Saturday, 1 August 2015

Montenegro. Land of the black mountains. Who'd have thought?

If first impressions last then I hated Montenegro. It took me nearly two hours to queue at the border. It was over 30 degrees C in the shade and I wasn't in the shade. I think the one border guard was on a go slow. When I finally got to the front I had to go and get bike insurance from a big salmon coloured building which was actually a hotel and the guy who issued me with that document clearly had never done it before. He kept flicking back through the booklet to see what had been written before then randomly copied bits out of my V5 form. And this is supposed to be the one EU country I'm visiting!

Anyway, that all took 15 minutes and by the time I got back to the border to pick up my passport which they had kept, the queue had all gone! bastards. 

So, dehydrated, annoyed and sweaty I rode to the coast. Montenegro was the one country I planned to visit that other people had commented on. People had clearly been here on holiday and praised the coastline and beeches. I wasn't so sure. I wasn't on a beaching holiday and hate crowds so I approached the Montenegro coast with trepidation. The plan was to spend two nights camping at a campsite I'd found online but was also in the LP guidebook as one of the best. It was only going to cost me £7 a night which was pretty good for a night on the Adriatic coast. 

It was hell.

I was given a spot between the toilet block and the 'kinder kamp', which meant I was surrounded by children running around shouting and generally bloody enjoying themselves. Plus the lights from the toilet meant it never got dark. I walked the 200 metres to the coast and was confronted with a Beniform style beech front. Thousands of people, noise, rubbish, food, gravelly sand... My own personal beech hell. They all looked happy - I wasn't.

It was still in the high 20's late at night and I was on my sleeping bag sweating and cursing as several kids sat right outside my tent (or so it sounded) and played farting games. I kid you not. At one point, and I am a little ashamed to admit this, I shouted at them to shut up and go to bed - in English and Spanish for some reason. It was 11 pm!

In my semi sweaty sleep I hatched a plan to escape. I was up at 5:30 and gone by 6:30. I stopped at the petrol station to buy water ( I was seriously worried about dehydrating and although I had drunk litres the previous day I hadn't peed. A sure sign things were not good.) And I checked the tyre pressure on the bike. I may not know a lot about motorcycle maintenance but I do know how to check tyre pressure - so I like to do it on a regular, annual basis. 

I then rode out of hell.

And into paradise

The coast WAS lovely, especially that early in the morning when it was still cool and with few people about. And there had clearly been a huge amount of development undertaken since Montenegro got independence  in 2006 and I hope the wealth is ticking down to the people ( obviously I doubt it) but it has ruined the scenery a little. 

But only a little. I rode north to Kotor and then found an amazing mountain road which took me up from sea level to 1500 metre via 56( I think) hairpin bends. And on in to the National Park. I posted a couple of videos of this on my Gone Riding Facebook page yesterday.

Montenegro was starting to impress me.

Then I headed north. First down to sea level and the very hot capital ( Go on see if you know the capital of Montenegro) and up and out via an amazingly beautiful gorge northwards. I finished in the very north of the country at Durmitor National Park. Think Dartmoor surrounded by massive granite massiffs.

The last two days couldn't have been more different. Such is travelling I suppose. 

Saturday was spend walking around a lake in the Park. I hope the pictures speak for themselves.

Oh, and that tyre pressure thing. I think I was so annoyed and grumpy and dehydrated and pleased to be out of there, I left both my dust caps at the petrol station. Bugger. 

No comments:

Post a Comment