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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Doogle, Sep 10, 2021.
Wonderful! More food please, especially in Turkey.
9-21-21 Etno Selo Hotel? $66 Prijespa,Monenegro 211 miles
I had breakfast a 8 am, and was on the ferry to the mainland at 9:00. I was in Dubrovnik before noon. It is a 6th century city.There was an earthquake in the 1600's that caused extensive damage. You can walk around the walled city for free. To walk around the city wall cost about $12. I guess it is close to a mile, but has good views.
Next I rode to Ostrog Monastery. Several border crossings. Croatia-Bosnia-Montenegro. Great views from the Bosnia/Montenegro border area. No traffic at all. I was near the monastery but had to stop and ask dirrections multiple times.It was a steep climb on a wet road with many switchbacks. I couldn't see anything through the trees until I reached the top. I thought about cutting this place out of my trip, but glad I didn't. It is the Serian Orthodox religon.
The town close to the monastery didn't have any easy to find hotels. It was 6 pm and 50 mioles to Kotor, my next destination. I set my GPS and started. I get to expect more of roads sometimes. This started out a small 2 lane road and soon turned to more of a patched narrow driveway. The next 28 miles were wet roads, but not raining. Uphills with switchbacks and always bushes blocking a road view more than 100-200 feet. The trail was cut into the side of the mountain, so there were no shoulders, just straight dropoff's of 6-30 feet. At 7 pm it's getting pretty dark. I thought that might be safer because I might see headlights if a car was approaching. 4 cars in that 28 mile stretch. No towns, a few houses that were off the road some distance. Only a few homes had lights on. 14 miles from Kotor I stopped at a building with lights on. It's a restuarant, hotel, get away place for locals. I asked for a small 1 person room. They gave me a 2 stoty, 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment for $66.It looks like there are 20 some identical apartments here. The restuarant was still open. It was 8:30, and I was too tired. I got a warm shower, went to the restuarant and ate. I started to download pictures from my camera to my laptop-and fell asleep. I'm tired and need a rest day. But there is just so much to see.
Beautiful! Great shots.
9-22-21 SeaFort Hotel $48 Zelen, Montenegro 57 miles
I had a half hour ride to Kotor. Another ancient city with a fort built above it in 535 BC. The old town has modernized with bars, restuarants, and shops everywhere. It has the typical narrow alleys and charm. They also had a sign for suckers. I responded-only $10. The not so obvious sign said Entrance to the fortress. It was 1400 steps up. I was still very tired from yesterday, but I'm going. It amazes me how much labor is put into the building of castles and forts. I wondered how much defending they could do from this fort a thousand feet up in 500 BC. Going back down only took half an hour.
My next stop was Budva, the Capital of Montenegro.I went to the Citadel. Construction started in the 9th century and was completed in the 15th century. It was another modernized old town. I didn't spend much time there.
Next I went about 10 miles to Sveti Stefan. The first accounts of Sveti Stefan are from 1442. It was a small fortified town. The best I could understand from the parking attendant was that the island was closed because of Covid-about a year now. So I could walk up to the entrance and turn around. I found a hotel 20 minutes down the road. Right on the water. I cleaned up and went down by the beach and watched people playing volleyball. It was getting cool so I came back to my room and started my ride reports and laundry. Tomorrow I should be in Albania.
Pictures of the Budva Citadel, Stevi Stefan, and Hotel SeaFort
I just got back from a tour of the Beautiful Balkans which ended on September 18th. It was similar in many respects to the trip you are experiencing and I am sure it cost a lot more than your trip. My only complaint about my trip is that the ride was too fast out on the roads. I tend to ride a more relaxed pace, around the speed limit and slightly over, but some people are comfortable doing this (to me) incredible speed. I sometimes wonder if they hate the countryside and want to get through it as fast as possible. One distinct advantage of a guided tour is that if there are any problems the guides will solve them. I had a slow leak in a tire and that got fixed while I stood around and chatted with the other riders. I envy you your trip, but it is nice to have people to talk to at the end of the riding day.
9/23/21 Meteora, Greece Meteora Hotel $96 317 miles
On the road at 9:30. Originally planned to go to Pasha Liman Naval Base. It was a secret sub base for the USSR. When the USSR fell apart Albania inherited it. Yesterday I read the man who was incharge at one time said it is a waste of time going there. It was never rated very highly. But with his comments I decided to skip it. I'm also castle and fortificationed out for a while. So I passed on 2 castles I planned to see. My first hours were riding twisties on the side of mountains-mostly 20-25 mph. Then I had some straight roads. But the cross winds were like Cape Hattress. There were goat herds in the road and donkey drawn carts. A couple areas I went through had people using a lane of the road to layout some type of crop and seperate what looked like white beans. I asked a man what it was, and all he could say was "Food."
2 border crossings today. Montenegro to Albania. Then Albania to Greece. Both were easy other than having to return to Albania police and get a form filled out (Passenger locator form) 5 Euro. 5 miles before leaving Albania I saw something I forgot about. In the 1960's thru the 1980's over 170,000 military bunkers were built in Albania. Averaging 15 per square mile. They were never used.
Tomorrow I will try visiting some monasteries. There are a few right out my window. They are perched on top of high up rock formations. I hope they are open and have elevators. I have a couple food pictures that were requested. It won't be a habit.
I've had a couple minor problems with the bike. The night I was traveling late, the auxillary lites worked about 2 minutes. I really needed the extra lights. The next day the USB charger quit working also. Today I pulled the seat off to see what the problem was. A ground wire must have been laying against some metal to work the first several days. I screwed it to the battery terminal where it should have been. I had my old phone plugged into the charger and used it for a GPS. Tonight I was going to set it for my next destination. It wouldn't turn on. The battery got fried and expanded out of the case. With my other phone, I'll charge from my battery pack if it get low.
I've had problems on trips. Big problems. Met great people whenever I had problems. To me it adds to the adventure. I accomplished my trips, alone. RTW, Ushuaia, Nordcapp, China, Nepal, India, Africa. Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman had a backup crew if they needed help. I appreciate what they did. But when I get in trouble, I need to work it out. I don't like fixing flats either, but I will.
Just wondering what group/company you rode with. Tks.
Most excellent adventure and ride report. Thanks for sharing!!
Loving your photos..... as I did very much the same route in 1983. It was a whole different world back then before Yugoslavia broke up. It was a desperately poor country then, with very few travelers passing through, Dubrovnik was virtually empty when we were there. Enjoy your trip!
9-24-21 Acropole Hotel Delphi, Greece $56 158 miles
I was about 2 miles from the first Monastery I wanted to visit. There are 6 left of the original 24. I went to them as I followed the road. So I can't easily name them. It was another day of climbing many steps. I climbed up to one and saw steps going higher. Of course I had to go there. And it did have great views from the overlook. And it was right next to the road. Which meant I had to hike back down to the Monastery, then down farther to the bike, then ride up the road past that overlook. Wasted energy. The last Monastery had a cabled car that went to it. Not so fast old man. It was for construction materials only.
Next I'm on my way to Delphi. The road started out with the normal twisty curves and switchbacks on the side of mountains. Then I had straight roads for a while. That ended when I hit construction for continueing the new road. Then more switchbacks. Delphi isn't a big town and it isn't crowded. I got a room and walked to the archeological site-about a half mile away. Didn't want to give up my parking spot. Who would have guessed it would be another climb up above the clouds. Much of the site is centuries before Christ. The most interesting areas for me were the amphitheater and the stadium-this highest climb there. After that I went back down and walked through the museum. I don't normally like museums, but since it was part of the $14 ticket I went in. Then back to my room. I layed down for a while. I was afraid I would fall asleep and miss another supper. I'm having carbonaro-what ever that is-pasta and ....
After leaving Meteora I rode to Delphi:
I think I made a mistake impling Olympics were held in Delphi. These were the Pythian Games, established in the 6th century BC. Second in importance to the Olympia event which started in 776 BC.
9-25-21 Olympia, Greece Hotel Pelops $48 151 miles
Another freat weather day with most traffic very light. It's off season for everyone except me. I stopped to see why men were raking trees. They gave me a handful of olives. I thinkl that is what they implied. It was about 2:30 when I got to the small town of Olympia. I thought my GPS route was confused. It had me going down a couple miles of narrow gravel trail. With about a mile to go to the archeological site, I rerouted. Didn't believe buses would take this route across a muddy water crossing. And I hadn't seen another vehicle anyway. I found pavement and the road back to town. The site was right there. And it was free on Saturday and Sunday. And it was all flat land.
The site is pretty big. Not many things in tact. But what will my house look like in 2500 years. So many areas to look at and things to read. Probably a degree in archeology would help before coming here. The stadium was what I wanted to see most. It was plane. But was large enough for 45,000 spectators. I found 10 rules for the competition on https://olympics.com/ioc/ancient-olympic-games
All athletes competed naked
Wrestlers and pankration (a sort of mixed martial art which combined boxing and wrestling) competitors fought covered in oil
Corporal punishment awaited those guilty of a false start on the track
There were only two rules in the pankration – no biting and no gouging
Boxers were urged to avoid attacking the on-display male genitals
There were no points, no time limits and no weight classifications in the boxing
Athletes in the combat sports had to indicate their surrender by raising their index fingers – at times they died before they could do this
Boxers who could not be separated could opt for klimax, a system whereby one fighter was granted a free hit and then vice-versa – a toss of a coin decided who went first
9-26-21 Herodion Hotel $144 Athens, Greece 205 miles
On the road at 9:30 and in Corinth in a couple hours. It's an old city, but nothing I wanted to see in town. There is a 4 mile canal that was cut through rock to connect the Gulf of Corinth and the Aegean Sea. It is a 430 mile short cut for boats. Considered in the B.C. years, but not done until the late 1800's. Where I stood looking down it was a very steep 300 feet. There were a few concrete bunkers around. It was fought over in WWII and damaged.
Having not figured how to ferry to Turkey, I decided to revisit Athens. Perfect weather today and tonight. The ticket to visit Acropolis (means high city) was free again. The Acropolis was built in the 5th century B.C. The hotel receptionist told me to eat at the roof top restuarant at 7 pm. It does have a great view of Acropolis. Even better after dark.
I had a decent night sleep last night and felt near my normal today, for the first time. Maybe another good night of sleep and it will become a trend. I hope to find a ferry that will take me to Mikonos Island and then to Turkey somewhere. I've never had such an incredible trip with so many good things to see day after day. I'm in heaven. There must be a flat tire waiting for me soon. Speaking of tires, I will probably look for a new front tire tomorrow. There is some life left on it now. But it is scalloped and not good enough to last the rest of the miles I plan on. I dcon't want to be in the middle of Turkey with no tires that fit my wheel. The last time I was in Athens I rode a bus a hundred miles to get here. My front motorcycle wheel broke a 10" section off of the rim. I found a used wheel and tire that lasted the rest of my trip.
Very interesting. Thanks!
9-27-21 Hermes Hotel $192 Mykonos, Greece 53 miles & 5 hour ferry
I was anxious to get out of the Athens area and traffic this morning to find a port that would take me and the bike to Mykonos. I found Rafina was the best port and shortest water route. The boat left an hour ago. The next one is 4:30 pm. So I went looking for a bike shop to get a new tire. An hour and a half looking and only found tires available tomorrow. I won't chance going back to Athens and missing the ferry. The ferry from Mykonos to Turkey will need some research. It will take at least 2 more ferries to get to Turkey. With nothing else to do, I found an outside restaurant overlooking the dock to kill 4 hours until boarding. When I get to Mykonos it will be dark. So either I stay there 2 nights or hope they have a late ferry leaving for my next island hop.
It's now 4:45 and we are under way. I think it is a 5 hour journey with other island stops first. There aren't many people or cars on the ferry. I'd hate to fall asleep and miss Mykonos. All of Greece has been pretty stringent about masks. Crew members are constantly telling people to mask up. I may sneak off to the water closet, take my mask off, and get a few breathes of fresh air.
I think it was about 6:30 or 7 when we stopped at Anthros. Passengers and vehicles are dropped off and picked up. They are quick. I don't think we were stopped for 10 minutes. About 8 pm we stopped with the same routine at Tinos. It's about 12 miles to Mykonos from there, and we've been cruising at 22 mph most of the time. I should be looking for a room soon. My next ferry will be to Chios. Then the last ferry will be to Cesme, which is in Turkey. The lsat ferry will be about 8 miles. I haven't felt any tidal wave action yet. I was informed there was an earthquake in the area. Crete-6.5
11 am 9/28/21
So I am a lucky guy. My room checkout is noon. The receptionist found the ferry schedule for me. 9 pm tonight I sail to Chios. If I miss it, the next sailing is 8 pm Friday. It's a 9 hour trip arriving at 6 am. So I have 9 hours here to explore.
Great stuff Doug! Thanks for sharing