riding a thumper, Europe is bigger than i thought - home till 2022

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by NSFW, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    2021.10.10 Kotor to Shkoder Albania

    ready to roll
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    my nice apartment behind the gate....25 euros/night
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    started with a very light sprinkle and those dark clouds i don't like
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    there are 2 highways on the mountain side, i'll learn later which was the correct one
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    so far it looks good
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    then the traffic stops! there's a triathlon competition (see red billboard) and the highway was closed to traffic for at least 2 hours...:eek7
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    i'm was able to filter to the front of the traffic and i watched it for 20 minutes but the dark clouds i worry.
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    once the gap between riders became wider, i asked the police officer if i can get through and pointed at the dark clouds above. he politely gave me the sorry and no gestures. so, i sat on the bike and looked at the sky repeatedly. after 3 minutes or so, he came over and told me to go ahead....:clap

    one by one i passed the athletes
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    the oncoming traffic
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    cool overlander
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    google map routed me to a small road up on the hills
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    my first sighting of a mosque
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    pit stop
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    then it connected to a very nice twisty highway
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    Albania in my sight....:y0!
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    more coming.....:ricky
  2. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    continuation.......

    Montenegro - Albania border crossing
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    remember to stay on the left
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    10 minutes later, i am in Albania
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    the Albanian custom officer pointed me to go here
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    i was able to buy a Green Card without a Lek, 15 euros got me 15-day coverage
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    Shkoder....:clap
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    my home for the next 2 nights....:y0!
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  3. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    continuation...

    time for dinner, and while looking for groceries, i wandered a little bit not far from my accommodation
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    hundred yards away, another church but different religion
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    high tower offer visibility
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    older section of town and these buildings were very elegant back then
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    $ brought back to it's original beauty
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    Catholic church
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    found a grocery store and spent 11 euros, had enough food for 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner. while i was checking out, the cute and friendly cashier asked me where i'm from and after i replied, the next question was what i'm doing in Albania? she said they hardly see Americans and after a few days let her know if i still like Albania. she added many Albanians want to visit America....:uhoh
  4. 405sqn

    405sqn Adventurer

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    I spent a lot of time in Albania 2007-2010. They are very proud of their religious tolerance. Glad to see prices remain affordable there. Take the time to learn a bit about the Hoxha years - he was something of a nutcase. Hope you enjoy Albania! :beer
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  5. 405sqn

    405sqn Adventurer

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    Oh yes, if you get to Tirana keep your eye open for some great copyright infringements. Examples include the "Yahoo!" and "Kolonat" fast food joints, neither of which deserve your patronage because they serve very average food at inflated prices. :hmmmmm

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  6. 405sqn

    405sqn Adventurer

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    Okay, now my brain is beginning to dust off memories from Albania - it's been a long time. A few words in Albanian come in handy and will certainly impress them.
    Good day = Mir e dita (MEER-ay-DEET-ah)
    Thank you = Faleminderit (Fal-ay-meen-DARE-it)
    Yes = Po
    No = Jo (Yo)
    The hard part with the last two is the accompanying body language. They say yes by shaking their head side-to-side and say no by nodding their head - exactly the opposite to the way we do it. It's the same in many of the Balkan countries, so the policeman you met at the triathlon in Montenegro might actually have been trying to tell you "yes, go ahead" when you saw "no". :dunno

    And definitely try the local "firewater", called Raki (or Rakia). It's a strong alcohol that is similar to grappa, usually homemade, served in a small glass that you sip due to the strength. :freaky
  7. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    I have fond memories of these places, thanks you for taking us along.
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  8. BiggieFalls

    BiggieFalls b00b

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    Maybe add H&M to the list?
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  9. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    2021.10.11 Shkoder and the surrounding

    the sun was out after 10 am, got on the bike to check out a few places. this will be a short ride since it is expected to rain around 2 pm.

    getting out of the city via side streets
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    reached the outskirt
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    i believe the mountain range is Maranai Park
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    golden and adorable 2-up and drum brakes.....that's is special!
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    i was curious where this perfect curvy road will lead to
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    the asphalt ended here
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    i befriended an older man and i asked if i could look around
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    he asked me to follow him and pointed to the top of the hill. there's a ruin of the Drishti Castle. i guess the local government is going to rebuild it as a historical landmark and make it a tourist attraction.

    that's a monumental work but since labor is cheap and there are plenty of rocks....it's doable
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    i turned around and took the same road i came up
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    the Mesi Bridge was built in 1770 by the Ottomans
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    i am humbled how people carry their daily life
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    then to Shiroke to see Lake Shkoder
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    again no one told me where to or where not to park
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    it started sprinkling and i still need to get up to Rozafa Castle
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    the road was very steep and slippery. didn't want to take a chance since it was also sprinkling so i turned around...the agony of defeat
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    back to my apartment and the traffic is as bad as downtown LA. i noticed there's a trend to double park and block off one lane. most of these vehicles are big expensive German cars.....money has priviledges
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  10. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    when i got back to the apartment, i checked out my rain jacket since i felt cold air was coming in. the seam fell apart under the armpit ...good job Mountain Hardwear.....this is my only cold and wet weather protection. luckily there was a tailor nearby and asked if he could fix it. he could and recommended reinforcing the other armpit too. he asked me to come back at 19:30 and it will be ready.

    meanwhile, i searched for Restaurant Puri since it has a good review on YT and it was only walking distance from the tailor.
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    7 euros including a bowl of goulash, bread and bottled water
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    i returned to the tailor and my rain jacket was finished and now better than factory. the cost was 3 euros and i gave him an extra bill.
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  11. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    that's what i noticed too and hardly saw women with coverings on their heads.

    withing 100 meters from each other, there are 3 religious houses. i can hear all 3 of them from my apartment.
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    good eye.....:lol2
  12. BiggieFalls

    BiggieFalls b00b

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    You got some great pictures of this cool bridge. In this one, it looks like the bridge kind of mirrors the contour of the ridge line in the near distance. Maybe I’ll make this my screen saver so I can put my feet up on a stool and look at it.
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  13. HandCanonShootr

    HandCanonShootr Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great pics, and postings. Keep up the great job!

    Love the castles, and polished/worn steps.

    :lurk
    Mike B
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  14. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    2021.10.12 Shkoder - Plava (Montenegro) - Household Savic

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    the apartment gate was narrow and i have to push the bike out on the street and it took me a while to get my luggage on. well it's nice to see sunshine and a good weather forecast. the apartment is just next to the hotel.
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    getting out of the city
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    as i rode farther north, the sky is mixed with gray, and more so above the mountains where i was going.
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    giant LCD screen....always there's the first one
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    it's called a palace but actually a huge restaurant
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    the Albanian mountains waiting for me
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    i'm past HOT and the weather was getting chilly
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    i like uphill and curvy
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    fast sweepers
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    then switchbacks
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    stopped here to take pics and enjoy the view
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    zooming at the Grabon border crossing to Montenegro that goes to Podgorica and seems empty. i'm heading north to Vermosh crossing.
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    i was going to get a picture of ms. merkel, my beautiful bike but another beauty wanted in..........magic string?
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    well that moment turned into a photoshoot
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    there's a secret message in that hand sign
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    her brother got in the act too....:rofl
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    that went on for a while since we also talked, it was fun. the first thing they said was, wow you are from CALIFORNIA! what are you doing and how did you get here? where are you going? how long you've been traveling? after i answered all the questions, they said it's hard for them to travel since they don't have the means, but one day would love to go to America.

    then i met the rest of the family, the parents and aunt. they are genuinely friendly and asked me to come and visit Albania again especially Tirana where they live. meeting them is the highlight of my trip to Albania.
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  15. malloy

    malloy Long timer Super Supporter

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    The hits just keep coming with you, Joel. :clap:clap
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  16. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    2021.10.12 continuation........

    all by myself and nothing to worry for oncoming vehicles on the tight turns
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    other than a few rock slides on the road, the road was almost perfect...wish i was a squid...:lol2
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    not sure if they are wild?
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    wish i had better weather and more time so i can explore some of the easy dirt roads and mountain villages
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    feels good to see our colors flying
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    nice
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    there are 2 of them, i could not stop quick enough to take pics of the other
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    we were on a stand off until the bull decided to move aside
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    less than 5 minutes to get out of Albania
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    then 50 yards away is Montenegro
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    not leaving, pic was taken from the other side of the road while waiting for my passport to get stamped and that took only 3 minutes, for the record the fastest international crossing to date.
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    i didn't take any more pictures until i made it to may accommodation. it was very cold and windy, hands frozen and my whole body wasn't very happy.

    my home for the night, a great place to stay away from the wind and cold. i don't think i will survive if i rode for 15 more minutes
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    cabin with red roof in the middle of the picture and at 3k feet elevation
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    they offered me coffee, cookies and raspberries from their farm, and more firewood to last me for a while.
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    tomorrow seems to be another beautiful day....fingers crossed.

    thanks for following along.
  17. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter

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    What a great report! Thank you for taking time to do this.

    Mike
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  18. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Increasingly Grumpy Super Supporter

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    Great roads, that looked like an awesome ride apart from the cold.
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  19. Mofrid

    Mofrid Been here awhile Supporter

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    Awesome …

    Thank you
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  20. GalacticGS

    GalacticGS Motorcyclist Supporter

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    Joel is better to have along than a cute puppy dog to meet women...
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