled city.

Suzanne sharing her water with a new friend.

One poignant moment for me was standing outside what used to be someone's home and reading how it was destroyed during the war by mortar fire and how he had to carry his elderly mother to safety. I understand that we sometimes need to defend ourselves, and occasionally we need to help others that can't help themselves. I also wholeheartedly support anyone who gives their time and serves in the armed forces. These people do a fantastic job and I'll stand by them and support them any time. But. What pisses me off is that just about every war is started by someone who wants something for their own benefit, be it religious, racial, financial, or whatever. Then the average bloke in the street like you or me has to fight the fight and suffer for it. The bottom line is that Simon in Perth, or Ivan in Bosnia, or Nedalco in Croatia all want to just live their lives in peace and get on with their day to day struggle of looking after their family and see their kids grow up happy. I hope one day that we'll realise the futility of it all and get our act together as the human race. OK, sermon over.

We wandered out of the old city and sat down to a beautiful lunch on the ocean's edge. It was very pleasant and relaxing. Then we hit the road. It was too late to go to a Post office, so now we'll lug our extra gear to Greece, where we "might" post it. Let's hope so.

Our aim today was to make Bar in Montenegro. This way tomorrow we can bolt through Albania and into Greece if we need to. Stories about Albania are that it's dangerous and all the usual hype that goes with travelling. We've found absolutely no problems anywhere along our trek, and I'm expecting the same in Albania.

We left Dubrovnik and had to travel a hundred kilometres to our first scheduled stop. The sat nav said this would take two hours and we knew what that meant. We immediately hit the mountain roads that were the standard "on the edge of a cliff" variety. I'm starting to get used to these, but the ones where I can see nothing but sky as I'm leaned over in a corner still scare the crap out of me. Suzanne loves these roads. NOT!!!!!!!!!! So an hour later we pulled up and had a few much needed refreshments. Water and orange juice, nothing stronger, even though I could have done some serious damage to a bottle of bourbon right there and then. Nerves? My left hand had gone totally numb from hanging on to the bars so tight and my right hand hurt like hell from using the brakes. But do you know what? I wouldn't swap this for the world. It's so many new experiences in one day that it's just amazing.

We then jumped a ferry across a small stretch of water between Bejela and Lepetani saving us about forty kilometres off the trip. The ferry cost two Euros. Yes, two Euros for both of us and the bike. Bargain of the day.

Then it was another hour and a half of much the same. Mountains, bends, cliffs, and so on. Nothing unusual apart from the section of road that was ripped up and being resealed just before the Montenegro border. Half a tonne of bike on a rough dirt road wasn't my idea of fun, especially going slowly and being stuck behind cars. Once again I adopted the locals way of thinking. I pulled out onto the wrong side of the road and went for it. Much better. Dirt bike rule number one - if in doubt or trouble gas it. It works. 

The border crossing was interesting. The border guard didn't even look in our passports. He just peeled back a corner, stamped them, and handed them back to us. Um, casual? Yes. Then, in Montenegro we hit a beautiful, winding, newly sealed section of road with overtaking lanes on the up hills. All of a sudden the cliffs disappeared (in my mind) and it was fun time. Absolutely brilliant riding, I even think Suzanne enjoyed it. Maybe.

I think the longest stretch of straight road I've ridden in the last three days is probably about a kilometre long. No exaggeration. This could be the first motorcycle tyre I replace because it's worn out all over, not just in the centre. I checked the chicken strips the other day and even amazed myself. I MUST be having fun.

We rolled down the hill into Bar and Suzanne found us a great place to stay.

It's the first floor of an old home overlooking the water and it's about a two minute walk to the main entertainment area. No garage for the bike here though, so the owner opened up one of the rooms and we put it inside. Our bike has it's own room, I hope it sleeps well. It's been working hard and deserved a good rest. Bar isn't a tourist destination, it's the locals holiday destination, and it's just great. No one speaks English which is what I've been waiting for. It means we're really travelling now. We went to a seafood restaurant for dinner and with lots of sign language ordered the "Seafood Special", we think. This is what came out...

OMG. What a feed. This, along with all the drinks for the night came to just over sixty Euros, about $72 AUD. I don't think I'll eat tomorrow.

Then it was back to our unit and we listened to the music from the local nightclub. It wasn't my choice in music, but at least the sound was clear, and it was loud. All good.

Oh yes, there are about six cats that live here, so everyone is happy.

Tomorrow, do we bolt straight through Albania like all the doom merchants say we should, or do we spend some time, and a night and get to know a few of the locals? What do you think will happen?

Where's Rex's Buff?

The lovely Angel. Angel and Christos run Moto Discoveries  in Greece. More great people.

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