Save all the bureks! Montenegro 2019 on and off the road on DR350 & XR400

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mADVta, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Wroclaw, PL
    In 3 weeks I hope to save all the bureks from the Balkans. Especially Montenegro. (yes, seriously, if I could I would bring back the whole truck ofthose with me :p)

    After all, as my 1993 DR350 is brought back from the dead (I had a thread on rebuilding it here, which I didn't finish - boo me :(:), it's time to test my work on a 2500 miles voyage. (I will also test myself as it is first so long trip as a rider, not a pannier, for me)

    My zombie presents itself something like this now:
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    I think I peeked inside everywhere I could during the revival process (beside the engine, didn't have enough time for this, I'm going to strip it during winter, now it's time to ride, isn't it? :p) So I hope she will be unstoppable like a tank : )
    Of course, got her a few little upgrades for longer distance adventures. This includes self-made rack, bigger tank, hot grips, chain oiler, 12V oultet, GPS holder and charger.

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    The DR will have a company of my boyfriend's XR400 (which was upgraded with bigger tank, self-made rack and a ignition switch).
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    The prospect route looks something like this:
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    So let's say, it's not very detailed, but also not totally random ;)
    In general we want to get to Montenegro as fast as we can and then chill around trying the Trans Euro Trail and exploring some minor tracks off the beaten path. But if some time is left, then maybe we will also venture to northern Albania or get on the Serbian Trans Euro Trail.
    Though, wethinks, Montenegro is maybe small, but there are lots of trails to try, so we won't get bored easily.

    Today we're riding 404 kilometers from Polish Wroclaw and stop nearby Vienna.

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    Starting now! :ricky

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    #1
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  2. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Wroclaw, PL
    We've made it to the Austrian Rohrenbach yesterday night.
    Of course, traditionally, we started our riding late, so in the end we were wandering in total darkness (and had to watch out for the deers lurking at the roadsides, so we were crawling even slower, lol)
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    Our route was rather dull. Just more or less straight roads through the crop fields and forests. Though, the road was a little boring, the sky was looking kinda cool - like it was an oil painting
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    And we at least saved some bee
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    Today we're moving to Hungary (so again not much of fun as Hungary has one of the straightest roads in the world, I tell you, they don't know what a turn is ;) )
    But we don't know yet where we are going to stay for the night. So finding a camping spot can be fun today, at least, as the season ended and they closed the camping sites.
    Finding a wild camping spot in Hungary isn't an easy task too as Hungary is densely covered with villages and crop fields.
    #2
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  3. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    583
    Location:
    Belgium
    Good luck and bring us a lot of pictures!
    #3
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  4. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Wroclaw, PL
    I'm a little late here, but thanks! :D

    Unfortunately, as usually with my attempts to write the ride report on the spot, I've failed miserably :(

    Every other day I've encountered some problems with Internet connection - no BTS, no funds and/or nothing even at legit campgrounds. Although, I've got problems with time management also. Sometimes the day was so eventful that it was hard to stay awake in a sleeping bag in the evening and write anything.
    (And so I really admire all of other riders, who can keep up the discipline of writing almost every day)

    But! Now still I've got some brief notes and tons of pics, so I can share some. Maybe in parts, but still this time I'm gonna finish this report :nod

    Back to the story!

    The transit, part 1 (Day 2-3 of the trip)

    From Rohrenbach in Austria we were planning to make almost 300 straight, exciting kilometers to Varpolata in Hungary, near the Balaton Lake.

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    The day was suppose to be a little boring. So we reluctantly started out late and even carelessly rode into the center of Vienna in the time of worst traffic jams, just to pay a visit to Augarten, where they make the original Vienna porcelain.

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    Not much as for sightseeing as we've already been there to see whole procedure of manufacturing of all the fancy porcelain stuff, but we have a insider there, who we just wanted to visit ;)

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    Maybe I wouldn't mention that, but, unfortunately, that visit ended up quite bad - crashed my bike for the first time right there, just at the parking. DR just flopped down when I was climbing up the saddle. At first I thought that was just me, but...

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    That was the side stand. Weld on the half of the mount cracked. What a nice trip starter :D

    We were a little terrified, because we didn't want to lose time in Austria for searching welders...
    Luckily, the other half of the mount could still hold the bike up, so that was relieving. Though, I used some of my riding companion help, when getting on and off the bike, just to not rip off the remaining weld with some wild movements. So we left the welding for some other day along our way to Montenegro. (Or in Montenegro.)

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    I'll spare you the details of Hungarian road straightness that came shortly after ;)
    But, as I predicted before, searching for the wild camping spot there was quite interesting.

    We've got some coordinates from other wild camper, but we've lost our way in the dark anyway.
    The spot was located on a hill surrounded by quite dense forests, so we had to get on the right entrance point to ride it up by some offroadish track.
    The trail itself wasn't so bad, maybe with exception to one steep section with really loose gravel, making me drifting from the left to the right :D

    From the hill top there was an amazing view on the town stretching at its foot (Varpolata I think). Because of many negative opinions (around the web) on wild camping in Hungary, I've never thought you can find spot like this in Hungary.
    For bedrooms like this we are wild campers...

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    Though, it came with a price :D

    When we were pitching the tent up, some hair-raising roar just behind our backs froze us. Our first thought was that it was a bear :waysad We even considered retreating, but eventually we stood our ground, just trying to make human noises, so the guy hiding in the darkness would know we're not a dessert somehow :uhoh
    The roaring, of course, intensified anyway, so that was bad... and actually good on the other hand. That led us to thinking of the deers during the breeding season, so we could actually fall a sleep with this thought.
    #4
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  5. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Wroclaw, PL
    The transit, part 2 (Day 3-5 of the trip)

    Nothing had eaten us during the night, so we were planning to move from Hungary to Serbia and then crawl to Montenegro's Zabljak. That supposed to be a 2 days long and 440 miles long ride.
    Not great, not terrible.

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    Hungary greeted us with a grey sky and a little rain in the morning, so we were stuck in our rain suits for good. But at least we had some nice views...

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    And a little offroad adventure, while riding back to civilization...

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    Where I failed miserably. Got the deeper rut angle wrong, so the rear wheel just slipped aside.

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    I survived, but the strip holding my side bag was cut in half...
    So third day of riding and I'd already broken two things :D Nice :D

    Luckily, we were actually thinking while packing, so we had some spare ropes.

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    The rest of the road to Serbian Subotica was really civilized.

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    When we arrived to Subotica, we decided on the spot that it's better to find some camping as it will get dark soon.

    We've found some camp over the web near the Palicko Lake. Someone have written it's a nice place, where you can place a tent near the lake's bank for a very low price as it's owned and managed by the city itself.
    Unfortunately, we can't validate this.

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    The camping was closed :waysad We were well past the season and some makeover was in progress.
    But! The gentleman keeping an eye on the campground and another gentleman living just on the opposite side of the street came to us quickly, concerned. None of them was speaking English, but they on the spot decided to help us somehow to find another place. And it turned out good as the son of the camping neighbor was speaking English fluently. From the Serbian talk we couldn't understand a word, although we also speak a Slavic language. I couldn't even separate each word while listening :D

    So we tried to find the camping to which the good folks directed us. We had some problem with that, of course :doh But on the way we spotted a place looking like some car service or something alike, so we gave it a go and asked if they can weld the broken side stand.

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    Although, they are rather servicing trucks and buses, they said they will try :D

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    So Mr Welder tried and in 15 minutes I've got a brand-new-looking side stand :clap (it holds firmly to DR up to this day ;)) And no one even asked us for paying! :uhoh So we figured out this is was perfect occasion to get rid of the small bottle of Polish vodka we had been carrying around for special gifts in special situations.
    (Mr Welder also turned out to be a biker, so maybe he's around here... :eyes If so, thanks and cheers once again!:beer)

    As DR was well again, we managed to find the camping we were looking for before, although it was a little hid from the street.

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    And again, we've experienced awesome Serbian helpfulness and hospitality :nod
    The camping was really officially closed. However some builder at the gate told us that the boss is away, but we can stay.
    I was a little worried that we were putting up a tent without really consulting things with the real guy in charge there :D (You never know...) But when the owner arrived he was super cool with us :D So we spent the night completely alone at the campground.

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    The next day was chilly, but sunny.

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    It was raining only during the night, though. (And someone forgot to hide his riding boots... xD)

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    That day we were planning to reach Zabljak and we were pushing hard to reach the Montenegro border. We even used the Serbian highways (mad 68mph with wind trying to tear your head off, hell lot of fun :ricky)
    But!
    We couldn't resist and made a longer stop at the second largest city in Serbia - Novi Sad.

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    Really pretty and you could stay here for a day or two and explore.

    Or stay at least for a lunch!
    We had a lunch here once... And now we keep coming back whenever we're around. For some this might sound like a heresy, but they have the best burgers, sorry :D Not to mention the almost-a-bucket-of-melted-cheese sandwiches - drooling just at the thought of it. (Doggy approves.)

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    From Novi Sad we rode straight down Serbia. At first the landscape is rather lowland, but things are getting more twisty with every mile south.

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    There are also awesome roads to ride in the east Serbia, but, of course, we didn't have that much time. Though, I'm sure some year we will dedicate all of our vacation to Serbia only.

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    We were so fixated on getting to the Montenegro border that the night caught us on the road.

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    So instead of searching for wild or normal campings, we searched for a hotel.
    Some were full, so we got left with a quite strange one - a gas station merged with a hotel and a bar :scratch

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    So after unpacking we could have a beer right beside the gas pumps. Literally :beer

    The next day we had last 114 miles to go to get to Zabljak.
    The weather wasn't too sweet for us. Typical Autumn grayness with more or less intensive rain all day long.

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    Weather like this can sometimes destroy morale a bit.
    But on the other hand it can make you gain new and refreshing perspective and experience.

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    That day, thankfully, we didn't have any problems along the way. Just missed some detours around the roads under renovation. But the people around were always very helpful, seeing us confused, no matter if they were speaking English or not. Though, we just stopped for 3 seconds and didn't even have time to ask.

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    The ugly clouds were stretching vastly along the Serbian border and across the whole Montenegro, so we and our raincoats become best friends.

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    Fickle mountains were just being fickle... But I think the temperature was worse than the rain. Just 39F (4 deg C).
    We were a little worried that the whole trip will be just that - cold and wet.
    Though, the landscape looked interesting. I've never seen Montenegro in such version - a little faded, discolored and mysteriously hiding its precious landscapes behind the clouds and gray rain curtains. (Well worth my freezing to death hands.)

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    On the last road section to Zabljak we also got an occasion to visit the famous Durdevica Bridge over the Tara River.

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    Though, I don't know if *occasion* is a good word.
    It's hard to miss that bridge if you're coming to Zabljak from the north side.

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    Zabljak itself isn't very interesting city to see. No fancy architecture to see, really.

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    But it's a good spot for a starting point for hikes around the Durmitor National Park.
    And there is a bakery with huge and good bureks

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    So we stayed at the normal camping nearby (a little deserted, but still open this time, hurray), around the hiking trails, so we could wander around the mountains on feet (trails impassable for bikes, unfortunately)

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    #5
  6. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Wroclaw, PL
    Didn't have time for posting much. I will try to get back on track now with new stuff :p3rry
    We've made a little video in the meantime, though, so for a warm-up:

    #6
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  7. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Wroclaw, PL
    Better late than never... :freaky (and I promised myself to finish this story as I've never finished any trip log completely, neither by writing or vlogging)

    Day 2 in Montenegro (6th day of the trip)

    First morning in Montenegro was kind to us. The weather forecast, which talked about cloudy sky and all day long rain, changed completely. You could notice some clouds on the horizon, but, in general, the sky above the Durmitor mountains range was painted pure blue.

    But the cold outside our cottage and not completely healed tiredness from the day before, forced us to turn the alarm clock off and to enjoy our comfy sleeping bags further.

    So we got up later than we planned. We just had a quick cup of coffee and borek from yesterday for breakfast and dressed in all possible layers of clothes we had with us (thermoactive underwear, fleece, our motorcycle rain suits).

    From our camping you could notice a quite big mountain on the horizon:

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    It’s 2313 m (7588 ft) a. s. l. high Savin Kuk.

    So we just thought we will go there for starters :D

    Of course, before starting our expedition, we made a quick walk to Zabljak city center to have anything to eat and drink during hiking. We again refilled our supplies at the local bakery and what we couldn’t buy in the bakery, we bought in a nearby market.

    The walk even warmed us up a little, so when we were going back to our hiking trail, we dropped by to our camp to change one layer of our clothes to a thinner one. We packed the rest of our layers to our backpacks, as we expected to hike till 7-9 pm, so it could get colder again. Not to mention that mountains can be fickle.

    Then the route was like it happens to be in the mountains: first through forests and meadows, then the forest ends abruptly and the mountains start looming above you.

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    Sometimes at the trail crossings we were erring or modifying our hiking plan to make the trekking more interesting, sometimes ignoring the signs telling the trail to Savin Kuk leads the other way.

    After a few hours of walking we reached the Velika Kalica Valley. And then we knew it was absolutely worth the whole effort and sweat.

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    What’s also interesting - in the distance you could see a snow patch. Later it turned out to be the Debeli Namet glacier. The snow lies there all the time.The avalanches every winter renew it.

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    Apart from the glacier, at the end of the valley you could also notice a red dot - a tourist shelter - Alpine bivak.

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    We traversed the whole valley around, making a stop there. And we found skis…?

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    (Of coruse, we left them for those in need, don't worry ;))

    Passing the whole valley around took us 2.5h. But we had to walk it to get to the final trail stretch to the Savin Kuk top.

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    Unfortunately, it turned out that the last stretch you really have to climb. Not just walk. The wall was almost vertical and there was just some line for support.

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    There is an option that we missed some other pass. But as there was a line attached, then we lost our hope for a normal trail, seeing all those huge rocks around us.

    Later I also checked this over the web and none of the Durmitor guides mentions getting to the Savin Kuk top over the Velika Kalica Valley.

    We returned down to the camping over our footprints. The night caught us on the trail, but we expected this. We had headlights with us, so we’ve got back to our base safely and passed out really quick after eating some instant soup, which just tasted heavenly in the growing cold and tiredness.

    Funny thing, we’ve met maybe 6 people over those 10 hours of walking. And 4 of them were staying in the mountains for the night (in their own tent or in Alpine Bivak).

    Summarizing:

    1. If you’re tired after riding for 1500km on your dualsport, the best cure for this is a all day long hike :)

    2. It’s good idea to look at the signs on the trail :nod
    Map from this day: https://en.mapy.cz/s/cehajafoha

    #7
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  8. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    683
    Location:
    Lowlands
    Nice to see this report being updated :thumb

    Montenegro looks very beautiful. More please! :beer
    #8
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  9. mADVta

    mADVta Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Wroclaw, PL
    Day 7 (Day 3 in Montenegro)

    Methinks it will not be a surprise, but… It was freezing cold at night. Sleeping bag, two quilts, lots of layers of clothes and... we somehow managed to survive.

    We woke up at 6 am and after looking outside... We got back to sleep, feeling sore in every muscle fiber after yesterday’s walk to Savin Kuk top. Somehow we got ourselves together one hour later, though we were still feeling a little tired.

    The weather looked promising.

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    The bikes were all white with frost, though.

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    Perfect :D

    Quick coffee, croissant and we were on the route to Zabljak.

    The plan for this day was to reach Bobotov Kuk (2523 m / 8277.5 f a. S. l.)! So the highest mountain peak in Montenegro!.. or no, actually, as there is also Zla Kolata peak. It’s 11 meters higher, but lies at the border of Montenegro and Albania, so not everyone consider it to be a part of Montenegro… or Albania :dunno

    First we walked to Crno Jezero (a glacier lake), dropping by Zabljak on our way. These were the first 4 kilometers behind us.

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    It was a pity we had so little time for walking around the lake. You have to plan about an hour to complete the loop and we already had 10 am on the clock and another 10 hours of walking up.

    Despite the fact the tourist season had ended, there were plenty of people around the lake. But when we stepped on the trail to Bobotov Kuk, we were walking alone. We were wondering if the season is really late or we are really late for Bobotov, starting our climb almost at midday.

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    For first few hours of hiking we couldn't even see our target destination.

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    And although the trail was really steep, the views were taking our breaths away even more.

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    Though, on the way, we encountered some hollow, which serves for a trash can.

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    Sad to see something like this. Why do people have the strength to bring all the food up, but fail to bring down the much lighter packaging back to civilization? I will never understand.

    The next stop was the closed camping at Lokvice Valley, which lies 1693 m a. s. l. 4 km from Crno Jezero lake. We didn’t know how long it took us, but the map said we should have completed this section in 2 hours.

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    The camping is clinging to the mountainside and in the valley there was supposed to be lake Lokvice Jezero, but… it was almost completely dry.

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    We traversed the valley around to get to its northern side.

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    From there a pass leads the other side of the valley wall, higher to Prla.

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    But it was worth looking back.

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    We found another hole on the trail - around 10 meters wide and maybe 10 meters high! But this time it was filled with ice. The walls were really steep… and as it lies just a few meters from the trail, we wondered how many people fell there and how really deep it is... Strange formation.

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    The trail started to turn into a sea of rocks at Bobotov feet. We had 350 meters left up. We started to wonder if we shouldn’t turn back? :scratch We were walking and walking, hours were passing… and Bobotov seemed not to get any closer. Every 30 minutes we were saying to ourselves that just 30 minutes more and we will go back.

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    Eventually, we accepted that we will climb just to Vielika Previja pass. Approach to Bobotov seemed to be impossible. The closer, the worse.

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    But, unexpectedly, we met some guys on the trail.

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    They asked where we were going and from word to word it turned out they were coming from the other side of Durmitor and they said that if we backtrack their footprints from Bobotov, in 3 hours we will eventually stumble upon road R-16 through Durmitor. We hadn’t had a car parked there, but that was genius anyway! We could take a hitch-hike!

    Our morales were back to normal again and we felt more energized all of a sudden on the thought that maybe we will actually get on this Bobotov!

    On the side note - guys were really cool - they were carrying a puppy they found somewhere up in the rocks :beer

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    After some time we reached Velika Previja pass. 6 hours had passed since we reached Crno Jezero Lake.

    View on the other side of the pass was completely different to the landscape of the sea of rocks to which we were accustomed for the last few hours:

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    This is the side of the pass we were walking before:

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    We made a longer rest here and ate something for the final Bobotov approach.

    There were more people here. Turned out that just more hikers tend to choose the shorter path to Bobotov. And that’s why we hadn’t met anyone before :D

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    But when we finally got up for the final trail stretch up... everyone was already walking down :D

    We had last 480 meters to hike and a huge mountain to conquer.

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    When we got over the first steep section, we saw awesome Vieliko Skrcko Jezero down in the valley, surrounded by mountains.

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    Under our feet was… straight way down.

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    From what we’ve read such a trail in our country wouldn’t be admitted for ordinary people, like us, to walk. It would be marked as allowed for professional mountaineers only.

    But the best was before us! Climbing at almost vertical walls, while sticking (tightly) to the steel ropes. At moments we wondered what are we doing there :D

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    Just one slip would end up with tragedy. We are not any pro climbers, we were moving really slow, (what could be later seen on the clock).

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    When we reached the Bobotov summit, we just made some quick photos and rushed back (but not too fast ;)) The views were amazing, but the wind was so strong you would think it would blow you off the crag.

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    After we passed the worst part of the trail with the lines and walls, halfway to Vielika Previja, we chilled down a bit ;) But, of course, it was getting late, the sun was setting on the horizon and hiding behind the mountains and we were still over 2300 meter up.

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    First 800 meters of trail (300 meters down) were the worst (steep, rocky, slippery gravel everywhere), but fortunately, we managed to cover this in the daylight still.

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    We stumbled upon a crossing with two options
    1. Shorter trail, but with bigger section through mountains
    2. Longer trail, but with shorter section through mountains
    We chose the longer option for our own safety as it was getting dark and although this route was longer - we managed to get to more gentle and meadowy terrain before total darkness embraced us.

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    Next 1.5h we passed on walking and searching for the red dots marking the trail. We also helped ourselves with GPS to not miss the way for sure.

    When we finally reached the tarmac road, there were only 16 km left to walk to our camping.

    There was no traffic at all. We were in the middle of nowhere, in national park, in complete darkness and silence. You couldn’t even hear any bug nor bird. Just a creepy crackling sound from time to time, louder or quieter, which, I suppose, was made by the stones coming or sliding off the mountain slopes.

    There was nothing else left to do than just to scamper forward along the road. It was getting cold and we were almost sleeping on our legs.

    We walked over 6km when, unexpectedly, a car came out of nowhere and stopped when we waved.

    The guy was heading to Zabljak and took us right to camping!

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    We were so lucky I can’t believe it even today :D

    Map from this day: https://en.mapy.cz/s/jakolupema

    #9
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  10. snglfin

    snglfin this statement is untrue

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    629
    Location:
    berkshire county
    looks like you had adventures within your adventures! thanks for sharing the videos, i like the pace of them, and they really seem to convey your experience. the balkans are on my list for future travels, and as an avid hiker, i’m really enjoying that aspect of your report.

    best regards,

    johnnyg
    #10