Croatia - Bosnia - Montenegro - Albania - Kosovo and back

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by motorbike.ventures, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. motorbike.ventures

    motorbike.ventures n00best of the n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    101
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic


    [url="http://motorbikeventures.com/images/blog/albania08/Day1_00.jpg][​IMG] [/url]


    We leave Prague early in the morning, fresh and ready to go! After a 22 hours train ride we arrive in Croatia and sunrise with a beautiful view of Split.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


     

    There were so many off road paths breaking from the main road. Being on my DR350, I was very tempted to try them out. However, being in a protected part, I had to show my respect. After an hour and a half of nice twisties and scenery we make it to the top! And we are awestruck...


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We were at the peak, at 1762m above sea level...


    [​IMG]


    and we could still see the ocean!


    [​IMG]


    After our little detour, we made our way back to the highway and continued on our journey towards Dubrovnik. We stopped on the side of the highway where there were fruit stans and a great view.


    [​IMG]


    We brought out our little cooker, took off our boots, and enjoyed the scenery.


    Afterwards we continued on our way. We passed through a small strip of land that is Bosnia. Their ocean was terrible, since they were land locked and only had this small patch in the middle of Croatia, they had all these boxes in the ocean, I supposed for catching sea food.At this time there was a fire blazing, causing a major back up in traffic. We are getting tired, our arses are starting to hurt, and at about 10 km away from Dubrovnik we decide to stop for the night at a small camp not to far from the beach. As it is almost dark, we wait until morning to check out the beach...
    #1
  2. motorbike.ventures

    motorbike.ventures n00best of the n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    101
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Day 2 - Part 1 - Dubrovnik, Croatia


    We wake up early in the morning before the rest of the camp stirs so we have time to walk down to the beach. We head out and when we get there we have the whole beach to ourselves! The water was clear, and I could stand with it up to my waste and watch the little fish swim by. However, it was as clear as it was salty! I get out and no sooner then I start to dry off does my skin start to itch due to the salt!

    We all head back to the camp, take showers, and pack up to head out to the town of Dobrovolnik, only about 10 km away. Now, this was my first time in Croatia, and as Radek is the "planner", I did not know anything about Dubrovnik before heading there. However, on the very first view of this city I was impressed.

    [​IMG]


    A true seaside town, well built and full of life. Of course, Radek immediately wanted a picture of one of the boats leaving the bay.
    [​IMG]
    Little did I realize that this was a taste of what Dubrovnik's old town had to offer.

    We head to the busy down town and park somewhere on the sidewalk (following what the locals do, motorcycles and scooters can go where they wish and park on sidewalks if they wish :) We buy breakfast and some reserves, and start off... not able to get very far, as someone seemed to have left their gas tank on reserve... so when it ran out of gas, the tank was completely empty!

    So after pushing my way a few meters to the gas station, we are once more off! Radek leads us towards the old center. Now, living in Prague, I expect to be impressed, but never did I expect to be amazed!

    We park our bikes, take off some of our gear (as it is hot!), and head town to the old center. As soon as I catch a glimps I want to start taking pictures!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The fort protects the old town as it has for centuries, and looks like it hasn't changed a day since it was still built! The houses in the old town all look in great shape, and I just love the red roof-tops, making the fort wall stand out even more.

    We reach the entrance of the fort, which would not be complete with a bridge and the Croatian flag flying proudly above it.

    [​IMG]

    Close up the old town was just as amazing. Wonderful cathedrals...


    [​IMG]

    Small alley ways...


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    I could have spent all day or weekend exploring this town, but alas, we have must continue our adventure! Even while leaving we see more of this fortress.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Sadly we leave, with thoughts that I must return to Dubrovnik with more than a few hours on my hand, so I can seriously explore every alley way and side streets in this town that seems to take you back in time.


    We head out, and try to get off of the scenic freeway (that is full of cars) as soon as possible. We are excited and hope to reach Montenegro. My heart starts racing when we can no longer see the ocean and we start heading up the mountains, passing small towns in between. We follow the GPS, listening to its sound advice where to go. It tells us the border to Bosnia is not far, and we continue on a well paved road that seems oddly abandoned. Soon we start to see cow carcasses and huge boulders in the middle of the roadway.


    [​IMG]

    Then the pavement stops, replaced with loose gravel that causes two of us to madly swerve. I think to myself, "How can there be a boarder crossing here?", but we are already an hour down the road, so we continue.Some times it is best to listen to your instinct. I suppose this is one of those times, as we reach the boarder to discover this:


    [​IMG]

    The boarder is blocked, with warnings that it is illegal to pass, reminders of the war faught not to long ago. Radek goes around to check the other side, and see if it is possible to get the motorcycles across some how... but the real question remains... should we?



    To be continued...
    #2
  3. Damir

    Damir AKA Pudla

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Great start! :clap

    :lurk :lurk
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,331
    Location:
    Toronto
    Awesome ride and pics :super

    :lurk:lurk:lurk
    #4
  5. Direktor

    Direktor Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    590
    Location:
    Karlovac, Croatia
    Realy nice pics! :thumb
    :lurk
    #5
  6. simondippenhall

    simondippenhall Simondippenhall

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    London
    Intriguing...hope you made the right decision...........

    Simon
    #6
  7. SpitfireTriple

    SpitfireTriple Seek Truth

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Bristol, Britain
    Great photos. Who is who and who rides what?
    And which train service did you use? Pricey? Good? (I paid EU280 recently for a 33-hour ride from Villach in Austria to Edirne in Turkey). Rough and ready but good fun.

    A few weeks ago I too wanted to spend more time in Dubrovnik. Also, you missed some fabulous architecture in Split - the Palace of Diocletian is awesome. Maybe this recommendation is a bit late but in Montenegro you could stay at a water-side camp-site on Kotor Bay. It is only EU5, and there is a cheap bar/cafe. It is a few miles/km north of Kotor. Forget what it's called I'm afraid.

    I stayed a night at the Leti Hotel in Lezhe, Albania. It was cheap -EU12- but cheerful. If you stay there, buy the woman a coffee for me would you? And the chap at the internet cafe across the street! (the only icafe I saw in three days in Albania - though I wasn't looking that hard) http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=159832&page=7

    I think you have an interesting business concept. (Great web-site BTW). I've been to Prague on a stag weekend, but it would be good to fly over some time with my woman and hire a bike to see more of Czech Rep. Not for a while though, I've only just got back from My Big Trip.
    #7
  8. Saeed

    Saeed Life-long learner

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    UAE Dubai
    Very beautiful images:clap
    #8
  9. motorbike.ventures

    motorbike.ventures n00best of the n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    101
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Thanks Spitfire, but I'm writing these posts in past tense. The price was good for the trip down via train, can't remember the exact price. I'm in the Blue and ride the Suzuki DR 350, Radek is on the DR 400, and Mrazik is on the Yamaha.

    Glad you like the website too! Any bikers in Prague, look us up, I love meeting bikers from all over the world :) We never seem to run out of things to talk about :D

    #9
  10. motorbike.ventures

    motorbike.ventures n00best of the n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    101
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Day 2 - Part 2 - Bosnia and Herzegovina- Montenegro


    Last time...


    [​IMG]




    Sitting at the illegal boarder of Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina, we contemplate... should we take the risk and cross illegally? Or go back and loose about an hour of travel...


    It is a hard decision... we see that it is possible to bring the bikes around, carefully...


    In the end we decide to go for it! After all, we are here for an adventure!



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]




    Once we bring the motorcycles across, we follow the dirt road a few minutes until, out of the middle of nowhere, a highway appears. So we hop on and head down the hill. Not after one minute of riding do we reach a boarder crossing! At this point I was a little disoriented to be crossing another boarder, but it turns out that it is the boarder to Bosnia...when we crossed to the other side on the "illegal" boarder we were still in Croatia!


    So after crossing the boarder legally, we start driving through Bosnia and Hercegovina in this farm land. Nobody seems to be around.


    [​IMG]

    There are some people around, a dog barking at us here and there, as well as random abandoned houses with weird 'Blaire Witch' things hanging there...


    [​IMG]



    After a few wrong turns, we find the right way and head up a mountain. There is not much to see, with trees all around us. Eventually though, we break through and we see a great view of Bosnia and Hercegovina.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    We ride a few hours through Bosnia and Hercegovina, and I wish we could have spent more time there. Though you can tell the country is poorer than Croatia, there are beautiful landscapes that we continue to come across.


    [​IMG]



    We head up more mountains again to cross the boarder over to Montenegro. Again, we are driving another breathtaking view.


    [​IMG]



    At the top of the mountains, we reach the boarder and cross it with ease. As we head into Montenegro, clouds start to cover the sun shine and I get a feeling of sadness. The mountains we are driving down are bare, with little greenery and lots of white stone. Again, abandoned houses randomly scattered about, even on this main road towards Niksic.


    Soon we reach another view point, where we can see the lake Slano.


    [​IMG]



    Unfortunately it is very low in water, but still beautiful none the less.


    [​IMG]



    We drive through Niksic, which was not impressive. A very run down and flat city, with a river that was full of trash and dead dogs lying on the street. While the people were very friendly I was happy to get out of there as soon as possible!
    We leave the city but it is late, we have not yet eaten and the sun is starting to set. We need to find a place to stop and soon.As we drive further away from the city, the area between towns becomes wider and wider.


    [​IMG]



    After a few kilometers, we stop and ask if there is a restaurant or camp where we can eat and sleep. The locals tell us to keep going and we should reach something in about 10km, and we eagerly head that way.


    [​IMG]



    Of course, even though we are eager to get settled for the evening, I can still find time to take a picture of the Cyrillic letters. Interestingly enough, even though I can no longer read, our Czech is still useful and somewhat understandable when speaking with the people of Montenegro.


    We reach the next town and find a small pub. Exhausted, we pull over and ask. They say yes, we can sleep somewhere on the ground here. And while they don't have food they let us bring our own food in while we drink their beer and some wine and relax.


    Just in time to see the sun hitting the mountains, making a great picture!



    [​IMG]



    After a few drinks, I am ready to pass out and sleep! So we ask where would be best. The bartender says that we could sleep across the street, in the yard of the house. Too tired to argue, we set up camp and go to sleep, not realizing where I would wake up in the morning...
    #10
  11. ChangoGS

    ChangoGS Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    305
    Location:
    En la mesa del rincon en Metz France
    ohhhhhhhhhhh yeah, good report & pics. :lurk
    #11
  12. Curryinahurry

    Curryinahurry Born 2 Ride

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    545
    Location:
    Sydney, Stralya mate!
    Awesome report and pics!!!!:clap :clap :clap

    Liked the "border" corssing.....:D

    Keep it coming!!!

    Na Zdravi

    Bala
    #12
  13. motorbike.ventures

    motorbike.ventures n00best of the n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    101
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Road to Albania - day 3 part 1 - to Podgorica



    The sun comes out and we slowly start to stir. Suddenly the houses covered in dark are revealed.


    [​IMG]



    As I start to pack up and prepare for our long journey ahead, I am gestured over by an elderly man, who has water running from a hose in his garden and offers to let me wash myself. Though the water is freezing I gladly accept, being without a shower for a couple of days now. I give myself a quick wash, and I can safely say that cold water was a quick wake up. I offer the water to Radek and Mrazik, and go back to finish packing. Not long the elderly man calls us over to his steel table outside for tea, cake, and, of course, a few shots of their home grown alcohol made of plums. The boys are hung over and take the offer happily, hoping to sooner be rid of their headaches. I, on the other hand, respectfully decline.


    As we sit and enjoy our tea and cake, we tell him where we are going, and learn about his life. He explains that he is a dentist in the city Niksic. He even has an old dentist chair outside of his house, which Radek jokes that it is one of the modern chairs in Montenegro (Czech humor).


    [​IMG]



    We notice after a while how popular he really is in this village, with many visitors coming in the morning to see him, as well as people honking at him (or perhaps his strange visitors in his yard) as they drive by on the main road.



    Finally we are ready to head off. We bid goodbye to our kind and unexpected host and head for the mountains of Montenegro.



    The first mountain we head up is not to far from the village we slept in, only a few kilometers away. It is a steep climb but the road is smooth asphalt for the most part, and we make it to the top without a problem. Suddenly, the road disappears, replaced by red dirt. Hoping this is the dirt road leading to Podgorica, the captial of Montenegro, we continue forth.


    [​IMG]


    And for what it was worth it did come with a most beautiful view of the landscape.


    [​IMG]


    Eventually we realize that this road leads to nowhere, dead ending in a construction site. We ask the young man guarding the site if we can please go through. He explains there is no where to go. So we ask him where we are and how we head to Podgorica. We show him our map but he is unable to point out even where we are at this moment. We decide to head back, and even though everything and everyone is covered in red dust as if we have been on Mars, the views on the way back were worth the trip.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We come off the mountain and back on the road we are originally on, hoping to find the main dirt road to Podgorica. Within a few kilometers we come across it without a problem.


    [​IMG]


    I for one am very excited to start the off road part of our adventure! The road does not look to hard, as it is mainly flat without too many big rocks.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    But I seemed to have forgotten the mountain part of our journey. Soon the road turns into serpentines, and is no longer so smooth for a dirt road. I take my first fall and survive. And then comes a second, and a third, and a forth. But hey, I came on this trip to get a little bit hurt and I keep going. Falling here and there. Then *BAM* I fall and my mirror is crushed! Oh well, who needs two mirrors anyways?


    We reach a split in the road and wonder where to go. Should we continue upwards, or downwards? There are no signs, so after a little rest (and I energize up on some wild berries by the road), we head up, hoping this is the way to the city.


    We reach break in the forest and enjoy the view. However, it looks like this is not where we are supposed to be as the road is thinning out.


    [​IMG]


    But the view is quiet worth the extra km.


    [​IMG]


    I sit and rest a bit while the boys go ahead to scope out the area and see if we should turn around. Exhausted, and a bit bored, I decide to take a picture of my missing mirror.


    [​IMG]


    It is then I notice the fence. I thought this was quite odd up in the deserted mountains, and wondered what is was doing there, seemingly in a random spot. A few seconds later I hear Radek calling my name, and my questions are answered.
    #13
  14. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    214
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    #14
  15. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    811
    Location:
    Off route, recalculating
    Fantastic!

    More!
    #15
  16. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,239
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    :thumb May I have more? :lurk
    #16
  17. Thylex

    Thylex Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Southern Sweden
    Most excellent start, I'm in :D:ear:lurk
    #17
  18. ArthDuro

    ArthDuro quarantined

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,045
    Location:
    Westsideistan
    Awesome, Amazing
    and many thanks for the site, I will be calling on you guys when I finally make my way back to Europe.

    thank you and please give us more!
    #18
  19. Durangoman

    Durangoman Yeah its me!

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    773
    Location:
    Durango
    Love the pics

    :clap
    #19
  20. StinkyCheese

    StinkyCheese Red or Green?

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    764
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    Nice report and great pics!

    :clap :clap :clap
    #20